Welcome to Part 2! On my last post I described my suggestions for how to begin reducing sugar. See the full post for details but, to recap: we want to avoid added sources of sugar and ideally try a week without any added sweeteners. Whether or not you have yet tried a sugar detox, this post might be helpful. Whole foods are the best and ideal alternative to added-sugar foods that allow us to intake sugar in a balanced manner.
Before we get into today’s post, I will say it is important to recognize that sugar is a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates can come from simple sources, like a teaspoon of white table sugar, or a complex source, like an apple. Complex carbs are the better option and can be found in whole foods. Typical sources of whole food complex carbs are: fruit, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Although there are some natural sugars inherent in all complex carbs, we won’t feel the sharp rise and fall in our energy from whole food sugars as much as we would with simple carbohydrates.
Why do whole food carbohydrates react differently in our bodies than refined or simple carbohydrates? It all comes down to nutrition. An apple, for example, has slower-digesting carbs, minuscule amounts of protein and fat, but also fiber which plain sugar on its own simply does not have. Together, the nutrients found in a whole food, like the apple, help slow the absorption of the natural sugars in our bodies.
The take away point here is to choose whole foods over straight-up sugar.
Maybe you tried a sugar detox already but you’re wondering how well you can maintain the no sugar lifestyle. You might be thinking: okay, I want to reduce my sugar intake but eating an apple is NOT as satisfying as a slice of chocolate chip banana bread. I hear ya! We will feel the cravings for sugar most when we do not eat the previously mentioned, whole foods and slow-digesting complex carbohydrates.
Consequently, the key is to banish those sugar desires is to increase the satiating aspect of food. More than likely, the nutrient to increase is fat. Sugar is what contributes to cravings for unhealthier treats and quick carbs but, fat keeps us satiated. Most importantly, fat isn’t going to make you fat. 🙂 I digress.
Here are some of my favorite ways easy ways to swap out sugar from the food I already make:
- In homemade salad dressing, simply omit the sweetener. If desired, chop up a little bit of fruit to accent the salad you are eating.
- Balance out homemade sauces and dressings by adding a bit more olive oil or acid like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to add more zing! This way the sauce will still be super flavorful but you won’t miss even miss the sweetness!
- Substitute date paste for maple syrup or honey in baked goods. Minimalist Baker has a great date caramel tutorial and I’ve had success substituting it in muffins, loaves, and other baked goods.
- Instead of drizzling honey on your banana toast, how about using nut butter or coconut butter + cinnamon?
- Enhance the sweetness of foods with a pinch of salt. I love sprinkling pink Himalayan sea salt on top of fruit like peaches or bananas, on salads, and even a dash in my smoothies will enhance the sweetness!
Okay, I’m calling this a wrap now. Though, I’m thinking of assembling a list of some of my favorite sugar-free ideas and recipes but that’s still TBD. Is that something y’all would be interested in? Let me know what you think or what you want to see more of by commenting down below or emailing me. Thanks for reading! 🙂
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or dietician. Nor have I ever claimed to be. I am merely fascinated by health research and have seen positive results from my own reduction in sugar. I am only sharing this to encourage others to reevaluate their sugar intake but, by all means, do your own research, too!