samedi 12 mai 2012
WHEN IS SUGAR NOT SUGAR...IN INDONESIA
CORN SUGAR, I was told, when presented with an attractive little package, in Bogor, Indonesia. Sugar brings to our mind the waving tall sugar cane fields. Let us try to limit the usage of word Sugar, to the refined white powder ubiquitous at homes and Cafes.
Did you know that this tall grass is native to Nusantara? The extreme eastern part where it had grown for 6000 years and slowly made its way west through the archipelago to India, arriving there around 600 BCE.
Ayurvedic physicians of ancient India, Sushruta and Charaka that too much consumption of the juice of the sugar cane along with gluttony can cause a disease called Madhumeha or Sweet Urine. It was the very same disease described 700 years later by a Greek Physician, Arateus the Cappodocian, as Diabetes (like syphon urine pours out of the body)
Indians are credited to have learned how to make sugar out of cane, and noted that this sweet urine disease was more common among the rich, since these crystals were very expensive. Islam carried the sugar further west to the Arabian Peninsula and northern Africa and southern Spain. By 1500, the Europeans had found fertile grounds in the Caribbean to cultivate sugar and thus began Slavery of the Africans to the new continent.
Is the Corn Sugar shown to me in Indonesia recommended? As a sugar substitute? or Sugar?
In general you should never eat anything that substitutes for FOOD… food comes in natural form, like the delicious Sundanese food with its fresh vegetables and Ikan Bakr.
Let us look what the ingredients are in a packet of “Corn Sugar”. Hardly any corn, but Sorbitol, which is an alcohol which can cause damages to the cells of the eyes and nerves; Aspartame, which has been shown to cause increased secretion of Insulin in the body and there is some evidence that it may cause Diabetes or Pre Diabetes if taken regularly. (It is the main ingredient after water in many of the soft drinks and juice drinks), the third ingredient is Corn Syrup. All three are chemicals and recent inventions, so it seems to me sacrilegious for modern Indonesians to be consuming this stuff when their ancestors cultivated sugar cane!
What does Dr Yehuda recommend to his Indonesian friends? Gula Merah is freely available, the darker it is more Molasses it contains, stickier it is, more moisture it contains. Even better is to get Gula Merah cultivated organically or the local Coconut Palm Sugar or the Pinanga Palm Sugar that are extracted from the sap of the tree and just heated to evaporate the moisture. It has light brown colour and a sweet odour to it. On a recent visit to Cambodia, I was able to get some Natural Palm Sugar. Please don't confuse it with the Palm trees that grow in Kalimantan from which Palm Oil is produced, which is not good for your body or the body of the Orang Utan!
I would like Mr J to obtain a copy of the booklet, THE HIDDEN SUGARS OF OUR FOOD, published by that tireless worker for public health, Idris Mohammed of the Consumers Association of Penang. It is a small booklet full of information on hidden “sugars” in our food
Health Benefits of PALM or COCONUT Sugar
Health Benefits: The health benefits of using these unrefined sugars are only beginning to become known. The greatest benenfit so far is their low glycemic index (around 35), which means they don't have the blood-sugar spiking effect ('sugar high') that regular refined sugar causes. In India, palm sugar (in the rock-sugar jaggery form) is actually used in traditional medicine, since it contains many minerals and has been found to heal throat and lung infections.