Sugar only on special occasions? Knowing what I know about sugar and its effect on metabolism, disease expression, hormone balance, mental health and aging that’s the rule I stick to, and I would love for you to do the same! However, with sugar in just about all of our processed foods and the holiday season fast approaching I know it can be challenging.
If you are new to starting a sugar free diet one of my top tips would be to avoid adding sugar to your food and beverages at home (and this includes so called ‘healthier’ sugars such as coconut sugar) and try switching to my recommended alternatives as detailed below:
Organic stevia is my go-to non caloric sweetener of choice (non caloric sweeteners contain no calories and have no impact on your blood sugar) as it has no negative effects on health, and can actually have benefits for gut health and digestion. Always choose an organic stevia, and my favourite brand is Sweetleaf which you can purchase from Thrive Market.
Monkfruit is my second choice for non-caloric sweeteners after stevia as many monkfruit products also contain sugar alcohols, which can cause GI issues for some people. Use in moderation, and in my opinion the best brand is Lakanto which you can also purchase from Thrive Market.
Fresh fruit is an often neglected way to add a little sweetness to your everyday meals and snacks. Although it will add calories, sugar and fructose, they come wrapped in a package that also provides vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols and much needed fibre! A little fruit can go a long way to add sweetness to your dishes, so think 1/4 of a banana (instead of a whole one) in your Breakfast Smoothie or a handful or berries (not a whole package) with your plant-based yoghurt and nuts.
A little dried fruit can be a great addition when wanting to add sweetness to baked goods. Great choices include dates and figs as they are high in much needed minerals such as magnesium and potassium, and to help reduce the amount you need rehydrate them in water first before use. But a word of warning – always check the ingredients list before purchase as many dried fruits can be coated in sugar and inflammatory vegetable and seed oils.
Whilst honey does not contain any soluble fibre (fibre slows down our blood sugar spikes) it does have a wealth of other health and beauty boosting benefits, and is a good choice if you need a liquid sweetener. Always choose raw honey as is packed full of micronutrients including B vitamins and essential nutrients such as magnesium and zinc, and can be a great source of skin loving antioxidants and polyphenols (compounds that help minimize free radical damage and prevent premature aging).
Want to learn more about cutting down on sugar or cutting it out completely? My new Skinny on Sugar online program is a 7-day detox diet plan designed to help you stop sugar cravings and end your sugar addiction for good! Find out more here: