Raw Foods— Natural Sweetness without Sugar!

Delicious fresh fruitsWe’re always happy when the general public discovers the benefits of eating raw vegan foods and adopting a plant-based diet. One of the great disadvantages of following the Standard American Diet (S.A.D. Diet) is the preponderance of unhealthy sugars in the daily diet, many of them hidden in foods the unsuspecting public would not consider sugar laden.

This year, the World Health Organization is modifying its guidelines about the maximum amount of sugar a person should consume in order to maintain good health. They’ve dropped the recommended daily allotment from their 2002 guidelines (10% of the daily diet) down to 5% (no more than 6 teaspoons per day).

The statistics are quite shocking right now: the average American eating a S.A.D. diet consumes about 3 POUNDS of sugar every week. It appears that the American sweet tooth has increased by about 39% between 1950 and 2000.

Hard to imagine, since it seemed like in the 50s and 60s, the typical Mom was always baking rich cakes and cookies, and serving dessert not only on special occasions, but on a regular basis every night after dinner. Cookies and other sweet snacks were also popular after school fare in that era.acid fruits

Today, one of the main sugar culprits appears to be the ubiquitous sugar-sweetened beverages, and other prepared food products with “hidden” sugars where you don’t expect to find them: beer, wine, soups, and even pizza, mayonnaise, and other foods where consumers aren’t necessarily “thinking sugar.”

The bad news is that the effects of overconsumption of sugars can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and tooth decay (we knew that).

The good news is that although the guidelines apply to sugars found naturally in honey, syrups, fruit juices, and fruit concentrates, they do not apply to those found in fresh produce. (We knew that, too).avocado

The GREAT news is that those following a high raw vegan diet are already choosing foods that contain natural sugars easily assimilated by the body. The natural sweetness of fruits like bananas, grapes, apples, pineapple, and even fully ripened berries and milder tasting fruits like kiwi can satisfy the need for a sweet snack while maintaining a good blood glucose level and adding lots of valuable vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients needed by the body.

Another thing to remember is that when eating fresh, fully ripe fruit, a balanced ratio of naturally occurring sugars and other important elements is maintained and you don’t get that “sugar rush” and subsequent drop in energy level from processed and refined sugars.

One of our favorite snacks at Living Light is a raw food recipe that's fun to make for both adults and children. It’s called Banana Boats on Fire. It’s easy and delicious, and it includes almond butter, which contains protein and fat to help balance the sugars in the banana, so it’s satisfying and nutritious, too! Enjoy this video of Cherie preparing the recipe: