A plan for weaning off sugar
Some of us love to indulge in tempting sweet snacks. Sometimes that happens as soon as we get out of bed, but most often it is after a hearty meal, in the afternoon or at the worst time of the day – in the evening. We all have that tempting ‘candy drawer’. If you want to lower your sugar intake or completely wean yourself off sweets, there are a few simple steps on how to do it as easily as possible.
Shocking fact: the average person consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. Although sugar has never been considered healthy, new evidence suggests that consuming sugar can do us even more harm than we originally thought. Sugar can be a trigger for diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Many people consume so much sugar a day without even realizing it. Sugar is not just what is packaged on store shelves as sugar. Unfortunately, there is a lot of sugar “hidden” in several products you can find at the store. These are ready-made products full of sugar.
Pay special attention to:
- Salad dressings
- Spice blends
- Spreads etc.
Sugar is used as a preservative, as it prolongs the shelf life, improves the taste and visual representation. It is present in jams, fruit cottage cheese, fruit yoghurt, in various canned foods (e.g. corn, beans), pickles, mayonnaise, in instant teas, in pre-prepared baking mixes, hot dogs, alcohol, etc. Carbonated drinks, nectars, iced tea and fruit cocktails also contain a lot of sugar.
If you suddenly crave something sweet, you can do the following:
- Drink a glass of water. Some people say that cravings for sweets can occur due to dehydration. You can add lemon to the water.
- Eat fruit. Fruit can help you stop craving something sweet (bananas, apples, oranges).
Avoid processed carbs. They make blood sugar fluctuate, and so we quickly start wanting a sweet snack.
- Consume herbs and spices. These reduce cravings for sweets (nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon).
Use healthy sugar substitutes: coconut sugar, erythritol, mesquite or locust bean, xylitol, yacon syrup, etc.
- Never go food shopping hungry, because it is proven you will buy more processed and unhealthy foods.
- Read food labels. Before buying a product, look at the label that states how much sugar the product contains. Sugar is also hidden under other names, which usually end with”-ose”; fructose, sucrose, galactose, maltose, lactose.
Healthy white sugar substitutes
Erythritol is a calorie-free sweetener. It has a low glycemic index and has very little effect on the rise in blood sugar, so it’s great for diabetics and anyone who lives a healthy lifestyle. It looks very similar to sugar, in the form of small crystals. Erythritol is only 30% less sweet than sugar and is also the closest to sugar in taste.
Coconut palm sugar or coconut sugar is completely natural and unrefined. It is obtained from flowers that grow high on coconut palms, which are then opened and the liquid nectar is obtained. This nectar is then air-dried to crystallize into sugar that is naturally brown in colour. Coconut sugar has a delicate caramel taste, so it is a great alternative to regular sugar.
Mesquite or locust bean
Mesquite powder is a natural sweetener from the type of locust bean and is popular for its pleasant caramel flavour. Because it tastes delicious and sweet, you can use it in many dessert recipes.
Yacon syrup and Yacon powder
Yacon is a root that has for centuries been cultivated by Peruvian farmers in the Andes. It tastes similar to caramel and honey, but the locals call it the apple of the earth.
Xylitol or birch sweetener
Birch sweetener contains only half the calories of regular sugar! 100g of xylitol is 250 kcal. Xylitol causes a smaller increase in blood glucose levels compared to regular white sugar.
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