Normally, if you want to quit anything, it would require you to practice it for at least 30 days. When it comes to quitting sugar, it can help you reset your hormones, blood sugar, and clear your skin. (Also, the notion of “sweet” would be forever changed for you.)
Any kind of sugar is still sugar. The only way to lessen its impact is to train your body to crave less of it instead of choosing the substitutes.
However, while you in the middle of your journey to quit it altogether, it is rather prudent that you begin slow. And that means opting for healthier alternatives.
Mindful eating is something that will come handy at this point in time. That means looking at sugar as something that gives you more than just a sweet taste. Satisfy your sweet tooth with more of a nutritional boost.
But First, What is Good v/s Bad Sugar?
You might be surprised to know that sugar is added in almost all the things you eat, even salad dressings! While you are on a spree to go cold turkey on sugar, it would then be most important to read the labels first.
Labels such as “organic” or “natural” won’t make any difference as long as it is still “cane sugar.”
Believe it or not, the same goes for alcohol too (…and not just because we don’t have a hangover the next morning!) It has sugar too that amps up our insulin levels leading us to store fat. Not to forget, we crave sugar more than ever and thus get stuck in an endless cycle.
That’s exactly the reason why that cheesecake looks so good paired up with a glass of wine.
What Sweet Options Are You Left With?
Freshly Squeezed Fruit Juices
The good: A freshly squeezed juice is always a better option if you are looking for a quick fill of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. The better, a vegetable blend.
The bad: Where we falter is when we think that it must not contain any sugar. The truth is, it still does (even if it is from fruit!) And the fact is that most juices need a lot of fruits to fill up a cup which will raise your blood sugar without balancing it with enough fiber. Fruit juice might seem virtuous, but it will only leave you craving for more carbs.
Yay or Nay? It is wise to either opt for a vegetable blend with a lot more veggies than fruits or switch to a smoothie altogether for the added fiber.
The Golden Honey
The good: Honey is loaded with numerous benefits and is easier to digest than the normal cane sugar. It is also a great antidote for allergies and throat irritants.
The bad: A teaspoon of honey has more calories and sugar than our normal white sugar. Although it has lesser fructose and glucose levels than sugar, it is still enough to cause an insulin spike. Especially if you go bonkers with it.
Yay or Nay? Well, first thing’s first–look for a raw and organic version of honey to get the best out of it. But anyway, moderation is still the key.
The good: The best part about coconut sugar is that it contains a prebiotic fiber which is good for gut health. Besides, it is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It has a low glycemic index which means it has a less dramatic insulin spike.
The bad: Although rich in minerals and vitamins, it, nonetheless, is composed of table sugar. The bad percentage is 75% while the good part is just 25% of it.
Yay or Nay? Once again, hold onto moderation when it comes to coconut sugar but it is definitely a better substitute than white sugar.
The good: Dates have ample fiber, minerals, and vitamins and include calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium too. Just like honey, they are a bit lower on the glycemic index as well.
The bad: The seemingly best option is still too high in carbohydrates and natural sugar. A tiny date will cost you 66 calories!
Yay or Nay? As an alternative, the dates seem to be the best option. It is a solid bet. Moreover, it is important to check how you consume your sugar. Sugar along with fiber and other nutrients can help with regulating the sugar spikes. No wonder why dates are called “nature’s candy.”
The good: Maple syrup is one of the most natural sources of sugar. Not only it has antioxidants but also anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains less amount of sugar than honey, specifically, fructose. The fat is also in trace amounts. Tip: The darker the maple syrup, the more antioxidants it contains.
The bad: In addition to containing less sugar than honey, it also has lesser nutrients. And because it is not as sweet as honey, one tends to use more of it.
Yay or Nay? Maple syrup has a distinctive flavor. If you are down for it, it is reasonably a bit healthier choice than honey or white sugar.
The Classic Stevia
The good: A stevia leaf is at least 40 times sweeter than sugar and its powdered form is 300 times sweeter. Therefore, even a little amount of it would go a long way. The cherry on the cake is that neither does it have any kind of sugar nor any calories.
The bad: There’s a little psychological side effect to it. Because the taste buds cue the body for the incoming calories, it’ll make you binge more for it practically is devoid of any calories.
Yay or Nay? Stevia seems like the best option when it comes to a zero calorie option. There are other products like xylitol that results in digestive issues.
What Other Options Do I Have?
If you can, avoiding all kinds of substitutes is the best foot forward. The key to satisfying your taste buds is flavoring.
Coconut and cinnamon are great option when it comes to flavoring your sweet primarily because of their sweet essence. Whole fruits are also a great option to flavor your food.
In the end, it’s all about personal choice and how well you adjust your palate. Experiment well and let it boil down to some options that will work best for you.