Humans are born with a strong love of sweet tastes. This is one of the reasons so many processed foods from chips to salad dressings, bread and pizza have sugar added to them. It reinforces our cravings, making us want even more! Sugar is highly addictive, activating our brain pathways similar to other addictive substances like drugs and many of us don’t realize how much we’re eating. We crave more and more because sugar triggers the reward system in our brain. Refined sugar is even more highly addictive and causes many health issues and weight gain.
In my Healthy Eating workshops I share 5 healthy alternatives to table sugar and corn syrup you can use to satisfy your sweet tooth. Use these all-natural sugars in moderation and you will reap the health benefits.
1. Raw Honey.
Raw honey has a flavor that satisfies your craving for sweets. Honey is made when bees chew on nectar and break it down into simple sugars. They deposit it into honeycombs and water evaporates out of it. It's loaded with natural enzymes, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Honey is also a natural antiseptic and can be applied to cuts and scrapes. It’s important to note that not all honey is equal and you should avoid labeling tricks. Most honey being sold in the market today is overly processed, heated and filtered, taking all the best health benefits away. Processed honey is clear while raw honey is thicker, often cloudy and has a honey comb or crust on top. Avoid cheap honey especially the ones that come in the little plastic bear jars. Make sure the label says raw honey. A little more expensive, but well worth the cost.
2. 100% real Maple Syrup.
Maple syrup is a healthy, natural product that comes straight from trees. It's made from the boiled sap of maple trees and has lots of healthy nutrients such as calcium, zinc, magnesium and potassium. Maple syrup has a lower glycemic index (this tells your body how fast or slow to raise your blood sugar after eating it) than sugar. It also contains up to 54 different antioxidants.
3. Dates. Some people enjoy using date sugar, which is made from powdered dried/dehydrated dates. Date sugar has all of the dates’ nutritional value, including fiber, calcium, magnesium and potassium. It’s not always easy to find date sugar so to make it even easier, just add chopped or mashed Medjool dates to any food you want to sweeten.
4. Coconut Sugar.
Coconut sugar is made by boiling and dehydrating sap from a coconut palm tree. It tastes a lot like brown sugar, but it has fiber, iron, zinc and antioxidants.
Stevia is a zero-calorie sweetener that is made from a South American plant. It is much sweeter than regular sugar so you need to use it sparingly. The best type is Green Leaf Stevia because it is hardly processed and very pure with no added chemicals. It’s important to mention that Stevia is not metabolized by the body like sugar and has no impact on blood sugar. For this reason, it is a great alternative for diabetics.
So now you know what alternatives there are to satisfy your sweet tooth and won’t derail your health or your weight loss efforts! Please help me spread the word about healthy sweeteners by sharing this article with your family, friends and coworkers. Want to learn more about healthy eating or my stress reduction and mindfulness programs to help you and your family create a healthier, less stressed-out life in 2020, visit PeaceandPear.com