Agave syrup has been consumed for thousands of years in Mexico and Central America, but has only recently risen to fame as an alternative sweetener. Practically unheard of ten years ago, it is now a popular item in health food stores and whole food cafés. I first spotted it on the breakfast menu at a whole food cafe drizzled over buckwheat pancakes with blueberries, raw cacao and yoghurt. So it was time to investigate what it is and if agave really is better for me?
There's quite a bank of research behind these anti-bacterial honeys (or medical honeys or Leptospermum honeys). Certain honeys have been known for years to be good for wound healing but now it seems these active medi-honeys can also relieve sore throats, mouth ulcers, sore gums and possibly indigestion. It's all due to the high antibacterial activity in the honey that's derived from the tea tree (Leptospermum) which is known as Manuka in New Zealand.
Sugar. It's been labelled "deadly", "addictive", "toxic", "sweet poison" and blamed for the rise in global obesity in recent years." Get rid of the white toxin from your diet and you'll free up your body to drop those excess kilos" (or so say anti-sugar campaigners Sarah Wilson, David Gillespie and Robert Lustig). Here are the three real reasons why I believe quitting sugar helps you lose weight.
With so much choice these days and 24-hour food availability, it's worth asking why chocolate is the food craved most often. There are plenty of theories to explain those chocolate cravings but not a lot of solid proof. Here's my shot at an explanation where I aim to show that chocolate is in a "class of its own". Hear me out - I firmly believe no other food comes close to chocolate in terms of its superb flavour, rich concentrated composition, easy overconsumption and sensory chemical make-up.
On its own, a little sugar is not bad for you - but you do need to consider how much and how often you eat it. In moderation, sugar is unlikely to cause harm and make low fat, high fibre foods taste better. A spread of jam on multigrain toast or a handful of sweets is hardly going to destroy the nutritional value of a whole diet. But ...
Eating more fibre is one of the easiest ways to make your diet more healthy and help you if you need to shed a little weight. In case you're hesitating, here's 7 of the most-asked questions I get on fibre - from adapting your favourite recipes, types of bran, wind, irritable bowel disease, to fibre supplements and powders to help alleviate constipation.
Think of a loaf of soft white bread or a hamburger bun. It's soft, nice to eat and easy to swallow. You can probably wolf down two or three slices with butter or jam in a couple of minutes - no worries. That's the problem. Today's modern carbs are too easy to eat. They've had their fibre removed so they're soft, require no chewing. Before you know it, you've swallowed 1600kJ (400 cals).