Why sugar is bad for you

Should sugar be considered a drug ?

Should we ban food brands from using hidden sugars?

Why exactly is sugar in the blacklists of so many fitness enthusiasts?

I was recently trying to make some mango ice cream and decided not to add sugar and only use natural mango pulp for sweetness. No matter how much pulp I added in the ice cream it would not give the same taste as the added sugar in the normal ice creams. At  the end I had to add some sweetened condensed milk to make it taste better. This is how much we are used to having added sugar in our food.

Health hazards of sugar

  • When we eat processed sugar our blood sugar levels spike and we experience a quick height of energy. This quick increase in blood sugar level is not good for us in the longer run because as a reaction to increase in blood sugar levels, pancreas produce more insulin.
  • If we keep eating sugary goods all the time then there’s increased pressure on pancreatic cells (beta cells of islets of Langerhans) which will cause damage to them. This increases the health risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Just like us sugar is loved by microbes too so when you eat it you increase tooth decay in your mouth. When this sugar goes unused in our body it increases risk of obesity.

Why is sugar addictive 

  • More sugar should be consumed every next time to get same amount of sugar rush. This is the typical characteristic of an addictive substance and that is why some people are labelling sugar as a drug.
  • All of us love us love sugar because we are biologically driven to consume more calories as our ancestors in stone age preserved this energy through fats (excess glucose in body is converted to fats) and bloating is a mechanism to retain water in body after eating salty stuff. All these mechanisms helped us to live through famines and draughts throughout the history.
  • But nowadays we seldom starve ourselves and do fewer physical activities. As said in the book mindless eating This drive to consume more calories helped our ancestors but doesn’t help today’s dieters.

Hidden sugars

There is a way too much sugar in your protein bars, the Nutella you just ate out of the jar, granola bar, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal with which you started your day and a lot more food stuff. Sugar is a great preservative and hence hidden in a lot of products marketed as no artificial preservatives such as jams, pickles, marmalades and juices.

What if I don’t eat sweets

Sugar is no more limited only to desserts and sweets on the last course of the meal. Even if you are not a sweet tooth and don’t eat desserts and sweets at all, sugar find its way into your mouth by some sneaky ways.

Before start of industrialization sugar was very expensive and not much people were able to buy sugar. it was expensive to make crystalized sugar from sugar cane. After industrialization sugar is comparatively inexpensive and it is added in foods which are considered savoury.

Here are some savoury foods containing sugar per 100g

  • Ketchup – 22g
  • Coffee liquor – 44g
  • Salad dressings – 17g
  • Mint sauce – 25g
  • Mustard sauce – 13g
  • Barbeque sauce – 33g

Sugary drinks

It is very easy to consume large amounts of sugar through drinks as we don’t even realise it. There is 10g of sugar in just 100ml of coke and similar sugar content is found in all carbonated drinks, to top this up coke also contains a lot of caffeine which in itself is not as bad but can cause problems when consumed in excess and disrupt your sleep cycles when consumed before bed time. Energy drinks   have the highest sugar and caffeine percentage. Even lemonades, juices of different fruits, so-called healthy drinks contain a lot of sugar.

In the book called mindless eating a girl just started losing weight by quitting her weekly 6 cans of coke, a trick many of us should consider trying.

To find out ways to quit added sugar and what research says about sugar, stay tuned for my next blog. Follow me to get an email notification when I post.

Don’t we all love a nice piece of cake

Refreshing summer recipes

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Today I am sharing my most tried and tested recipes during summer. I make these all the time and they are very easy to make. You can always add new things to make the recipe better and substitute them with available ingredients as they are some of the super flexible recipes.

Aam panna

2 Raw mangoes (kairi)
1 small cup of sugar
1 small cup of jaggery
1 tablespoon Jeera powder(cumin powder)
Half a tablespoon Cardamom powder (Elaichi)
Pinch of  Saffron
Sea salt and black salt as per taste.

Boil the raw mangoes until cooked. To take pulp out remove its skin and scoop out the pulp from skin and mango seed. Don’t waste any of this goodness. and smoothen it with a hand mixer or any kind of blender available.
Cook this pulp on a medium flame add sugar and jaggery, one can be substituted by other but for best flavour add both. Cooking this will increase its shelf life.
Add cumin powder, saffron, sea salt, black salt. After cooking this mixture cardamom powder for its aroma and flavour . I like this drink to be a little saltier so I add one tablespoon of sea salt and Himalayan black salt to please my taste buds.
All the spices mentioned are not necessary. Add the ones available and any spice can be skipped. We just need raw mango pulp, Sugar and salt for classic taste.
Turn off the heat after everything is dissolved and cool this concoction. This can be stored in the jar. Three tablespoon of this panna can be added to a glass of water to make Aam panna and enjoy it cold.
I like this drink to be a little saltier so I add one tablespoon of sea salt and Himalayan black salt to please my taste buds.

Pduina aam panna
All the ingredients are same just don’t add cardamom powder.
While adding all the spices add half a cup of pudina puree in it. This will add a great hint of taste and make your drink a little spicy.

Health benefits
Adding pudina will boost up the health benefits it masks bad breath and helps patients with irritable bowel syndrome(IBS).
Unlike other drinks we don’t get rid of the fibre in the drink so it’s a well-known laxative.
Different spices and vitamins in the raw mangoes help neurotransmitters in performing their functions.
raw mangoes are a great way to add antioxidants and taste both to your diet.
It has vit A,B1, B2,B6,C,niacin, and iron.
Maintains electrolyte balance, rich in nutrients, rehydrates your body.
We have replaced half amount of sugar with jaggery which has minerals and vitamins along with sweetness.
Although keep in mind anything in excess is not good for you. Aam panna has a lot of sugar and it’s a laxative so be sure you don’t overdo it.

Easiest way to make any ice cream
Remember this is a very indulgent recipe and has lot of empty calories. Meaning it adds calories without any nutritional value. We are not getting rid of any fibre from the pulp and adding fresh fruit pulp in this recipe so it is still better than store brought ice cream.

Any kind of  whipping cream – half litre
fresh fruit pulp – 2 cups or 250g/ substitute – any essence
3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk


Take whipping cream in a big bowl. Make sure to fill it only till 20% capacity of the bowl. Whipping cream gets doubled in volume because of all the air incorporated in it and we don’t want any spilling.

Start whipping the cream with hand blender or whisk. If you are doing it with a whisk god bless your hands.
When some air is incorporated into the cream start adding the pulp or essence slowly and keep whisking. Add sugar in the pulp to make it sweet if you are skipping condensed milk.
Whip the cream until you see hard peaks forming. After this stop whipping don’t over mix it.
Add condensed milk at last and gently fold it in. this will add a rich taste to your ice cream. Fold in some freshly cut mago.
Keep this in the freezer. To make sure that your ice cream gets extra creamy keep stirring it after every hour also keep it in an airtight container and add plastic wrap over the ice cream. This stops water crystal formation.
If you don’t have any patience like me you can also eat it after an hour because we just added only cream and not whole milk so it gets to ice cream consistency fast.
Tip– keep tasting while adding pulp to make it taste better according to your taste.

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Indian History of Tadkas

Satisfying sound of mustard seed splittering

Ever since I first started cooking in a typical Indian kitchen, I wondered why are tadkas so important in cooking. It turns out that every style of traditional cooking has its own basis like Italian cooking has sauces, most of Asian countries have curries and we Indians have tadkas. We love them so much that even our salads have a dash tadka on them, everything is incomplete without a tadka.
Adding simmering hot oil to a dish of raw vegies reduces its microbial count without cooking it so that they can be enjoyed with their fibre and all the nutrient content.

Basic ingredients in tadka

• Mustard seeds – packed with vitamins minerals and fibre great for digestive health. Mustard oil is known to have less cholesterol and good for cardiovascular problems. They have selenium which is good for bones, gums, hair and nail health. It is also good for skin and delays aging process.
• Cumin seeds – great for digestive health, rich source of iron and contains antioxidants.
• Chilli powder – although it is said that too much of chilli is not good for health in moderation spicy food increases your metabolic rate which means more calories are burnt by your body. This spice also contains vitamin C and surprisingly enough it is an anti-inflammatory agent.
• Turmeric – vey well known for all its health benefits it is a spice strong enough which caused a lawsuit between an American company and India for its discovery.
• Asafoetida(Hing) – very useful for improvement of digestive health, it is a well-known laxative.

How to make tadka

It is also called as tempering of spices where the spices are heated in hot oil to give its best flavour into our dish. Traditionally the oil is heated at medium heat and then mustard seeds are added now wait for them to make splitting sounds (very satisfying to hear) after it stops making that sound add cumin seeds. At this point if you are making your tadka in a small vessel turn of the heat to stop it from burning as shown in the video and then add other ingredients. Do not let it burn or else it gives a very bad burnt taste in your dish. Now add Hing(asafoetida), turmeric and lastly chilli powder add this tasty concoction to your salads, dal, lentils or anything you wish to. Garlic, onions and tomatoes are added to improve the taste as well. We can also make this tadka in big pot and then add our veggies to it and let it sauté in the same pot for the flavours to get incorporated.
The ingredients mentioned here are very basic as the ingredients differ, based on the recipe that we are cooking. We can also add fennel seeds, cloves, pepper, curry leaves , urad dal, fenugreek seeds, anything which your imagination allows.
As a rule of thumb, the order of ingredients added in tadka is decided on which ingredient requires more cooking time, they are added first and ones which requires less time are added later. Mustard seeds are almost always added first.

About the nutrients lost

Now we know that along with adding flavour to our food tadka provides nutrients, but aren’t they lost while cooking in oil? Well because they are cooked in oil which is a fat it increases the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A,D,E and K but decreases the absorption of water-soluble vitamin like vitamin C. As we only use one or two tablespoons of oil for a big pot of dal, lentils and vegetables only a healthy moderate amount of oil consumed.
Oils like coconut oil, clarified butter(ghee) can be used to make the food healthier. Olive oil at high temperatures breaks down to give unpleasant taste so its not ideal for a good tadka.

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