At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we believe every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential – both as individuals and citizens. We believe that by changing the course of young lives we can in turn be changing the course of a community’s future.
Start Talking is a place where we want to raise awareness of key issues that face today’s youth. We will sometimes advocate, sometimes educate, sometimes inform, sometimes ask questions and always invite discussion about the pressing concerns that involve the younger generations of today.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hold the Sugar Please

Every day we hear about new ‘research’ that has been conducted on which foods are good for us and which ones are not. It can be information overload for most of us.

The foods we consume are filled with pesticides, preservatives and additives and labels can be misleading, so it is a challenge to know what’s ‘real’ and what’s not.

A simple change such as substituting refined sugar to natural sugar can have a big impact on our health. We’re so accustomed to reaching for sugar as we pour our cup of coffee or tea in the morning, or paying for a bottle of soda which contains close to our daily allowance of sugar - that we forget the impact it’s could be having on our current and future health.

Sugar itself has been linked to numerous health problems ranging from obesity, tooth decay and hyperactivity. On average, in 2004, Canadians consumed 110.0 grams of sugar a day, the equivalent of 26 teaspoons which is 21.4% of their total daily calorie intake. Sounds like a lot? Well, that’s because it is.

Take a look at these inexpensive natural sugar substitutes-


A herb native to South American, It’s been used as a sweetener for centuries in South America and in Japan. It’s so widespread that before Coca Cola decided to ‘standardize’ the recipe, stevia was used in Japanese Diet Coke.

Stevia has no calories, no carbohydrates, and a zero glycemic index which makes it a great natural alternative to sugar and chemical sweeteners. Stevia can be used as a sweetener in beverages in cooking and in baking.


Sweeter than white sugar, look for honey that’s been locally produced to reap the full benefits. Packed with vitamins, honey has been shown to lower the impacts of heart disease, reduce ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders, regulate blood sugars and heal wounds and burns.

Honey may have more calories than normal sugar but because it’s sweeter you use less of it.
You can add it to sweeten beverages and also for baking. The wide range of honeys at our disposal also gives you many options for varying the flavor in cooking.

Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar, derived from the flowers of the coconut tree, is an organic, sustainable natural sweetener that has shown great results for people who suffer from chronic illnesses or conditions such as diabetes, gallstones, cancer, heart disease and obesity. This sugar has a low glycemic index and is also a nutrient powerhouse, filled with lots of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Coconut sugar is minimally processed, unbleached and contains no preservatives

It can be used in baking, cooking and in sweetening hot beverages.

Stevia, honey and coconut sugar are all low in glycemic index, have no negative side effects and are all natural replacements to lower our daily intake of sugar.

Jamie Oliver once said – “We need to make sure that all kids are given the opportunity to learn about food and good eating while they’re still young so that they are sorted for life”.
Through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada’s diverse mentoring programs, we educate young girls and boys across Canada about the importance of healthy and balanced eating.

Find out about our mentoring programs >


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