Sugars have gotten a bad rap recently — and with very good reason. Processed /refined sugars directly contribute to the development of Type 2 Diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, excess belly fat, exhaustion, acne, migraines, PMS, and more! In fact, researchers recently discovered that our brains respond to sugar the same way they respond to cocaine! And I think we can all agree that cocaine isn’t exactly part of a balanced diet!
Synthetic sugars, or sugar replacements, look awfully appealing in those pretty little pink, blue, yellow, and green packets, but they really aren’t much better. These sugars, found in diet drinks and other sugar-free items, trick your body into thinking you’ve had sugar…which just makes your body crave MORE sugar, and starts you down a never-ending eating and drinking spiral. In addition, the chemicals used to create the sweet taste are potential carcinogens… not so sweet anymore, eh?
An easy way to think about sugar is to ponder where it was made –- if it took a laboratory to create it, then it will take a laboratory to digest it… and our bodies just aren’t designed for that.
Don’t worry, not all is lost! Before you think you are banished from eating anything sweet ever again, let me introduce you to a whole new world of natural sugars to delight your taste buds… in moderation, of course!
- Fruit: Fruits are filled with natural, delicious goodness, and can be found in abundance during the summer season. Enjoy them raw, throw them on the grill, add them to a smoothie, or purée and freeze them into a popsicle. The possibilities
- Dates: Believe it or not, dates can replace sugars in recipes, and can provide not only sweetness, but also a major dose of nutrition. One bite of Deliciously Ella’s Caramel Chocolate Slices will have you rethinking the potential of dates!
- Coconut Sugar: This extremely versatile sugar is a 1:1 replacement for processed sugar and it has a delightful flavor, with a hint of caramel. The best news of all is coconut sugar has a low glycemic index, which is good news for your blood sugar. Check out this month’s Cooling Watermelon Slushie or Against All Grain’s Real Deal Chocolate Chip.
- Stevia: Found in powder or liquid form, stevia is about 40 times as sweet as table sugar…so a little goes a very long way! Be sure to purchase pure, organic stevia as most of the commercial products are actually blends of stevia and table sugar. Stevia can have a bit of an aftertaste, so it is best blended into baked goods, like Chocolate Covered Katie’s Unbelievable Melty Gooey Brownies.
Organic maple syrup, raw honey, applesauce, sweet potato purée, and bananas are also great ways to add a little deliciousness to your life. The possibilities are endless to enjoy the sweetness of summer… which one will you try first?