Heidi

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Mom, desperately trying to get the health thing right! I started this blog so that I can pass along all the great things that I learn everyday on damage control for our wonderful bodies. It is tough to keep up sometimes with all the things going on in our daily lives so hopefully some of the helpful hints that I provide can make your life easier and healthier. I welcome your comments and tips as well! I am a vegetarian, animal rights advocate and avid animal rescuer.
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2008-10-08

Hey Sugar-Try These Sweet Alternatives


Are you a sugar addict like me? There is nothing that I like better than chocolate, cookies, cake and well you get the idea. I would rather eat dessert than just about anything I think. However, I understand that my sugar intake has to be in moderation if I want to be healthy.

Studies show that the sweeter your diet, the more nutrient deficient it is. The average North American consumes about 150 pounds of sugar per year, no wonder chronic disease is on the rise. Try to cut back on refined sugar and artificial sweeteners that serve up nothing but empty calories. Instead, choose natural sweeteners that offer some beneficial, health-promoting properties. Honey , contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes, plus antioxidants that protect against illness. Honey won't raise your blood sugar either, because it has a moderate effect on insulin. Another great choice is molasses since it is grown in mineral rich soil. It contains the valuable b vitamins and other important nutrients, like iron. Of course no post on sugar substitutes would be complete without me adding how much I love Stevia (an all natural sweetener that you can get at Whole Foods-it does not raise your insulin levels either so your body does not freak out and think it needs to store fat).

If you are having a hard time cutting out the sweets I recommend giving fruit a chance. Yes fruit has sugar but it comes in the form of high fiber and fiber lessens the blood sugar peaks, hormonal havoc and weight gain. Raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, grapes and bananas are all great choices that I personally enjoy when I feel the urge to make a dash for my favorite chocolate bar. Most fruits are high in fiber, low in calories, high in water content, great tasting and convenient. They contain disease-fighting antioxidants and the hundreds of beneficial plant chemicals that scientists have recently discovered protect us (kinda like the phytochemicals in plants protect them).

I know there are days that you just really need that sugar fix and nothing else will do so I say on those days indulge yourself and then go in moderation the rest of the week. I have days that if you even think of taking my chocolate away you might want to turn and run in the other direction.

There are lots of substitutes for sugar that are very satisfying so give those a try-your body will thank you.

Reference-Eat, Drink and Be Merry by Janet and Greta Podleski

29 comments:

Bella said...
150 pounds of sugar a year!!! ohmygod, that's crazy!
vettech said...
Thank goodness for the antioxidant rich (and therefore much more easily justified) dark chocolate! Dark chocolate covered almonds are practically a health food :-)
Sogeshirtsguy said...
yes fruits have been incorporating their way into my diet more and more. Stevia is great as well.
susan said...
I haven't tried Stevia yet, but some people say it has some qualities that might not be so good such as genetic mutation.

I love honey, and will have to look into molasses. Thanks for the tips!
BeadedTail said...
Confession of a sugar addict here! I'm much better than I used to be and have tried some of the alternatives you suggest, except for Stevia - hadn't heard of that one. I've also tried fruit and am always amazed at how much it works to curb those cravings. I have to remind myself to give fruit a chance!
ssgreylord said...
so i'm one of those chocolate lovers too and i have to admit that the bold sentence i liked the most was the one that said it's ok to indulge. i just have to remember that moderation point. :)
Great tips...I've gotten to be more of a sugar addict as I've gotten older...salt was my thing...I don't use salt anymore but sugar is taking its place...stevia is great, along with fruit to meet the sugar cravings...

Cheers
Mike Foster said...
Excellent advice, Heida--sugar is sweet but can cause not only love handles, but lots of other health problems, as you so well explained. More fruit is always a good thing...nuts too.

peace,
mike
livelife365
betchai said...
me too, i do crave for sweet sometimes, if i will not discipline myself, probably i will have sweet 3x a day :) but i have to say no :( . i love fruits, thankfully, they help me in my craving for sweet. but yeah, i do indulge sometimes, oh, that yummy chocolate that melts in your mouth :), hahah! sometimes, if i can not really say no because i know my craving will lead to eating a lot of other stuff to no end, i will just eat chocolates with banana, that way, i get so full fast with my sweet :).
Swubird said...
Health Nut:

Great article and great advice. Like radiation, sugar should only be consumed in very low doses. My Queen is a sugar addict. She loves chocolate, pastries, pies, candy - anything sweet. I struggle hard to restrict her sugar intake, but she has a huge sweet tooth. We recently started using Stevia. Got it at Trader Joe's. I love it, and have found it to be an excellent sugar substitute in drinks, on cereal and anything else that needs a little sweetening added.

Your site continues to be at the top of my list. Good work.

Happy trails.
Nancy Ellyn said...
You know what? I don't eat any processed sugar, if I can help it. I may have a grapefruit, but that is the most sugar I have. Clean meat,eggs, cheese, veggies... I really am the person who hasn't had bread in five years. Processed sugar is not good.

I love you, Heidi. You can make my low carb pizza vegetarian!

You are amazing.
Robin said...
Hi Heidi,
I like my sugar and sweets also. Great tips, I like the one with giving fruit a chance. I have been drinking orange juice to try and drink less soda. I know there is sugar in that, I will just have to do moderation. I am drinking more water, so that is a plus for me. :-)
Politi Gal said...
Hey...this post is really something that might a difference in how I eat. Nutrition, ubfortunately, often gets pushed to the back-burner in the name of expediency. Gotta change that! I've got some Stevia, but haven't really incorporated it. You've given me some real food for thought here!
Jacqueline said...
When I was growing up, hearing about someone having a "sweet tooth" was considered 'cute'. I know better now. Whenever possible, step away from the refined sugar. It is not your friend.
KentuckyGal said...
Those little sugar cubes are so cute!
Liza said...
im a sweet tooth but i have to control eating too much sweets, my dad is diabetic and i'm so afraid i might have it too.

great post ;)
The Healthy Mom said...
I'm like you Heidi I love my sweets. I gotta have chocolate, and sugar in my tea I'm terrible when it comes to sweets. But I always make sure we have plenty of fresh fruit in my house in case someone gets a craving for something sweet. Great post! Thank you for sharing that information.
LizzyT said...
Thank you for your kind words, they are much appreciated.

I worry about putting artificial sweetener in my porridge, I love honey so I will try that. I have never heard of stevia, I will have to look into that but it might be something that is not available in the UK.
sborg said...
Thanks to you, we have been enjoying the benefits of stevia. One solution for bringing some sweetness into your life may be to try healthy trail mix that includes dried fruit.
Jack Payne said...
Of all the sweeteners mentioned, Heidi, Stevia is the best. Oddly, it's mostly from the South American country, Paraguay, which has this stuff growing all over the place on top of the soil, and the whole country is practically floating on oil just beneath the surface. A country really rich in natural resources, indeed.

Great article.
Sherer said...
Heidi,

My downfall is chocolate and (your going to kill me) ice cream.

But luckily, I can't stand anyother kind of candyish, sugary, teethrotting sweet out there:) Thanks for the post - I am inspired to buy some honey.

Jess
Jade said...
I am Jade. I am a sugar addict.

I do love all kinds of sweet but like you I try to eat as much fruits as I can to stay healthy especially because there was a diabetic in my family so I really need to be careful.
Nancy Ellyn said...
I've commented on every recent post. I just want to say that I ADORE you, and consider you one of my BEST online friends. I send all my love and light your way, sweet girl!
RainbowMom said...
Wonderful post! When I make cookies.. I cut the sugar in half and often the butter by a quarter cup at least and you can not tell the difference! I love honey. I also love your blog. :)
GoteeMan said...
I also really like one called "Sweet Life" by Renew Life. It is made from Lo-Han, and is a low-glycemic totally natural fruit based sweetener. No calories, no fat, no sodium, 1g Carb, <1g Sugars, 13mg Protein, <1g Dietary Fiber... and it has a nice sweetening flavor. I use it in teas, coffee, baking or whatever... 1/5 tsp = sweetness of 2tsp sugar, so it goes a long way as well...
What do you say about sugar replacements like splenda etc?
Lauren said...
Wow 150 pounds a year...that is shocking! I love sweets as much as the next gal, but I try to substitute whenever possible. For instance, I will have my morning tea with a spoon of honey just so that I can have my piece of chocolate later :)
Anonymous said...
Wow! It all adds up so quickly. Here is a good alternative- some chopped strawberries, natural low fat yoghurt and a little maple syrup drizzled on top. Yum!

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