I’ve always had a sweet tooth.
Fruits, ice creams, chocolate, baked goods, special deserts, anything like that would certainly sweet up my day.
Things made with sugar are pretty and meant to be mouth-watering. Not fair!
Eating those sugary things used to give me instant pleasure, however what would come afterwards wasn’t pleasant at all.
Little did I know that my habit of eating heaps of fruits was actually being more harmful than good. I always knew that I could find incredible nutrients and vitamins in fruits, disregarding completely the high amount of fructose that comes with it. (Did you know that fructose raises levels of the hormone grehlin, which keeps us hungry?)
Sugar is like a drug. It’s scientifically proved to be addictive. Every time you have it, later on your body starts craving for more and you end up needing more snacks to feel satisfied.
Then you decide to go on diet.
Many diets out there cut sweets almost completely, mainly focusing on protein and low carb veggies and low fat products. You try it for a while and fail to continue because it proves to be a big sacrifice to stay away from food that you enjoy.
Cutting sweets completely is actually one of the reasons why many people fail to lose weight. It sounds contradictory, right?
What I mean by that is, switching from being a sweet lover to a sweet deprived it’s a tremendous impact.
Finding healthy substitutes for sugar allows you to enjoy sweets without the downside of insulin peak, cravings, and consequently, weight gain.
Since I became sugar-free I’ve dropped weight, I feel lighter instead of bloated and I also became more focused and energised. “How so? Sugar is energy.” It is indeed. Nonetheless, it’s not the best fuel for our body…that’s when I founded out more about the good fats, a perfect substitute for that matter.
SO, It’s time for a sugar detox. What substitutes can I use?
Stevia is a well-known sweetener with very low calories.
It is extracted from the leaves of a plant called Stevia rebaudiana.
There are several sweet compounds found in Stevia leaves, the main ones are Stevioside and Rebaudioside A. Stevia is very sweet, but has virtually no calories.
Studies have shown that Stevia can act lowering blood sugar levels in diabetics and people suffering from high blood pressure.
If you need to sweeten something, Stevia may be a good choice. Some brands will sell stevia blended with other sweetners, so keep your eyes open. Also, some brands might have a not so pleasant taste. It’s a matter of finding the right one.
This is another low-calorie sweetener. It’s a sugar alcohol that is found naturally in certain fruits. Despite the name, sugar alcohols are neither sugar nor alcohol.
It contains 0.24 calories per gram, or about 6% of the calories as sugar, with 70% of the sweetness. Erythritol doesn’t spike blood sugar levels and has no effect on cholesterol or triglycerides. However, like other sugar alcohols, it can cause digestive issues if you consumed in large volume.
Erythritol tastes similar to sugar, which is a bonus.
Xylitol is another sugar alcohol with a sweetness similar to sugar.
It contains 2.4 calories per gram, or about 2/3 of the caloric value of sugar.
Xylitol is linked to benefits for dental health, protecting from cavities and dental decay.
It may also improve bone density, helping to prevent osteoporosis.
Xylitol doesn’t raise insulin levels. However, as mentioned before, it can cause digestive side effects at high doses.
Rice Malt Syrup:
This is another sugar substitute. It’s made by a process that uses enzymes to break down the brown rice starches and then it’s cooked until it turns into a syrup.
It contains glucose, which means it can still spike blood sugar levels. But on the bright side, it doesn’t have fructose.
Rice malt syrup looks like honey, but it’s not as sweet. It can be a replacement for honey and maple syrup in some recipes. Enjoy it in small amounts, every once in a while.
I believe that eating sugar-free sweets is fundamental in order to resist the temptation to go back to sugar products. Even though I appreciate my sweets, I’m still mindful about amounts and frequency. After all, a good diet comes from balancing all elements.
I know that this is not an easy task. If you also have tried sugar detoxing, let me know how it has positively affected your life.
I’d love to hear your experience!