To answer that question, first let’s talk about The Captain’s Secret ‘Stache. Captain Sugar Bugs, the mastermind behind our delicious caramels, likes to keep things exciting by whipping up a little special something here and there; something different from our standard offerings.
We recently met the lovely and brilliant Alex Mart, a San Francisco-based Health Counselor who was so excited about our product that she offered to be our very first GUEST BLOGGER! Want to know more about how different types of sugar effect your body and why you should care? Read on, folks!
Have Your Candy and Eat It Too – How BBx is changing the face of candy-making
The general consensus that you seem to see and hear everywhere is that “Sugar is Sugar.” The Corn Grower’s Association, currently in the process of renaming High Fructose Corn Syrup to the harmless-sounding “Corn Sugar,” wants you to believe it. They are currently throwing a whole lot of money at that advertising campaign. However, the conclusion about sugar in the nutritional world is quite the opposite and has everything to do with quality.
The truth of the matter is that different sources of sugar have varying nutritional levels and our bodies respond to them in dramatically different ways. Likewise, the way a sugar is processed or not has a lot to do with its nutrition. The sugar cane plant goes through a staggering amount of processing, much of it chemical, to be turned into white sugar. The end result is an empty calorie, pure energy, with almost no trace of any nutrient. Lesser processed sugar cane products such as Rapadura, Sucanat, and Evaporated Cane Juice all contain trace minerals that make them easier for your body to digest. Refined carbohydrates, including white sugar, white flour and white rice, have all been stripped of their vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for digestion. Carbohydrates and starches are all converted into glucose in your body to be used for energy, and your body must pull from its own nutrient stores in order to process and use this energy if it isn’t naturally in the food source. Consuming too many processed carbohydrates and sugars on a regular basis can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
This is why eating carbohydrates, including sugars, in their unprocessed whole food forms is vital. Various vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are present that allow the sugars to be gradually broken down in your body, slowly releasing glucose into your bloodstream. When you eat refined carbs, glucose enters your blood almost immediately, causing a spike in you blood sugar. After a dramatic rise in blood sugar, you almost always experience a crash. When you eat refined carbs regularly, a cycle of high and low blood sugar can begin that results in a roller coaster of intense cravings and addiction, as the body constantly looks for more sugar to come back from its lows. Eating excess sugar wreaks havoc on the body and mind, toying with your energy level, mood, and ability to judge hunger, among other things.
Whole, unprocessed carbohydrates – foods including whole grains, beans, fruits and sugar – on the other hand, take longer to digest and thus release sugar much more gradually into the bloodstream. This allows your body to maintain a balanced blood sugar level and gives you sustained energy hours after having eaten.
The wonderful news is that you can now have your candy and eat it too! Yes, said by a Health Counselor. Barbary Brix uses minimally processed sugars in their caramels, so they will not spike your blood sugar. Did I mention they are tantalizingly buttery and smooth?
One of the amazing sugars Barbary Brix uses, organic coconut palm sugar, is a very low glycemic load sugar (meaning a serving of it has very little effect on your blood sugar levels), full of an amazing array of trace vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other macro-nutrients. On top of that, it’s considered by some to be the most sustainably produced sugar available.
It is important to mention glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL), since they provide another way of talking about the blood sugar phenomenon I just explained. Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly carbohydrates are broken down in the body, releasing glucose into the bloodstream. Carbohydrates that break down quickly, rapidly releasing sugar into the bloodstream have a high GI, while those that break down more slowly, releasing glucose into the bloodstream gradually, have a low GI. Glycemic load (GL) also takes the quantity of sugar released into the bloodstream into account, and is thus considered a more useful measurement. For instance, carrots have a high GI, but in the amount you consume them, have a low GL.
Another sugar used in BBx’s caramels is organic brown rice syrup, a mildly sweet syrup derived from brown rice, which is also full of nutrients like magnesium, manganese, and zinc. The other sugar they use is a sustainably farmed and fair-trade certified organic evaporated cane juice. Although cane sugar is not considered to have a low glycemic load, BBx uses it in small amounts. They also get the highest quality possible, meaning it is relatively unprocessed, still containing essential nutrients for digestion, and organic.
Organic certification, which all of their ingredients have (except for the kosher salt), means that farms “integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity” (http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/NOP). This means healthy practices for the environment, farm workers, and consumers. Win-win-win for organic. Taking the extra step, BBx also looks for fair-trade sources for their sugar and cocoa ingredients, where available. Fair-trade certification ensures a fair price for farmers and workers, another win. Talk about responsible candy-making: environmentally, socially, healthily. If you thought you’d never hear a Health Counselor utter the words “good candy,” think again, because here it is.
I don’t advocate eating lots of sugar in any form, however, I do advocate for living a happy life and for treating yourself and others well. These caramels are a melt-in-your mouth, sumptuous, velvety treat for those special times. Please enjoy – with the all the joy, of course. Savor your sweets.
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About our guest blogger:
Alex Mart is a certified Health Counselor and member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Her training with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition taught her hundreds of different dietary theories and life coaching methods, which she uses to determine each person’s unique path to health and fulfillment. She works with people searching for energy, confidence, and balance in their bodies and lives. One conversation can change your life: schedule your free initial consultation with Alex today. www.alexmarthealth.org