The Best Non-Sugar Sweetener Your Body Needs
Sugar! Imagine eating 170 pounds of sugar in a year. That would come to about half a pound in a day. And that’s the equivalent of around 50 teaspoons daily. You’re probably telling yourself that you couldn’t possibly be consuming THAT much sugar in such a short period. But according to the USDA, that’s pretty much what Americans are having in a given year.
One serving of your typical soda has eight teaspoons. And if someone’s chugging down 5-6 of these in a day, they’re close to the 50-teaspoon mark! And that’s not counting “low-fat” food like yogurt, muffins and mayonnaise……those “healthy” energy bars and dried fruit snacks……or your favorite pasta sauces and skim lattes. Most stores and grocery aisles are CRAWLING with them. And chances are you’re eating a good handful of these on most days. That half-a-pound statistic doesn’t seem so crazy now, does it?
The Sweet Trap of Sugar
- As you already know, excessive sugar consumption is detrimental to your health. But what makes it so destructive to your body? Well, it starts with insulin. You’ve heard people mention this hormone when they talk about conditions like diabetes.
- When you eat anything with sugar, it goes into your bloodstream. This in turn then spurs the pancreas, your insulin-making organ, into action.
- Insulin then gets busy by moving nutrients into your cells to store energy for later use. Insulin also works to get it OUT of your bloodstream and bring down your blood sugar levels to normal.
- Some sugar stays in your blood, while insulin transports the rest into your muscles and liver.
Got all that?
In a healthy individual, this should be a balanced process that keeps them nice and fueled throughout the day. For people who eat too much sugar however, things get off-track in a bad way. If your system is already loaded with all that glucose (like in the muscles, liver, and cells), the excess amount they consume has nowhere to go.This is the point where your body is forced to turn that sugar into saturated fats, which is NOT a good thing.
What’s worse, you’ll also end up creating something called triglycerides in your system which compounds the problem. After putting yourself through this abuse, your metabolism will “remember” sugar as your choice of fuel.
Breaking the habit
Switching over to a sugar-free life (or one with WAY LESS sugar at the very least) isn’t fun and games.You know too much is bad for you, but your body just can’t quit it. To untangle yourself from the tentacles of the sugar trap, you’ll need to unlearn those poor eating habits.And part of that is looking for a healthier replacement for industrial-grade sugar. To reduce your dependence, here are some substitutes worth looking into:
#1: Raw Honey
Humans have been consuming this since the dawn of time – including tribal groups who don’t have obesity or diabetes.While raw honey is a natural food source, it’s important to note that it’s still almost half fructose (which is what makes processed food sweet), along with carbs and calories.So while it’s not as bad as refined sugar, it’s best to use this sparingly.
#2: Organic Maple Syrup
It’s safe to say you shouldn’t bother with the likes of Aunt Jemima Syrup which has obesity-causing High Fructose Corn Syrup.Maple syrup, in its organic form, has antioxidants and even zinc.Being way less processed than its industrially-produced equivalents, this old-school sweetener is a better choice.
This is another zero-calorie sweetener that’s been around for hundreds of years. Its derived from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, and it’s hundreds of times sweeter than conventional sugar.However, look for the organic brand of stevia powder (which is raw green as opposed to grocery store white). This is to make sure you won’t get one that’s processed or filled with additives that can cause gas or make you feel bloated.It’s best consumed in its raw form, which is stevia leaves.
#4: Chicory Root Sweetener
This might not be readily available in some parts of the world, but it is worth mentioning.The great thing about chicory root is that it also doesn’t have calories or carbohydrates.Better yet, it won’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike or trigger high insulin production.Some brands offer varieties that can be directly used on your favorite foods or for baking. It even has probiotic properties which are good for your gut health.
#5: Sugar Alcohols
A little warning before you try them: not all are good for you, so tread lightly. First off, you’ll want to avoid sorbitol, isomalt, mannitol, and maltitol. They won’t help you break your addiction to sugar because they still have fructose. They have ingredients that will either stay in your gut or give you a bad case of gas.Instead, stick to erythritol and xylitol. Erythritol only has 0.24 calories in each gram and is safe as far as your blood sugar levels are concerned.It’s not necessarily beneficial otherwise, but at least it passes through your system without doing much else.Xylitol, on the other hand, has about 2 calories for each gram and benefits your teeth and gums. And like erythritol, it won’t wreak havoc on your sugar or insulin levels either.
#6: Coconut Sugar
This one’s got a load of nutrients such as polyphenols, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium. It also has antioxidants that reverse cell damage from oxidative stress.You get the sugar from the sap taken from coconut blooms. This is then evaporated into its crystallized form.You also get the short fatty acids which are good for the brain (also found in coconut oil), and there’s blood sugar friendly inulin fiber as well.
#7: Monk Fruit
As the name suggests, this originated from the Far East where a group of monks first used this natural sweetener. It doesn’t have any calories or carbohydrates, and no regular sugar either.Taken from the fruit pulp itself, monk fruit sweetener has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.However, some brands add extra ingredients that reduce its healthy qualities. So, choose the purest and least processed version of this sweetener.
While these sweeteners are healthy alternatives to refined sugar or table sugar, you shouldn’t start slathering your foods with them. At the heart of it, they still contain sugar, even with the extra benefits. And like what we just talked about, it’s NEVER a good idea to burden your bloodstream with too much sugar.
Moderation is key, so apply a little restraint while keeping your sweet tooth happy. And I’d also like to point out that people living with certain health conditions like Type 2 diabetes shouldn’t be having them so much – or at all.
Consuming sugar – even the healthier kind – should always be on a case-to-case basis. Always consult with your doctor if you have any conditions or if you’re trying to lose weight. There are far worse consequences to eating processed sugary snacks that you need to know about.
Is it healthy to eat less?
A lot of people think that it’s healthy to eat less, exercise more and help themselves to those “healthy” low-fat foods. The truth is that it’s this kind of thinking (which is shaped by major food companies) that are KILLING more and more people every year.There’s something rotten going on here, and this cutting-edge documentary series shows you how deep it goes: