FRIA’S INGREDIENTS: Alternatives to sugar

Sugar is one of worst ingredients in the modern diet. We all know it. But do you know why?

Well, sources say:

Sugar contains absolutely no essential nutrients | It isn’t as fulfilling as natural sugars and this can mean an increased calorie intake | Besides eating more, sugar overloads the liver so it’s turned into fat | Bad fats lead to inflammation, heart disease and metabolic problems | Sugar can also cause insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes | Scarier still, insulin resistance and metabolic complications can lead to cancer | It’s highly, highly addictive – it causes massive dopamine releases in the reward centre of the brain | It is extremely bad for your teeth!

And, have you noticed how sugar is in almost EVERYTHING we eat?

I mean, THE VERY BEST THING you can do for your body is to cut sugar out of your diet. Period.

But, how do you get sugar out of your system? And how do you replace it in your diet?

  • Stop Buying Processed Foods. This might mean that you need to learn to read labels… and I mean learn, because when you start reading labels you’ll find lots of ingredients listed with technical names that are either sugar in disguise, just as bad as sugar or are non-nutritive sweeteners that you may as well steer clear of. There are just far too many to list here.
  • Choose wholefoods, vegetables and fruits instead of quick-and-easy sugary snacks
  • Eat a good, healthy breakfast to start your day off right
  • Eat more good fat (like avocado and coconut oil) and proteins, and fewer carbs. “Complex” carbohydrates are sugars in camouflage
  • Take a good-quality multivitamin
  • Move your body
  • Get enough sleep
  • And if you’re a real sugar junkie, give yourself a “cut-down quota” or keep sugary snacks out of your space altogether. You can’t snack on things that aren’t there!

[Source: The PaleoHacks Blog]

NEVER FEAR, FRIA IS HERE… these are two of the healthier alternatives that I use in my everyday cooking and Superfoods treats:

DATES

Dates contain three essential nutrients that support a healthy heart (magnesium, potassium and vitamin B), they’re fat-free and they won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. They provide roughage, which prevents constipation, and they’re rich in minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, copper and manganese, which are great for your stomach, bones and blood. Overall, their natural sugar constitution makes them an energetic food that helps us move and boosts our metabolism.

I love dates – I find them so versatile! And for my treats I wanted to use a sweet natural wholefood that most people enjoy. The date caramel I make for most of my products literally consists of almost just dates (with vanilla and Himalayan salt added too)!

XYLITOL

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol with a sweetness similar to sugar. It contains 40% fewer calories than sugar and zero fructose, so it doesn’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels.

On the contrary, xylitol is associated with multiple health benefits – it can actually improve dental health and increases your body’s absorption of calcium.

I use xylitol because it is a carb/fat-free sugar alternative and you can substitute it spoon-for-spoon for sugar. The only negative is that if you eat too much of it, it can give you a runny tummy… yet another reason to cut down on the sweet stuff, I’d say!

You can also use:

Bananas – are an excellent source of potassium and fibre and they’re scientifically proven to control high blood pressure eaten in the right dose. The great thing about bananas is that they can be substituted like-for-like with sugar in your recipes.  I’ve found that with my Banoclate cake using bananas gives the treat a lovely sweetness!

Dark chocolate – if your sugar addiction comes in the form of a chocolate habit, switch to dark chocolate. It’s better for you and you probably won’t be able to eat an entire bar like you can sugary milk chocolate.

Erythritol – contains only 6% of the calories of regular sugar and tastes almost the same, so it’s an easier swap. Also, our bodies don’t have the enzymes to break it down, so it’s basically absorbed and excreted unchanged. Plus, it doesn’t raise blood sugar, insulin or cholesterol levels.

Pure honey – contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, and an abundance of antioxidants. High levels of antioxidants in the blood are linked to a lower risk of disease.

Stevia – is a natural plant-based sweetener. It contains zero calories and is linked to health benefits such as lowering high blood pressure, blood sugar and insulin levels. A little goes a long way though and adding too much Stevia can ruin the taste of your food.

Here’s a sweet recipe of mine using fruit and healthy sugar alternatives:

Cinnamon Appleberry oats

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