There are many documented reasons to reduce sugar intake. Some of those reasons include that it inhibits our immune system and makes it more challenging for our body to fight off colds, infections and heal. It increases inflammation, which then makes it even more difficult to deal with an autoimmune disease. It can exacerbates symptoms of certain diseases and can trigger the onset of others.
Sugar is also addictive, it adds empty calories, increases cholesterol, increases blood pressure, as well as increases fat storage.
So what are the alternatives? Thankfully there are many different options that we can include in our baking, cooking and every day foods to not be deprived of the delicious tastes of sweetness! Here are just a few good options for you to try out.
HONEY: Honey is made by honeybees from plant nectar. Unheated and unfiltered raw honey is cloudy and contains healthful propolis and pollen. Although it is a simple sugar, less is needed because it’s sweeter than white sugar. Honey is a very versatile sweetener and is excellent in baking. It should not be given to children younger than two.
MAPLE SYRUP: Maple syrup is the boiled sap of sugar maple trees. Grade A is light and from early sap runs. Grade B is from later runs and has a stronger flavor. Organic is best to avoid residues of chemicals often used in the tapping process. Crystallized maple syrup is available as a sprinkle. Refrigerate to inhibit mold.
MOLASSES: Molasses is a by-product of refining sugar cane. Blackstrap is slightly sweet, comes from the final press of sugar cane and is a source of iron and calcium. “Unsulphured molasses” indicates no sulphur dioxide was used in extraction or as a preservative.
STEVIA: Stevia is derived from a perennial shrub with leaves 30-times sweeter than sugar. It has no calories and may be useful for people with diabetes, hypoglycemia or candida. Available in powdered, liquid, concentrate, tea or tablet form.
Looking for a way to reduce that craving for sweet, altogether? Increase dark leafy greens (or sometimes even a green apple will do the trick) and increase healthy nurturing fats (nuts, seeds, avocados, for example). The fats will keep you satiated, help reduce the craving and the greens will provide much needed nourishment that is often depleted when we eat sugar.