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Good question. We’ve normalized adding sugar and sweeteners to many foods to make them more appealing and tastier here are some to just name a few: beverages, pastries, yogurts, cookies… In many of these cases, the sugar is added in as the food itself doesn’t contain any sugar.
The first thing we’ve got to learn is how to differentiate between different types of sugar. Sometimes labels are adorned with symbols and pictures stating that they’re healthy (imagine words like, “light” and “zero”). On these foods we won’t find the word “refined sugar”, but you can find other names that sugar hides under. Here’s how you can spot this misleading information.
Refined Sugars and Unrefined Sugars: (unrefined sugars contain a very high percentage of sugar, some of them have added in minerals. But in the end, we are eating the same thing: sugar)
- Sugar Cane
- Corn, rice, and malt syrup
- Fructose: Normally we see processed products (jams and juices) containing fructose, but be careful, this isn’t fructose from the actual fruit, but rather artificial fructose obtained by chemically decomposing white sugar. This artificial fructose accumulates in the liver in the form of fat and can be the cause of many problems such as inflammation, fatty liver, cellulite, excess triglycerides…
- Sugar cane crystals
- Florida crystals
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Malt barley
- Date sugar, cane sugar, grape sugar, brown sugar, icing sugar, coconut sugar
- Syrups: agave
- Polyalcohols: Erythritol, Xylitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol…
The dark side of sweeteners
Sweeteners don’t provide our bodies with anything and have been scientifically proven to be harmful.
- Alter the intestinal microbiota: sweeteners cause diarrhea, gas, and poor digestion.
- They increase the feeling of hunger: the brain detects sweet food, but it doesn’t provide us with any energy so the body is forced to compensate for that with other caloric foods. Making sugar responsible for many binges.
- Impaired glucose tolerance: According to Nature magazine, by changing the composition of the intestinal microbiota, the body changes the way it uses glucose, which leads us to the first step towards the development of diabetes.
So, what can I sweeten food with? Healthy sweetners.
Sweetness should be naturally present in the food and accompanied by fiber and micronutrients. My favorite choices to sweeten desserts are ripe banana, baked apple, sweet potato, and persimmon. They are naturally sweet and delicious. 100% healthy sweeteners.
In addition to fresh fruit, it is good to use dried fruit such as dates, raisins, etc. to sweeten desserts, or to add to salads, yogurts, and oatmeal. I recommend that you not abuse these foods as they can be too caloric for those who don’t lead an active lifestyle.
I love cinnamon and vanilla to sweeten drinks. A teaspoon of coconut oil is also a very good idea to accustom your palate.
Chicory Root Fiber
Have you heard of this yet? The root of this plant can be used to balance flavors in a natural way and it’s sugar-free. It also has a lot of beneficial properties: prevents constipation, satiates, protects against free radicals and premature aging, strengthens the immune system, improves digestion, helps to fight fluid retention, detoxifies the body...
My favorite chocolate bars use this special ingredient!
Solution: stop little by little
I recommend giving up both sugar and artificial sweeteners. The only thing these foods do is mask the real taste of food.
They give an excessively sweet touch to everything, and that makes our palate crave more and more. My advice is to stop using sweeteners and re-educate your palate to the flavors of real, natural food. Go for healthy sweeteners, they are delicious!
The good news is that within a few days of giving up sugar, you will start to notice a difference. After 7 days you will see how you are craving it less and less. Try it and let us know in the comments below!
If you haven’t tried our new Nut Spreads yet, they are on sale now they contain some of the healthy sweeteners we just mentioned.