Scientific studies consistently show that sugar has a negative effect on our health and many governments have introduced sugar taxes to combat its adverse health effects. This has created a huge and growing demand for healthy sugar alternatives.
Many people have read health articles about the dangers of eating too much sugar. Certainly, those who want to lose weight have heard their doctor say, “….. And cut out sugar”. But why? Why is sugar so bad for our health and our waistline?
Before we find out about good sugar swaps and what foods are good replacement foods with little or no sugar, let’s find out why it is such a good idea to cut sugar out of your life.
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Here’s everything that’s covered in this report:
- The Real Facts About Sugar
- Diseases Caused By Too Much Sugar
- Products With High Levels Of Hidden Sugars
- Healthy Alternatives To Hidden Sugars
“Which is worse: the sugar or the fat? That was the question posed to Dr. Robert Lustig, leading crusader against the dangers of sugar and pediatric-endocrinologist. His answer: “The sugar, a thousand times over”.
The real facts about sugar
A lot of people will always think fats are what make their waistlines wider or the reason for their heart disease and other medical problems. And yes, there are fats, trans-fats, to be exact, that can certainly cause you to have a hard attack. But did you know that sugar is just as much to blame for these medical problems?
In 2016, researchers unearthed a huge scandal around sugar (read all about it here) where researchers at Harvard back in the 1960s were paid to actually tone down greatly the effects of sugar on people’s health, encouraging them to rather turn their focus on fats as being responsible for heart disease.
This so-called ‘research’ came to the conclusion that in order to prevent coronary heart disease, one had to just eat less cholesterol and to choose to eat polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated fats. Today, we know this is totally untrue. 2014 researchers have shown scientific evidence proving that consuming too much sugar could increase your risks of cardiovascular disease.
It proves that ingesting 17-21% calories of added sugar, you face a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who ingest 7% of calories from their sugar. In the US today, adults are consuming around 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, way over the American Heart Association’s recommendations, who recommend that:
- Most women should consume no more than 6 tsp. or 100-calories a day of sugar
- Most men should consume no more than 9 tsp. or 150 calories a day of sugar
Diseases that too much sugar in your dietary life can cause
- Fatty liver disease
- Leaky Gut
- Other metabolic diseases
- High blood pressure
- And worse, Alzheimer’s or dementia
The thing is, added sugar in your diet can fall under a lot of different names when you look at their ingredient labels on food purchased. It is almost impossible to actually tell the percentages of sugar that is derived natural or added sources, and better labeling is seriously being considered today.
Somewhere later this year, it is expected that we will see labels that say “added sugar” on the nutritional facts labels of the food you buy. So what are added sugars, you ask.
They are syrups and sugars included in beverages or foods during their process or preparation period. Added sugars don’t include those naturally occurring sugars such as you will find in fruits and natural milk.
If you are wondering about how much sugar is in your foods, look at that labeling and take note of the ingredients that end with “ose” – those are typically the sugar ones. Don’t be fooled either by the labeling that has “natural” written all over it.
Some manufacturers will label their foods with things like “cane juice as added sweetener” or words like ‘fruit juices’, or ‘molasses’, or ‘beet sugar’. These are all types of sugars too.
Then you also need to take notice of the line-up on the ingredients list as well, because the higher up the ingredient on the list, the more it is included in whatever food is inside. Look at these names on food labels signifying there are added sugars in your foods:
- Anhydrous dextrose
- Confectioner’s powdered sugar
- Brown sugar
- Corn syrup and corn syrup solids
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Malt syrup
- Invert sugar
- Fruit Nectar’s
- Pancake syrups
- Raw sugar
- White granulated sugar and other sugars There are other names too, such as cane juice, crystal dextrose, liquid fructose, fruit nectar, sugar cane juice, evaporated corn sweetener, etc.; names that aren’t recognized by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as ingredient names. This administration is responsible to protect the public’s health.
They do this by ensuring the safety, security, and efficacy of human as well as veterinary drugs, medical devices, and biological products.
Added sugars are such a problem to industrialized nations today as well as the less developed ones, simply because sugar is so cheap to produce.
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What products have a lot of sugars hiding in them?
The top ones are:
- Soft drinks
- Energy and sports drinks
- Candies, desserts, and snakes like pies and cakes, doughnuts, pastries
- Sweetened fruit drinks and teas, like fruit punches and iced teas
- Dairy products like yogurts and ice cream
It might seem obvious to you that these are the typical sources of where you could expect to find sugar, but believe it; they are far from the only foods today responsible for the huge sugar consumption in the world.
You will find extra sugar added to heaps upon heaps, in fact, thousands of foods and beverages in your local grocery store. These include organic and natural foods that you will find even in health shops.
Research suggests it is a combination of non-alcoholic but sugary beverages like fruit juices and soft drinks and also sweet bakery products that are also so tempting is where you will find your biggest percentage of sugars hiding.
These are your top 10 so-called “health foods” that have heaps of sugars packed into them that you might not have known about:
- Your health cereals, such as oats
- Even ‘whole grain” bread, but all packaged bread
- “Healthy” granola type bars
- “Health” drinks, coffees, blended teas juices and teas
- What about those “healthy” meal replacement drinks and protein bars? – yes, them too
- Sweetened dairy products like flavored and frozen yogurts or flavored kefir
- Frozen pancakes and waffles
- Sauces, dressings, and condiments like bottled tomato sauces, relishes, ketchup, for example)
- Dried fruit and fruit bars, etc.
- Foods you eat at the restaurants, like in the sauces and variety of desserts and flavors
Another thing is that sugar is kind of confusing for many people because when all is said and done, not all sugar is actually so bad because not all sugars are created equal.
It’s the added sugars that are the real problem, not the sugars that are naturally available in things such as fresh fruits and vegetables and natural dairy products. Studies show that those people who eat fresh fruits and vegetables actually protect themselves against diseases that can occur when added sugars are included in foods.
Added sugars have been proven to lead to changes in your digestive system, messing up your gut health and causing your inflammation levels to soar.
And what about obesity?
We have already reached epidemic proportions in this area!
Right, we think you’ve got the picture about sugar and how bad it is for your help. It’s time to start to see what you can do about it, immediately.
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Probably the next question you will be asking is “How to add healthier alternatives to all these hidden sugars?”
- Start to use (in moderation) natural sweeteners like coconut sugar, natural honey, stevia, and maple syrup
- Try and not give in to your sugar habit – rather eat more healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds and avocado
- Keep tabs on your sugar, especially at breakfast time when waffles, pancakes, granola bars, cereals, fruit juices, dairy products with added sugars, coffee and teas come out
- What snacks are you eating? Remember that roasted flavored nuts, sweetened yogurts, and “healthy” protein bars do actually contain a lot of sugar – concentrate on delicious boiled eggs, fresh fruits or fruit juices made with fresh fruit only
- Try and stay away from downing your calories in the form of drinks that contain so many added sugars – stick with drinks like water, club soda, green tea, kombucha, herbal teas, etc.
- Eat and drink your own homemade sauces and salad dressings, using natural ingredients like olive oil and lemon juice, etc.
Think about these substitutes as well when it comes to sugar elimination
Most of us love ice cream, but our bodies don’t love it. Try substituting your ice cream with the vegan ice-cream (you will love it!) and there are so many varying recipes, you don’t get tired of it.
So easy and healthy, and this recipe is for pancakes that are sugar-free.
Simply delicious pudding – try it! It’s chia seeds that have been soaked in almond milk.
Some cookie dough recipes that will intrigue you no end are without sugar. You will love reading about substitutes and how to cut out sugar here.
For chocolate addicts, how do avocado, dark chocolate and cocoa sound to you?
Water naturally is the healthiest drink to drink, but sometimes if you are used to drinking plenty of soda, it might be difficult to switch over easily. But that’s where kombucha comes in and Dr. Axe explains why drinking kombucha is so good for you.
Can you see how important it is to let sugar go?
Sugar is pervading our food supplies and it’s this sugar that is actually causing physical damage to our bodies and compromising the absorption of those much- needed vitamins and minerals in our body that we so desperately need.
Put it like this: If you take one just one ingredient that you need to kick out of your life forever, it would be sugar.
One does, however, need to understand that our bodies do require a certain amount of sugar. It’s natural that we do hunger for sugar – in fact, our bodies are already turning the food that we do eat into the sugars that it does require. Nobody is advocating going without any sugar for the rest of our lives – Nature has provided us with outstanding sources of natural nutrients that do contain sugar; natural sugar.
Look at fruits, dates, and those delicious sweet vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and carrots. When you deprive your bodies of these natural foods, you could be causing an imbalance in another direction; so these types of sugars are needed by the body but in moderation.
Sugar into your body has to be regulated by none other than yourself
One needs to, in a healthy way, intentionally regulate the amount of sugar you eat in your diet, retraining it to no longer crave it. You need to understand where the sugar is lurking so that you can intentionally include it when so desired. We have to be so careful with fructose just being added in our foods today, being added liberally to all foods because of its cheapness and the abundant supply of sugar.
Because of this, today, we have a huge overload. Just look around at so many obese people walking around with belly fat, to realize just how quickly fructose is quickly converted into serious fat.
We have a health disaster on our hands today and it’s because fructose is being used as an additive to thousands of food types that you see on the supermarket shelves today.
And now we have come full circle, to where we are becoming ill because of so much sugar in our diets, the prelude to all the above health problems and diseases.
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In conclusion, break up with sugar – today!
And start including these true sugar alternatives into your life:
Stevia: Homemade stevia, be careful of some the commercial types, they often have additives and can be bitter. Go organic with one that is full of flavor and sweetness.
Coconut meat, coconut water, and coconut cream: Enjoy this as a snack. You can also puree it into a spread or enjoy eating dried coconut flakes with natural sugar. Coconut water is very hydrating and full of natural sweetness so it works excellently when you want to make smoothies or just drinking it straight. Coconut cream is a superb as a base for your soups and frostings, etc.
Herbs and spices: Fresh or dried mint leaves make a tasteful spread when ground up. Or use it in your coffee. Lavender is lovely in yogurt or your tea, and spices like cinnamon add heaps of flavors to all kinds of recipes. Other fantastic spices to use are cardamom, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg.
Look at the health value of these sugar swaps and their conversions to make it easy for you:
- Conversion: 1 cup of sugar – replace with ¾ cup maple syrup.
- Glycemic Index: 54
- Contains some antioxidants and trace minerals.
- Conversion: 1 cup of sugar – replace with ½- 2/3 cup raw honey.
- Glycemic Index: 25-50
- Contains: unrefined raw honey comes full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Promotes healing of wounds, neutralizes free radicals, providing for healthy gut bacteria.
- Conversion: 1 cup of sugar – replace with 1 teaspoon only of stevia (powdered).
- Glycemic Index: 0
- Has properties that lower blood pressure and also blood sugar. Aids in preventing heart disease. Acts like an anti-inflammatory in the body.
- Conversion: 1 cup of sugar – replace with 1 cup of coconut sugar.
- Glycemic Index: 35
- Contains more vitamins and minerals than white sugar will ever hope to have. Helps in stabilizing the blood sugar and prevents that ‘sugar rush” that can occur when you eat too much white sugar. Coconut sugar is fantastic in recipes when you are looking for a replacement for brown sugar.
- Conversion: 1 cup of sugar – replace with 1 cup of date paste.
- Glycemic Index: 42
- Contains heaps of healthful fiber, magnesium, and potassium. Aids in promoting heart health, excellent for digestion and promotes a healthy pregnancy. The date goes back to Biblical times – full of goodness. How to make date paste? You simply take some hot water over the dates to soften and then puree them. Delicious!
- Conversion: 1 cup of sugar – replace with 1 cup pureed bananas.
- Glycemic Index: 62
- Contains: packed with vitamin B6, manganese, potassium, vitamin C, dietary fiber, copper and biotin, bananas have plenty of sweetness in them, making them an excellent sugar substitute. All you need to is to puree ripe bananas with a bit of water to aid you with blood sugar, digestion, and weight control.
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Got the message why you need to ditch sugar?
First of all, your body is going to thank you for showing you quite a few improvements which you are going to notice over time:
- Healthier teeth because sugar residue acts like an acid, nibbling slowly away at your teeth
- Lowers the sugar levels because high sugar levels can lead to brain aging, which as we said earlier could be the prelude to dementia
- The pancreas is the organ which secretes insulin – responsible for controlling your blood sugar. Too much sugar overburdens your poor pancreas which will struggle to produce that needed insulin and if it can’t it could just burn out – that’s how diabetes starts.
- Thrush disappears: yes, too much sugar can produce yeast infections in your body in bouts, like thrush and as soon as sugar is held back, it has been known to improve
- Liver healing: Experts say that abusing sugar is the same as abusing alcohol when it comes to liver health.
- Stay younger longer: Yes, when sugar presents itself in your skin, it tends to form a cross-link with the amino acids that are now damaged by free radicals. The cross-links inhibit repair of your skin, leaving it to age prematurely. Ouch!
- Your body stores less fat, as mentioned above
- Your heart will thank you too: sugar-filled diets can and does increase the risks of heart disease – and you might not even be overweight. Sugar affects how your heart pumps.
- Digestion is improved. Ever heard your stomach gurgling, you have wind and even diarrhea. This is your gut dealing with all that processed food, causing, if you have IBS, to deteriorate
- More active and alert: Because sugar blocks your brain cells from being alert and sapping your energy it explains why people who eat heavy carb meals feel the urge to take a nap. It’s because this type of eating of the wrong foods quickly gets broken down into sugar in your body.
Time to get smart and start minimizing sugar today, your body and mind will thank you!