It’s talk sugar.
Do you crave it? Or ever find yourself reaching for the candy bowl at work or indulging in a bowl of ice cream after dinner?
If so, you are not alone.
If your sugar cravings are out of control, what have you tried to stop them? For most of my clients going cold turkey can be just too darn hard.Have no fear because today I am going to share the top 5 natural sweeteners to help curb your sweet tooth and re-balance your waistline and blood sugars. And I will highlight the sneaky alternative sweeteners that are sabotaging your success.
Sugar is one of the foods listed on the “frenemies” list in my 14 Day Happy Body Reset. If you are looking for support and guidance getting your food habits back on track, click HERE for more details.
Refined sugar is addictive and can strip the body from vital nutrients and minerals, like calcium. It’s nutrient-void and adds extra padding to your waistline. Dr. Taz at the Atlanta Center for Holistic Medicine recommends we get 40 grams (10 teaspoons) of sugar per day. The average American consumes 130 grams (32.5 teaspoons) per day!
Start checking you labels and be a sugar sleuth. Avoiding products with sugar as one of the top 5 ingredients. Don’t get fooled by non-fat, diet foods since sugar is usually added to make it taste good. And even trickier, try to avoid processed, low sugar foods that are filled with unhealthy alternative sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, Splenda, Truvia, aspartame, saccharin, processed Stevia to name a few. They can mess with your body’s ability to regulate hunger, your blood sugars and often times will have you craving more sugar than before.
Here are My Top 5 Favorite Refined Sugar Swaps
- Fruit: Naturally sweet and filled with vitamins, antioxidants, water and fiber. The added fiber helps slow the rate sugar digests in your system keeping your blood sugar more balance than if you ate a cookie. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries are naturally low in sugar and filled antioxidants. I keep apples and pears in eye site to remind to eat fruit for a snack. If you want something decadent try a Medjool date with a few walnuts.
- Coconut Palm Sugar: It has the same about of calories as sugar (15 calories per teaspoon) however, os 70-79% sucrose and only 3% fructose compared to cane sugar’s 50% fructose content. We want to keep our fructose intake as low as possible making this type of sugar sugar a better substitute. It has a pleasant carmel-like flavor and also contains aminos acids, magnesium, zinc, iron and B vitamins. I’ve been enjoying it as the sweetener in Blueberry Muffins or Cocoa Banana Bread.
- Stevia: With no calories, artificial sweeteners or glycemic (blood sugar) response this plant based sweetener is a good option in it’s natural form. Be aware that some products on the market are processed and contain natural flavors (which can cause you to crave more sugar), dextrose, and erythritol. Look for products with 100% Stevia, like Sweet Leaf brand.
- Organic Maple Syrup: Renewable, natural and comes right out of a tree! It’s high in minerals verse refined sugars so it won’t steal from your body. I enjoy maple syrup on buckwheat waffles or drizzles on a baked apple.
- Organic Raw Honey: Trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, amino acids make up this natural sugar. Perfect in tea or a substitute for refined sugar in baking (check Google for sugar/honey substitute ratio for baking). Honey is high in fructose, so use it in moderation.
Access how much sugar are you currently eating? Does it come from nutrient-void sources or does it make your feel fatigued, grumpy or out of control? Try swapping a piece of fruit when you have a craving for something sweet and experiment with these alternatives in moderation for the next 30 days and notice the changes you feel in body and mind. It can take some time for your taste buds to adjust to the difference between a natural sugar and a refined sugar or unhealthy alternative sweeteners but the health benefits are well worth it, pinky promise.