As a Nation who is addicted to sugar, cutting it out of our diets can seem extremely difficult and bland. What’s life without a little sweetness?
Gurus and health professionals plead with us to cut out sugar, warning us of all the problems that accompany too much sugar consumption.
They are correct. Too much sugar is definitely a bad thing.
However, trying to cut out all sugar all at once is a huge mistake. Not only is it not realistic, it’s only going to make our cravings worse and as a result we’ll lose the battle.
A better way to eat less sugar is to swap it out for something better.
I’ll get to the best sugar swaps in a minute, but first we need to clarify a common misconception about sugar.
Natural Sugar vs Refined Sugar: Is There A Difference?
The sugar you get from eating an apple is different from the sugar you get from drinking a glass of apple juice.
Why? If the sugar both comes from apples, shouldn’t it be the same?
Even if the sugar content was exactly the same for the apple and the apple juice, your body would respond differently to each.
The apple contains fiber which would slow digestion and produce a smaller spike in blood sugar. The apple juice however, contains no fiber and would result in a larger increase in blood sugar.
This is example is to show you that you don’t have to be afraid of all forms of sugar.
Technically fruit is a form of sugar but you wouldn’t want to cut fruit from your diet. That would be a sad life, and you’d miss out on some awesome health benefits.
Processed sugar, the kind found in baked goods and packaged foods is what you want to limit.
The Amount Of Refined Sugar In Your Food Is Shocking
We all know there’s processed sugar in the cookies we buy and bake, but it’s also hidden in our salad dressings, our condiments, our dairy, and breads.
It often goes unnoticed because it hides under names like…
- High fructose corn syrup
- Corn syrup
- Brown rice syrup
- Corn syrup solids
- Fruit juice concentrate
And several more.
It’s these forms of processed sugar that are damaging to our health.
Healthy Sugar Substitutes
So what’s a girl (or guy) to do?
Never eat cookies, brownies, or bread again? Are you doomed to a sweet-less life?
Of course not!
You can still enjoy your treats, just look for or bake with healthy sugar substitutes.
Some of the best include stevia and raw honey.
Stevia is native to South America and comes from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant. It’s about 200 times sweeter than sugar (a little goes a long way!) and calorie free.
Stevia is a great option for baking and cooking because it comes in granular form, like sugar, or liquid form.
It helps sweeten your treats without raising your blood sugar. However, some can taste a little bitterness in the aftertaste.
Raw honey is one of nature’s best sweeteners. It gives treats a warm sweet taste plus honey is FULL of health benefits.
Honey is high in antioxidants and can actually boost your health, supporting a healthy immune system.
Some studies even show honey can help you lose weight by curbing your appetite when it’s replacing sugar.
Making The Swap
Swapping sugar for stevia or raw honey is easy, here are the basic conversions. These might differ depending on the type of stevia or recipe, but they will give you a good idea to start with.
- 1 c sugar = 1 tsp powdered stevia or 1 tsp liquid drops
- 1 tbsp sugar = 1/4 tsp powdered stevia or 6-9 drops
- 1 tsp sugar = pinch of powdered stevia or 2-4 drops
- 1 c sugar = 3/4 c honey, reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees
- t tbsp sugar = 2 tsp honey, reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees
If you’re not into baking, smart people like you and me are catching on and are creating products made with stevia and raw honey instead of refined sugar.
IdealRaw protein is sweetened with organic stevia, and is a great addition to healthier treats!
You can use IdealRaw as an extra protein source and it adds some sweetness to your baking too. You can make delicious coconut macadamia mini cheesecakes, energy bites, butternut squash brownies and more!