Refined sugar is everywhere and in almost everything. It’s quiet, meek and very sneaky! It’s pretty much a ninja, lol! But how can something that seems so harmless and tastes so good be so bad for your health, you ask? Well, below is a short list of some reasons why you should start looking for a sugar substitute A.S.A.P.!
Here’s a few ways sugar causes you health problems:
- Causes excess inflammation in the body ( –>> excess inflammation in the body leads to disease)
- Contributes to tooth decay ( –>> tooth decay contributes to heart disease)
- Contributes to weight gain
- Causes belly fat
- Increased diabetes risk
- Interferes with collagen production
- Causes wrinkles and rapid aging
- Contributes to sagging skin
- Increases the risk of getting certain cancers (breast and colon)
- Contributes to acne
- Depresses your immune system
- Disrupts the hormone leptin which is responsible for telling your body that you’re full (–>> causes excessive eating)
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Contributes to depression
- Contributes to high cholesterol
- Contributes to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Contributes to high blood pressure
- Plays a role in leaky gut
- Sugar addiction
Now that you can see why refined sugar is not the best for you, here’s a few suggestions to get you going on the right path to sweetness and finding a sugar substitute that works best for you 🙂
This lovely fruit looks like a mango had a baby with an avocado, lol! Am I right!? Just sayin’. Anyway, Lucuma comes from South America in the Andean Valley. It contains a multitude of health benefits including: Calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus and antioxidants.
It’s beneficial to your heart health, skin health and digestive system.
The Lucuma fruit has a taste comparable to caramel, maple and pumpkin. Another great benefit is that it adds natural sweet to your food/drink without raising your blood sugar.
**Shopping Heads-Up!**: Lucuma powder is sold at many health food stores and probably a few ethnic food stores too. The powder is very pricey, ranging from $26 to $29 at one health food store I visited locally a few days ago. So, just giving you a heads-up about the price so that you don’t have a coronary!
This interesting looking tuber hails from the Andes. It has been used for centuries as a natural sweetener in Peru and is grown from Colombia to northern Argentina. The syrup is a dark brown molasses-like color and the powder is off-white, but turns brown when mixed with water.
It is high in fiber, helps lower blood sugar and is safe for diabetics. Yacon can be eaten raw like a potato or Jicama.
I have tried the powder so far, not the syrup. It’s sweet and tastes like a root veggie. I tried the powder in my tea to sweeten it, but I didn’t like the way they tasted together. However, when I tasted it in a desert a different time and it tasted much better! So you’ll have to try the powder and syrup in different foods to see what you like better.
Dr. Oz has featured yacon on one of his segments and demonstrated how it helped American women on his show lose weight.
At your local health food store (or online), look for yacon powder or syrup. Please note that this sweetener is pricey. One of my local (in Canada) health food stores was selling yacon syrup for $23.99 (the bottle was not very big either)! So again, just an FYI as you plan your grocery shopping and budgeting.
3) Coconut Palm Sugar:
Coconut palm sugar is absolutely delicious (this is one of my fav natural sweeteners)! The flavor is rich and caramel-like. This natural sweetener has a low glycemic index and is made from the crystallized nectar of the coconut palm tree flowers.
There are many trace nutrients contained in it such as: Amino acids, B vitamins, potassium, zinc, magnesium, phytonutrients and iron.
Inulin fiber is good for your gut health and happens to be the type of fiber contained in coconut palm sugar! Inulin helps your gut produce good bacteria, thus bringing you additional health benefits.
Calorie-wise, this coconut palm sugar is the same as regular granulated sugar.
Coconut palm sugar is reasonably priced and you’ll be able to find it primarily at health food stores and online. Some regular grocery stores carry it and you may be able to find it there as well.
4) Raw Honey (**Not Vegan**):
Listen, honey 😉 — I’m only talking about the RAW (unheated, unpasteurized, unprocessed) stuff here. So, if you’re into the processed honey in those cute bottles….we’re not on the same page (sorry…not sorry)! Processed honey has had all of the nutritional elements removed, so it’s basically been turned into refined sugar. So, there’s no health benefit to you with processed honey — but it will help to give you excess empty calories.
Honey has been used across various cultures for centuries. It’s bustling with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants enzymes and other nutritional elements. It’s beneficial to both your internal and external (great for the skin) health.
Here are some of the benefits of RAW honey:
- Weight management —>> Suppresses appetite
- Pre and post workout energy source
- Boosts immune system
- Promotes wound healing –>> antibacterial, antifungal
- Helps relieve seasonal allergies and allergic rhinitis –>> via local raw honey from local flowers —>>> eating this builds up your immunity and decreases allergy symptoms
- Promotes quality sleep –>> Take a dose before bed
- Heals stomach ulcers
- Natural cough syrup —>> Drink raw honey + 1/2 lemon + 1 cup boiling water when you have a cold that causes lots of coughing and a sore throat
In conclusion, find a refined sugar substitute that works for you, your lifestyle and your taste buds! There are many natural options out there (like Stevia, Xylitol, Monk Fruit etc) outside of what I wrote about above. Still use moderation when using any sweetener because you don’t want to be excessive with it. This blog post shows that you can still have your cake and eat it too! 🙂
Did you find this info helpful? What sugar substitutes are you using right now? Or, is this a gradual change you are looking to make?
Leave a comment below! I always enjoy hearing from you 🙂
Peace & Plants,