The Truth About Sugar and Yo-Yo Dieting

* by Sandra Roycroft-Davis

Sugar! Anyone who’s ever tried to lose weight knows that sugar is the enemy – but isn’t it the hardest thing to cut down or give up?  So many people repeatedly try and fail.

Most people go through horrific cravings, binges and mood swings when they try to cut down but this reaction should be no surprise when you learn that sugar is as addictive as cocaine. People also experience headaches and even get the shakes. This is all because of the effect sugar has on the brain.Most people go through horrific cravings, binges and mood swings when they try to cut down but this reaction should be no surprise when you learn that sugar is as addictive as cocaine.  People also experience headaches and even get the shakes.  This is all because of the effect sugar has on the brain.

If this is you, then there is exciting news because there is a way to end the hold sugar has over you without having any of the awful withdrawal symptoms. Firstly though, I think it’s crucial to understand a little bit about the impact sugar has on your brain and your emotions because knowledge means empowerment and empowerment is one of the keys to freedom!

Most people try to give up sugar because they want to lose weight.  They invariably go on a diet and start depriving themselves of their pleasures and that’s when a whole series of unfortunate events begin to take place because there’s an emotional aspect to food that so many people don’t even think about – and this sabotages their efforts.

A survey of 1,000 people in America found 31 per cent thought lack of exercise was the biggest barrier to weight loss, 26 per cent said it was what they eat and 12 per cent said losing weight took up too much time. Only 1 in 10 thought emotions and habits were a factor.

This explains a lot – because to lose weight and keep it off long term we need to understand WHY we eat not just focus on WHAT we eat.

From a very young age, most of us become emotionally attached to sweet stuff.  Parents use chocolate and sweet treats as a reward for being good or to help make us feel good if we’re upset or hurt.  Birthday parties generally revolve around cake and sweet treats, too!

All these things keep reinforcing the association the brain has made: food / sweet treats / chocolate = pleasure.

We become conditioned to use food and sweet treats not only for nourishment and nutrition but for comfort and the reward and pleasure it gives. This all creates powerful connections that can last a lifetime.

Whenever the brain experiences pleasure it releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine.  So when you experience pleasure for whatever reason, this process is activated – and the more you get the more you want.  Evidence proves that sugar also kicks off this process, becoming our reward or feel-good drug of choice.

Losing weight is a miserable experience and we are creatures of pleasure so that’s why so many people are unsuccessful. However, it’s not all bad because once we’re aware of this happening then we can deal with it.

Here is a link to my free ebook which explains more about the effects sugar has and how you can end the misery…

* Sandra Roycroft-Davis is a Founder of ThinkingSlimmer.com

Do healthy sweets and treats actually exist?

We all know that eating too much sugar is bad for us… It has been shown that it is actually far worse than fat on our bodies. When you look around at products in your supermarket you will often see lots of fat free or reduced fat products but what about that sugar? A lot of companies are changing recipes and ingredients to reduce sugar in their products but is it enough?

Children aged 4 to 8 who average 1,600 calories per day should limit added sugar to about 3 teaspoons (12 grams) a day. This is such a small amount of sugar! You can find it in just one serving of breakfast cereals 🙁 And when you start looking at the ingredients list of product, sugar is almost everywhere even in your salted crisps or ketchup… we eat sugars in foods we wouldn’t normally expect it to be, for example it was in a salad bowl I bought for lunch one day, why? And then comes pudding time and time for a treat…

So my question is: Do healthy sweet treats actually exist?

Do healthy sweets and treats actually existWell, seek and you will find!

Have you ever heard about Marlenka Honey Cakes?

Marlenka is a delicious all natural honey and nut cake made according to an old Armenian family recipe. A secret family procedure is used to make the milk and honey cream mixture that holds the layers of cake together. The top of the cake is drizzled with chocolate icing. Thanks to its unique taste and attributes it has quickly become a favourite delicacy in many European countries and now it is present in the United Kingdom as well.

Marlenka cakes are 100% natural – no preservatives, synthetic colouring or thickeners.

Yes, they are sweet and yes, they contain sugar which is found in the honey but these are natural ingredients not processed, and natural products are much more healthy and beneficial for us, especially kids.

The Love Marlenka online shop offers a lovely selection of sweet treats suitable for any occasion. There are:

  • Snack Bars in classic honey, cocoa honey and lemon honey flavour. These are perfect one person snacks and have an RRP of just £0.99
  • Mini Cakes which come in original honey and cocoa honey flavour. These make a perfect treat for sharing or just for satisfying bigger individual sweet cravings and have an RRP of £1.99
  • Honey Cakes which come in original honey and cocoa honey flavour and are idea for a family celebration or just an after dinner treat. They retail at £11.99
  • Honey Nuggets, which yet again comes in a choice of three flavours just like the snack bars: classic honey, cocoa honey and lemon honey. Each box retails at £5.99 and contains 10 honey nuggets so a lot of small treats to go around.

I find that Marlenka products do not taste like anything else you can buy from the shops. They taste home baked and give me this warm fuzzy comfort feeling.

I love honey and I love cakes (which you most likely know judging by the amount of bakes on my blog) so a honey cake is simply the perfect combination for me; add to this that it’s all natural ingredients and you have the perfect sweet treat, which not only taste delicious but is good for you too.

Have you ever tried any Marlenka products?

What is your choice for a healthy sweet treat?

Are you concerned by the amount of sugar in our diet these days?

What’s Cooking – Homemade Chocolate Honeycomb #ComvitaRecipeComp

Our Homemade Chocolate Honeycomb
Our Homemade Chocolate Honeycomb

We have all had moments when all that we want, is something sweet and tasty… and all too often when that moment comes sods law there is nothing in the kitchen except for empty cupboards, or worse biscuit tins full off empty chocolate wrappers… Lately Mark has developed a taste for home made sweets. He is perfecting homemade chocolates, truffles, toffee, marshmallows and his latest “invention” chocolate covered honeycomb 🙂

We all know that sweets in quantity are not good for you, but… if they are homemade we can at least make them taste so good that you can forget about the inches pilling on, at least till you have finished the batch. Using quality ingredients is the key for how to recreate that old fashioned taste of sweets we all remember. Honeycomb is easy to make and if made right really taste like a small pieces of heaven, with a sharp crack as you bite into it followed by the crumble in your mouth as you chew your whole mouth will fill with the taste of fresh cooked honeycomb. Commercial sweets tend to be made from processed ingredients, purified to the point of having no deviation in taste, ever. Add to that that they were made probably weeks ago and shipped all over the world, and you cannot help that your end product has a different taste. Fresh cooked, just like bread, is when honeycomb is at its absolute more-ish peak.

All you need are a few ingredients and about 40 minutes of free time… oh and an absolute must – A sugar thermometer, as without it the chances of success are remote unless you have years of experience.

So, this is list of ingredients needed:Comvita Honey

  • 375g caster sugar
  • 125g good quality honey, we used Comvita Wildlands Honey, which contains 25% Comvita Manuka Honey 🙂
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 125ml water
  • 15g of bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g melted chocolate, we used a milk one

You will also need:

  • Medium size saucepan, ideally with heavy bottom for heat distribution
  • Greased with butter and lined tray, a silicone one is ideal about 9” x 9” X 2”
  • A 2nd tray for cooling and Icing sugar for dusting
  • Sugar thermometer
  • A sauce whisk, or any small whisk

And now the cooking instructions, which are really quite straightforward:

Place your 2nd cooling tray in the freezer to chill.

Combine sugar, honey, golden syrup and water in your saucepan. Place over low heat and cook gently, stirring continuously. Occasionally brush down the side of the pan and your spoon with a pastry brush dipped in boiling water to remove any sugar crystals. After around 5-7 minutes the sugars should have dissolved, stop stirring. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Cook, without stirring until the syrup reaches 145°C on a sugar thermometer. Remove from heat and immediately add the bi-carbonate of soda and whisk like made for 10 seconds to incorporate it. Your mixture will bubble and foam violently, don’t worry this is good, now quickly pour the mixture into the tray and set aside to cool completely. Ideally somewhere high up, out of sight and reach.

When cool turn the honeycomb out onto a clean surface. Break into desired pieces.

Retrieve your 2nd cooling tray from the freezer.

In a double boiler melt your chocolate till it is smooth and glossy. Line a tray with a good dusting of icing sugar. Drop the honey comb into the chocolate and with a fork turn the pieces till they are fully coated. Fish out the pieces one at a time with a fork to allow excess chocolate to drain away and drop onto the ice cold cooling tray. Again set aside to cool for an hour at room temperature.

If you want to be super posh you can now melt some white chocolate and drizzle it over the covered honeycomb pieces to get the “posh choc look” and put aside to finally set. Store in an airtight container, do not refrigerate as honeycomb really hates the cold and will go soft very quickly.

Enjoy!

This recipe is my entry into Comvita bloggers’ recipe competition.

Who / What Am I? 15-11

Good evening everyone,

I am late again today with my Friday post but I had a really lazy day. It all started out good, I was up very early and doing stuff but then it all went west and instead of spending my day catching up and writing as I had planned, I ended up going back to sleep… hmmm siestas are a wonderful treat if you get the chance.

After my 2nd morning coffee, which I had around 4pm I am up and bouncing, breakfast munched (some pedantic types may call it dinner) and an hour of emergency catch up work and let the lights shine on me as I am finally ready to share the truth about last week’s picture.

Momma’s Bacon was 100% right, last week shot was indeed sugar art. Taken somewhere in China on a regular high street… some guy with a little trolley was making these awesome sugar art lollies; right there in the middle of a crowded street.

Have a look

full shot 8 11who  08 11 answer cut out

If you think this is pretty, have a look at this You Tube clip. It is just over 5 minutes long and it shows different art pieces and how to create them. It looks so simple… we tried to do it at home… it is not simple at all. You need a very steady hand and you need to work fast. We didn’t lift our creation up off the work top in time and it stuck to it, better than superglue, Mark was actually considering getting the hammer and chisel from the garage. We ended up removing it from the kitchen island worktop using a lot of hot water and elbow grease. Slowly the sugar art (yes it is art, Mark claimed it was his interpretation of a Jackson Pollock piece) began to melt and with a clean worktop we tried again, and again, and again and then the saucepan was put in the dishwasher and a different thing was found to do. It’s going to take a lot of practise to get good enough to share the finished work.

Anyway… it is time for this week picture…

Who / What Am I?

Who What Am I 15 11

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

And if you do decide to try and make some sugar art be very careful and for sure do not stick your finger into the hot sugar as I once did. The pain was something else! Never EVER again!