Do you seem to find that your sweet tooth is unstoppable during the evening? Or maybe you like to enjoy a slice of cake while catching up with friends in the afternoon? Find our recipe of the week at the bottom and learn why timing your treats right matters. Use those unwanted calories effectively to avoid putting on those extra pounds.
Why is sugar so bad?
When you eat something sugary, your blood sugar rises. As a result, the body releases the hormone, insulin, which is needed to lower your blood sugar. Insulin is essential in our body as it lowers the blood sugar to a normal level. However, when this hormone is high, our metabolism of fat is less active. Frequently snacking on sugary carbs not only increases the chance of weight gain, but also increases the likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes.
Know the difference
All carbohydrates can be broken down into two categories – simple and complex. Carbohydrates are our bodies preferred source of energy and can even help metabolise fat! Simple carbs such as honey, soda or candy are composed of simple-to-digest, simple sugars which are very quickly absorbed into the bloodstream causing a rapid spike in our blood sugar levels. In contrast to this, complex carbs from oatmeal or legumes contain longer chains of sugar molecules that are more complex and harder for our bodies to break down. Thus resulting in a steady release of sugar, energy and stabilises blood sugar levels. Complex carbs are a healthier alternative as they are packed with fiber and nutrients, have less of an impact on our blood sugar and don’t interrupt your fat metabolism.
Why it matters when to have your snack
You don’t need to give up on your favorite treats, just enjoy them strategically. Follow these extra tips for guidance on how to make the most of your tasty treats.
Tip 1: Combine carbs with protein and fat.
Always combine your carbs to avoid blood sugar swings, unwanted cravings and gaining fat. Never eat carbs alone. Always combine your treats with some sort of protein or fat. This slows down the digestion and absorption of the sugar into the bloodstream, ensuring your blood sugar will not rise quickly and remain stabilised.
Tip 2: Have your treat as a dessert.
As opposed to having carbs in between meals, eat a balanced and healthy main meal to help absorb some of the sugar from your dessert. The fiber and complexity of your main meal dampens the rise of your blood sugar when you have your treat. This means, less insulin spikes and more fat burning.
Tip 3: Treat yourself after an intense workout.
Exercise breaks down our muscle carbohydrate stores and muscle protein structures. Consume a high carb post-workout meal to replenish the muscle glycogen that you burned during your workout. In addition, add protein to your treat to repair and build muscle tissue. After an intense workout, the muscles are biochemically prepared for nutrient uptake. Therefore, enjoy a high in carbohydrates treat to refill muscle carbohydrate/energy stores within 30 minutes after working out. If you wait too long, glycogen (carbohydrate) replenishment and protein repair will be compromised.
Keep in mind, you can never out exercise a bad diet. What you eat contribute to 80 percent of your results. Be smart for the best results! Only reward yourself with a tasty treat if your workout was very intense or very long. This will ensure you get the best benefits and utilise the treat effectively.
Spicy protein cake recipe
- 6 eggs
- 5 Tbsp honey (alternatively use agave or stevia)
- 1 tsp cocoa
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 5 tsp Christmas spice mix (for instance ground cloves, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground coriander)
- 2 Tbsp baking powder
- 5 Tbsp coconut (shredded)
- 5 Tbsp vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 cup milk (~ 125 ml)
- 2 1/2 cups ground almonds (~ 10 oz)
- 1 cup apple sauce (~ 9 oz)
- 2 Tbsp raisins or cranberries
- 2 Tbsp chopped nuts (almonds or walnuts)
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C).
- Beat the eggs until fluffy. Add the sweetener of your choice (stevia, honey or agave), as well as cocoa, cinnamon, the Christmas spice mix and baking powder. Mix well.
- Add the shredded coconut, vanilla protein powder, applesauce and ground almonds to the mixture. Add milk and water and combine the ingredients well.
- Spread the mixture evenly on a baking tray lined with baking paper and sprinkle the raisins (or cranberries) and chopped nuts on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Let it cool and cut into pieces.