Using less refined sugars can be tough on your sweet tooth! Sugar can be incredibly delicious and extremely harmful. It Is definitely worth your energy or will power to use less. There are many sweeteners found in nature that are actually good for your health. They are lower in calories, low in fructose and taste very sweet without damaging your immune system.
Often when I’m craving something sweet I will eat a piece of fruit or a couple of dates and the feeling that I need a sweet treat disappears. It’s almost impossible to get away from all sugar when our society celebrates every important life event with cake or some other sweet treat!
I prefer using unprocessed, natural sugars in my baking. Sugars that are the least processed are fruit, raw honey, pure maple syrup and coconut sugar. I always recommend using less sugar than the recipe calls for, because most desserts are too sweet for me.
Sweeteners stimulate our appetite, encourage our sweet tooth and pack on the pounds. They place us at risk for obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver. Sugar is addictive and the more you eat, the more you want. So cutting down even a little will help your health over your lifetime.
Healthy sugar substitutes are needed. There are people who might absolutely need to avoid all sugars. This would include brittle diabetics, someone who is insulin resistant, a binge eater, food addicts, or people on low carbohydrate or ketogenic diets.
Sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners are a topic that has been controversial for a long time. I believe there are natural plant based sweeteners that can be used by everyone, including diabetics, without negative side affects.
4 GOOD sweeteners or sugar substitutes that are safe:
Stevia (sugar from a leafy plant) It is a natural, zero calorie sweetener that can lower both blood pressure and blood sugar levels. You can get the green leaf powder or the white powder that has the chlorophyll removed.
Erythritol (sugar alcohol from fruit) Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is very sweet but low in calories. Studies show that it is safe to eat, although it can cause digestive distress in high doses.
Xylitol (sugar alcohol from fruit) Xylitol is a very popular sweetener. It is a sugar alcohol with about 2.4 calories per gram. It has some dental benefits, may improve bone density and lower the risk of osteoporosis. It can also cause digestive problems in high doses.
Coconut sugar A solid sugar made from the evaporated sap of the coconut palm. Coconut sugar has a similar taste to brown sugar and can be substituted 1:1 for granulated or brown sugar in most baking recipes. Because coconut palm trees can produce sap for many years and require fewer resources than sugar cane, it’s a fairly sustainable crop. Look for organic varieties to be sure no pesticides are being used. It’s lower on the glycemic index than most other sugars.
4 BAD sugar substitutes that can cause health issues:
Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste Blue) Studies have shown that Aspartame could cause lymphoma or leukemia when used regularly. It can also be a neurotoxin.
Sucralose (Splenda) Some reports of increased incidence of blood cell tumors when using high doses of Splenda on a regular basis.
Acesulfame K (ACE K, Sunette, Equal Spoonful, Sweet One, Sweet ‘n Safe) Some reports of increased risk of human carcinogen if used in high doses.
Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin) Studies have shown that Saccarin can cause bladder tumors or cancer if used regularly.
I personally don’t want to regularly eat a chemical sweetener that could cause my body great harm. Having said that, all sweeteners should be eaten in small amounts. I would say in conclusion, as with most foods, choose sweeteners that are the least processed and that are healthiest for your body.
Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!