Let’s face it, many people across the United States are addicted to sugar. It can enhance the flavor of just about anything we eat or drink, and it’s so easy to access. However, if you’re trying to lose weight, get in shape, or generally, stay healthy, you’re going to have to find a way to kick the habit and start eating better foods.
Sugar has been known to contribute to the development of conditions like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Although you may not be able to take back the sugar you’ve already consumed, your best course of action is to take control of you future and change your diet for the better. As we’re sure you’re aware, this isn’t easy. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at several sugar alternatives to help you get off the sugar train.
The first step in removing added sugar from your diet is to pinpoint what exactly is wrong with sugar. The first thing you should know is that there’s nothing good about it. It provides you with no essential nutrients, so eliminating it from your diet won’t have any negative side-effects. Essential fats, vitamins, minerals, and protein are not found in it. What it does contain is pretty bad for you: Sugar is known to cause people to increase their caloric intake due to the body’s ability to regulate hunger. This means you’ll be more prone to weight gain. On top of that, it can mess with your body’s metabolism leading to increased fat storage and insulin.
Above all else, sugar is extremely addictive. It causes dopamine to release in the brain which is the same chemical that is released when someone does drugs. Take a look at these sugar alternatives to avoid ever going down the path of addiction.
According to Healthline, studies have shown that, although Xylitol looks and tastes like sugar, it actually doesn’t raise blood sugar levels and it has fewer calories. It’s also shown to improve oral health because it doesn’t erode enamel as quickly as sugar would. Xylitol is what’s called a sugar alcohol or polyalcohol. They can be found naturally in certain foods like fruits and vegetables, but others are man-made and added to low-calorie foods as a sweetener.
This type of sugar alcohol contains even fewer calories than xylitol. Erythritol tastes similar to both xylitol and real sugar making it another great sweetener. Although higher doses of erythritol have shown to cause digestive issues, small doses show no side-effects.
A natural sweetener, stevia has no known adverse health effects. It’s derived from a shrub called Stevia Rebaudiana found across South America. Not only does it not show signs of harming the body, but it has been found it be beneficial to your health in several ways. It has been shown to lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and insulin levels in the body which could play a significant role in preventing diabetes. Unlike sugar which will contribute to the development of diabetes.
Also extracted from a South American plant, yacon syrup has a dark, thick consistency but tastes sweet. Yacon syrup contains around 40 to 50 percent fructooligosaccharides, a type of sugar that cannot be digested by the body. This brings the calorie count of yacon syrup down to around one-third of sugar. It is also shown to reduce hunger.
All of the sugar alternatives listed above are considered to be healthy alternatives to sugar. However, there are also some sweeteners that are less bad than regular sugar, but you may want to avoid like sugar.
Many people use honey as a sugar alternative believing that it is a lot healthier. Although honey still has negative effects on blood sugar levels and metabolism, it also has many benefits that sugar doesn’t have. Studies have found that honey can increase good HDL cholesterol while reducing bad LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides in people with diabetes. Even though honey has slightly less harmful effects on your blood sugar levels and metabolism, it’s not enough to make it a “healthy alternative” to sugar.
High in fructose, coconut sugar is pretty similar to table sugar and should be avoided. However, unlike regular sugar, it does contain some nutrients like calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and some antioxidants. It contains about the same amount of calories as regular sugar and is significantly more costly. You’d be better off choosing another sugar alternative.
As you can see, there are a lot of sugar alternatives out there. However, not all of them are good. Although you’ll honey contains some added benefits that sugar doesn’t have, it still contributes to the same problems: high blood sugar levels and a poor metabolism. It’s best to opt for xylitol, erythritol, or stevia if you want a healthy alternative to sugar.
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