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Origins and calories of Christmas sweetsThere is no table that boasts that this holiday is not presided over with a good assortment of marzipan, nougat, polvorones, chocolates and, increasingly, sophisticated preparations that make smacking the greediest palates. They are a temptation that makes us lose the senses, but beware, as excessive consumption may cause problems for our organism.
Origins and calories in the typical Christmas sweets
NougatIt is presumed that already in the Greek era was preparing a mass of dried fruit and honey, which served as energy product Greek athletes to participate in the Olympics. It is also spoken of that the Arabs were the first to introduce them into our country. The fact that we can only find them on these dates is due to the jijonencos took advantage of the cooler months, October, November and December, where agriculture stopped, to develop them and then sell them, forming it thus part of the tradition of the holiday season.
For those who count calories, according to the BEDCA (data, Spanish composition food Base) 100 grams (approximately half Tablet) of type Alicante nougat gives us 486 calories, being a serving (25 g) 121 calories. To give you an idea, the same amount of bacon on the grill only brings 292 calories versus the nearly 500 nougat.
Mantecados and polvoronesProduct that was born in the mid-16th century in Estepa (Seville, Andalusia) to take advantage of the surplus of cereals and lard, commodity protagonists of these candies. In addition to these ingredients, it is common that they incorporate the nuts such as almonds and some spices. The difference between the two is their form and in the polvorones used sugar powder (hence its name).
One hundred grams provide us 462 calories; Thus we can calculate that two pieces (40 grams) equals approximately 185 calories, as well as a chocolate donut. That said, care to excessive consumption.
Few foods have as many nationalities as they conferred. From Italy, passing through Greece, Arab countries and Spain, but if we stay with the nearest history, we know that they arose in the convent of San Clemente (Toledo) when he besieged a terrible famine for the battle of Navas de Tolosa. It was then when the nuns decided to feed the most needy a product, which in the absence of cereals, sugar and almonds. Today, you can still buy them in this place and certify this story. Now, their composition also it uses clear egg, water, zest of lemon, cinnamon, dried fruit for your decoration, etc.
They are famous in addition to by its sweetness by their figurines, animals especially, that delight children of the House. Some of their most consumed varieties are the famous Cadiz bread or pastries of gloria.
A figurine of marzipan provides around 150 calories, the same as a cupcake.
AlfajoresFrom Al-Andalus, and carried out origin based on a paste of almonds, walnuts and honey (also usually include pine nuts or spices, cinnamon powder, anise...), it is common to find this sweet in the Andalusian and murcian houses at Christmas. Although also in Castilian areas we find recognized variants of this sweet, where in some cases it is better known as Turkish delight. It is the case of the arajul of Miranda de el Castañar (Salamanca), or variants of alfanjoras basin of the Alcarria (Guadalajara) where usually include between two wafers (angel bread).
A piece of about 50 grams provides approximately between 150 and 200 calories, depending on the filling that is done. A good pump, without a doubt.
The twisted roll of Kings
Sweet par excellence of the sixth day of January, as it happens with all these products originated is also uncertain, but speaks of that in the Roman Empire, during the festivities in honor of the God Saturn, was hiding a bean somewhere in the House and the slave who found it would gain freedom during the days lasted the celebration. Another story that tries to explain its beginnings is that derives from a round cakes that were made with figs, dates and honey and that hid a dried bean, who found her, was proclaimed "King for a day". During the middle ages, its use was Christianized, in where the bean symbolized the baby Jesus.
Regardless of their origin, what is clear is that both children as adults enjoy this bun made of eggs, flour, sugar, milk, water of orange blossom, butter and yeast, decorated by candied fruit, sugar or dried fruit and sometimes stuffed with cream or truffles.
Although it is less-caloric Christmas products (108 calories per serving, equivalent to two ounces of chocolate) consumption should not be excessive, being relegated to the breakfast the morning of Kings and some occasional snack.
Healthy alternatives for Christmas sweetsAlthough there is a varied and each specialty has its particularities, there is something shared by all them, are high in fats and sugar products with a high content of calories. This circumstance means that persons who suffer from overweight, obesity, diabetes or high cholesterol rates have to be more careful with their consumption.
This does not mean that they are forbidden foods, there are a few options better than others, for example which include dried fruits provide healthy fats, such as omega 3, good for cardiovascular health. People with high cholesterol can choose these instead of mantecados polvorones, contributing some amount of fat animal, not so convenient in these circumstances.
Those concerned about sugar, should know that there are varieties that replaced the common sugar with artificial sweeteners. The sweet 'with fructose or sucrose' are interesting for people with diabetes, because this ingredient has a lower glycemic index. That Yes, do not forget that fats and calories resulting unabated, so it will be a controlled outlet.
Which most regarded by its line must know that there are 'low in sugar' sweet with between seven and 30 times less sugar than the original (look for who are between 1.5 and 5 grams of sugar per each one hundred). Those labeled as 'no added sugar' are also valid, not to include glucose, fructose, sucrose, lactose, or honey.
It is important to enjoy Christmas and its products, but it must be done with head and thinking about our health. These foods are very energetic and have a very high concentration of calories, that is why you have to leave them for special occasions and make a moderate consumption that not bitter us the curve of January.
ReferencesHere have a tip for lovers of the figures or the program what bet: in the town of Isla Cristina (Huelva) in 2009 will beat the Guinness record for the largest ever created marzipan. It was neither more nor less than 400 meters long (almost four football fields) and 350 kilos of weight. For the drink, nothing better than accompanied by 750 litres of chocolate hot.
But here is not the end of everything, because this town fond of challenges, at the beginning of 2010, to honor this prize, made a twisted roll of Kings of one hundred meters long, elaborated with tens of kilos of egg, almond and candied fruit, inside were scattered 219 gifts donated by different employers. It will take a near month of January to see what prepare to overcome.