Looking for some sugar substitutes? Does it mean you’ve decided to cut back on sugar?
Oh, good for you!
You probably know that already, but sugar makes you gain weight, changes the chemistry of your brain, can make you feel addicted, spikes your blood sugar levels, disrupts your gut microbiome, and can cause various diseases like cancer and diabetes.
So reducing your sugar intake is one of the best health decisions you can make!
However let me be honest with you: it ain’t a walk in the park.
There’s no magical food that has the great taste of sugar without the bad health implications.
That being said, I do have a few foods that will greatly help you during your sugar sobriety!
And after one or two weeks, things get easier. Your taste buds will start resetting and you won’t remember why you liked sugar so much in the first place!
To help you survive until then, I’ve prepared a little bonus for you at the end of this article.
If you search online for healthy sugar replacements, you’ll probably see words like coconut sugar, raw cane sugar, maple syrup, honey, molasses, rice syrup, fruit jam or agave syrup pop up.
I’m sorry to be a party pooper but… those have the exact same impact on your brain and body as white sugar.
Honey is a tiny bit better because it has some interesting nutritional value,. Plus it raises blood sugar levels more slowly than refined sugar.
However, it still isn’t recommended for people with diabetes and insulin resistance.
Plus, it is more caloric than white sugar and as much of a trigger. Let’s be honest, if you have a little sugar addiction going on, you’ll likely snap and go overboard with honey.
Now, you may think that homemade, unsweetened fruit purees (banana or apple for instance) are good options.
But unfortunately they’re not either. Fruits contain a type of sugar called fructose.
Eating a whole fruit is ok because molecules of fructose are attached to fibers. So they’re digested slowly and don’t impact your blood sugar levels that much.
However when you crush or juice a fruit, molecules of fructose separate from fibers and flood your liver like a tsunami.
Then they turn straight into visceral fat!
So what’s the other logical option? Sweeteners?
Those are even worse than sugar!
Let me tell you why.
Sure they’re low in calorie, but as you can imagine that comes at a cost.
They’re pure chemical compounds – there’s literally nothing natural about them. So on top of creating various diseases, they’ll make you gain weight by:
- Messing up your hormone production. This may lead you to feel more hungry, feel full less rapidly and burn calories less efficiently
- Disrupting your gut microbiome which can lead you to store more fat and digest foods less efficiently
- Confusing your brain. Your brain associates sweetness to high-calorie foods, but sweeteners are the only food that’s sweet and low in calories. As a result, sweeteners may confuse your brain and make you crave sugar even more
So whenever you see names like xylitol, dextrose, aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium, neotame, sucralose, run for your life.
There’s one exception though: stevia.
Stevia comes from the leaves of the stevia plant and is thus completely natural. It’s also non-caloric and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels.
However, it has a weird aftertaste that may be a problem for some. Plus many stevia sweeteners on the market actually contain chemical additives, so read nutritional labels!
Healthy Sugar Substitutes
By now, you’re probably scared and confused. Are there no sugar substitutes after all?
I’ve been teasing you enough.
Now is time to give you what you’ve come for. Options that are healthy, low in calories, full of nutrients, and non-addictive.
However there’s a catch.
Those foods don’t actually taste like sugar.
But they’re almost as satisfying! Some of them even have a surprising craving-curbing power.
The following foods will turn any food and beverage into a satisfying treat:
- Unsweetened coconut milk: quite low in calories but packed with healthy fats. They will add a nice texture to almost any beverage and dish, and will keep you full for longer! Coconut milk lattes have become a huge passion of mine…
- Unsweetened coconut yogurt: with its naturally sweet taste, many nutrients and vitamins, coconut yogurt is an awesome option for dessert
- Grated coconut: sprinkle it on any dish for a nice and subtle sweet taste
- Cinnamon: boosts your metabolism, lowers blood sugar levels, curbs your cravings and goes well with literally everything!
- Cardamom or nutmeg: they have numerous health benefits as well, and are perfect to pimp your coffee, tea and oatmeal
- Berries: they’re sweet, low in calories and surprisingly low in carbs, which makes them friendly to all diets!
- Dates: they taste like honey, but have a lot more health benefits and don’t mess up your blood sugar levels! They’re especially a great substitute for sugar in homemade cakes and pastries.
Just note that like anything else, you should consume those with moderation. Otherwise you’ll likely gain weight.
I could have also listed unsalted and unsweetened peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter.
Because they’re naturally sweet and satisfying.
But the problem with those is that they may be as triggering as refined sugar.
Most of us go for a teaspoon and end up finishing the jar…
If it’s not your case though, you can pretty much add them to any dish and cake. Or try blending them with your coffee to add a nutty twist to it.
To put it in a nutshell, there are no sugar substitutes that taste exactly the same and are healthy.
Other sugars are almost as bad, and sweeteners are worse.
If we had to rank them from best to worst it would be:
- Coconut sugar
- Raw cane sugar
- Brown sugar
- Granulated white sugar
However as we’ve seen, there are some natural foods and spices that will turn any dish and beverage into a satisfying treat!
Ultimately, the real solution is to retrain your brain and taste buds to prefer savoury over sweet.
I’ve created a private Facebook group with tips on how to lose weight and quit sugar. Like how to manage cravings, what foods to avoid, etc.
You’re welcome to join us if you think that can help you! Just follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/the90dayreset/