In nature, sugar always come in a fiberous package. Whole fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and beans all contain both sugar and fiber. When the sugar and the fiber work together, all is right in your body. The sugar, in the form of glucose, is an essential nutrient. Not only does it give us quick energy, glucose is needed by every cell in your body for proper functioning. The fiber’s role is to slow the sugars rate of absorption, thereby giving us a sustained release of energy. Like Batman and Robin, sugar and fiber are a perfect duo.
So What’s the Problem?
The problem occurs when sugar is consumed without fiber. When sugar enters your bloodstream without the fiber to slow the rate of absorption, the pancreas, which is the organ that regulates the blood sugar levels, is forced to produce insulin to bring the sugar levels down. This fluctuation in blood sugar levels creates stress in the body and can lead to diabetes and heart disease. It also interrupts the absorption of calcium and magnesium, which are both essential minerals for bone strength a proper nerve function.
So Where is the Fiber?
Fiber is the hard shell of grains and beans and the meat of fruits and vegetables. Fiber is an annoyance to food manufacturors. It is perishable so it creates a shorter shelf life, and it makes things take longer to cook. How could we microwave our dinner in 3 minutes if we have to cook that pesky fiber? So, what food manufacturers do is strip the fiber away from the food in order to make it more convenient for us. Bread lasts longer when made with refined flours, processed foods can sit on the shelf for months or years without problem, and rice can take only a minute to cook. Juice is easier to drink than actually eating an apple, so just drink your fruit. Nice right?
The problem with all of this convenience is that it is causing mayhem in our bodies. Sugar in the body, without fiber, is like the tazmanian devil, swirling and whirling and generally creating chaos. The fiber, which acts like a cop, is not there to tame the devil, so insulin levels shoot up, and we go on a sugar-fueled roller coaster ride. Without the fiber to slow the rate of absorption of the sugar, we get a a huge rush of sugar followed by the inevitable crash.
My favorite, fiber-rich, decadent chocolate truffles
Always eat your sugars with fiber. I make a point in all of my cooking to ensure that I keep the dynamic duo together. The chocolate cake I bake is made with ground almond flour, stone ground millet, spinach and avocado. The frosting is made with fiber-rich coconut milk. The cookies are made with stone ground garbanzo beans and almonds, and the to-die-for chocolate truffles, which you will swear are the most decadent chocolate deliciousness ever, are made with dates and cashews. I have many, many more recipes on my site that maintain this same simple principle.
By incorporating these fibers into our sweet treats, we don’t need to give up our great love of sugar. Rather, if we make sure to eat fiber in combination with sugar, we can have a happy mouth AND a healthy body.