This amazing post was written by Jenn Ryan, a freelance writer and editor who’s passionate about natural health, fitness, gluten-free, and animals. You can read more of her work at thegreenwritingdesk.com.
Did you know that the average American is consuming more than 60 pounds of sugar every year? This just includes added sugar, not fruits or fruit juices. Is that number insane or what?
It’s likely you’ve no idea of the actual amount of sugar you’re consuming per day, which is the equivalent of somewhere around 82 grams per day if you live in the United States.
This added sugar is killing us slowly, leading to a diabetes and obesity epidemic (especially when it comes to sugary beverages), and is taking its toll on our dental health. Why is white sugar awful, and what can you use instead of this sickening kitchen staple?
In fact, you can watch this 4-minute video on the different types of sugar.
Why White Sugar Is Wholly Evil
Let’s begin with some facts about white sugar (warning: this may cause you to vow never to eat the stuff again):
- Sugar has not only been found to be as addictive as cocaine, but even more addictive.
- Sugar has been found to alter brain chemistry and affect mood: when you consume sugar, your brain releases dopamine, but when the sugar is gone, your mood can plummet. People who suffer from depression often have a problem with blood sugar balance.
- Sugar can suppress your immune system, destroy healthy bacteria in your gut, and tax your liver function.
- Sugar has been linked to a decrease in cognitive function—poor memory, thinking, and problem solving are all affected.
Sugar’s not getting a great rep in this article. Besides these facts, sugar is wholly evil because it goes by different names. And as everyone knows, something (or someone) that goes by different names cannot, under any circumstances, be trusted.
Just a few of the other names for sugar include: molasses, barley malt, corn syrup solids, high fructose corn syrup (affectionately referred to as HFCS), glucose solids, lactose, maltodextrin, brown sugar, sorghum syrup, dextrose, fructose, rice syrup, and sucrose.
Now, not all of these are white sugar, but just to demonstrate just how much sugar has perpetrated itself into our society, this gives you an idea. It’s not just “sugar” anymore. It’s cane juice, evaporated cane juice, and malt syrup. Yum!
What to use Instead—8 Helpful Sugar Swaps!
It sucks not eating dessert. I know. As a gluten-free and dairy-free babe, I sympathize with all kinds of people at parties who forgo the brownie tray, ice cream socials, or lollipops at the doctor’s office. These people don’t have the food sensitivities I do—they just don’t want to die from sugar!
So what can you use instead?
Glycemic Index: 54
Conversion: For every 1 cup of sugar, use ¾ cup maple syrup
Benefits: More unrefined than traditional sugar, lower glycemic index, and includes trace minerals and even some antioxidants!
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Glycemic Index: 25-50
Conversion: For every 1 cup of sugar, use ½ to 2/3 cup raw honey.
Benefits: Totally unrefined, raw honey is loaded with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and it can even promote wound healing, healthy gut bacteria, and neutralize free radicals.
Glycemic Index: 1
Conversion: For every 1 cup of sugar, use ¾ cup or less yacon syrup.
Benefits: Yacon syrup comes from the yacon root and has an extremely low glycemic index, but it also has a distinct taste. It’s healthy for blood sugar, weight loss, and can even help improve your immune system!
Use yacon syrup to replace molasses and brown sugar, as its taste mimics these sugars!
Glycemic Index: 0
Conversion: For every 1 cup of sugar, use ½ cup of monk fruit sweetener.
Benefits: Monk fruit fights free radicals, is anti-inflammatory, can treat cancer and diabetes, and fight infections. Whew! This fruit is powerful!
Glycemic Index: 0
Conversion: For every 1 cup of sugar, use only 1 teaspoon (yes, I said teaspoon) of powdered stevia
Benefits: Stevia is from a plant and can actually lower blood pressure and blood sugar. It could even help to prevent heart disease and has an anti-inflammatory effect in the body.
Since stevia needs so little to be so powerful, stevia is better for sweetening coffee, tea, and other small meals or beverages.
Glycemic Index: 35
Conversion: For every 1 cup of sugar, use 1 cup of coconut sugar.
Benefits: Offers more vitamins and minerals than white sugar, this sugar helps to stabilize blood sugar rather than promote the crash you commonly label as the sugar rush after eating white sugar.
Since coconut sugar mimics a brown sugar taste, use it for recipes where you would use brown sugar.
Glycemic Index: 42
Conversion: For every 1 cup of sugar, use 1 cup of date paste.
Benefits: Dates contain fiber, potassium, and magnesium! These cute little fruits can aid in digestion, promote heart health, and can improve brain health as well as promote a healthy pregnancy.
To make, simply use some hot water and dates and then puree—so easy!
Fruit (Hello, Bananas!)
Glycemic Index: 62
Conversion: For every 1 cup of sugar, use 1 cup of pureed bananas.
Benefits: Bananas are a sweet fruit that are easy to substitute for sugar—simply puree ripe bananas with a little bit of water. Bananas help digestion, blood sugar control, and weight control.
With so many options for sweetening your goodies at home, why would you ever pick up that package of white sugar at the store? Ditch that.
There are way healthier alternatives that won’t get you addicted and provide an array of health benefits that white sugar never did—swap out white sugar for these total babes!
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