Date Sugar

My little sis lives on her own now, and she frequently calls or texts me from the grocery store to ask about a certain food or new product. She is a conscious shopper, which is something I encourage everyone to be. She also isn’t afraid to try new foods. This is so important – if you get into a routine of buying the same things at the grocery store each week, you will never learn about new foods and eating becomes more of a chore and less enjoyable.

This week, sis asked me what I think about date sugar. Although I have baked with dates, I have never tried date sugar before (new food!), so I had to do a little research. What I found is that date sugar is simply dehydrated dates, and it is used as a sugar for sweetening or baking – similar to the way you’d use brown sugar. Bob’s Red Mill makes date sugar, and this is a company that has very reputable products that are minimally processed.

Date sugar seems like a good sugar alternative if you like the flavor of dates. However, IT IS STILL SUGAR! That is the key point I want to make. Just because the sugar comes from a date does not make it any healthier or react any differently inside the body. Keep in mind that most of the regular white sugar we see comes from beets – a root vegetable! But that doesn’t mean we’re eating veggies when we consume sugar.

My advice on sugar is this: if you like something sweet every once in a while, choose something that is made with REAL ingredients: butter, eggs, whole wheat flour, and – most importantly – a form of real sugar. This will be more likely to satisfy your craving, and then you can get back to your healthy diet. Artificial sugars have countless side effects to our body and its many systems, including neurological, psychological, gastrointestinal, and endocrine issues. Since our body does not recognize “fake” sugars, they are not processed like real food and instead are deposited into our tissues, where over time they build up and cause symptoms. While symptoms may start small, such as occasional headaches, they can quickly progress to much more serious health issues.

But consuming too much real sugar isn’t great either. Which leads me into my topic for next week: hormones! We have been learning a lot about hormones and it’s one of my favorite topics, because it seems that balancing hormones is one of the major components of health and well-being. Next week I’ll talk more about hormones – specifically adrenaline, cortisol and insulin – and the important roles they play in the body.