Consuming refined sugars (i.e., granulated sugar and high fructose corn syrup) can wreak havoc on our waistlines and overall health.  But have you tried to completely avoid sugar?  You quickly miss that spoonful of sugar in your coffee each morning and that slice of cake after dinner.

Many people turn to artificial sweeteners as a sugar substitute.  However, artificial sweeteners are highly toxic to the body.  Luckily, there are natural alternatives you can use to replace sugar that are healthier for your body.But it’s not just table sugar that should be avoided, there are hidden sugars that you should also be aware of.  The same adverse effects result from excessive consumption of foods with a high sugar content such as bread, pasta, and even fruit.

Why Sugar Isn’t So Sweet

Foods high in sugar are problematic because of their high glycemic index.  The glycemic index measures the impact of foods on the body’s blood sugar level.  High glycemic foods raise blood sugar quickly and trigger the release of the hormone insulin. 

Chronically high blood sugar and insulin levels have been linked to a health disorder called Metabolic Syndrome.  Symptoms of this disorder include type II diabetes, abdominal weight gain, obesity, raised cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Natural Sugar Substitutes

  • Stevia – Stevia is an herb that has been used as a sweetener in South America for hundreds of years.  It is calorie-free, which means it has no effect on the body’s insulin production.  The only thing that deters people using stevia is that it can taste a little bitter in drinks and in some baking recipes.

 

  • Xylitol – Xylitol is a natural substance found in fibrous fruits and vegetables.  Its taste is very similar to sugar.  It has a minimal effect on blood sugar level.  In its crystalline form, it can replace sugar in cooking and baking.    


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