Trying to quit your sweet tooth cravings? Well “substituting” sugar may or may not be your best bet. Nowadays almost everything has sugar added to it, and worse, sugar is like a bad crook–it has all different kind of names.
But not all sugar substitutes are the same, so read this before you start swapping out the real deal. That way you know what “sweet” you should eat.
1. Sugar Is Actually Not So Bad After All
Sugar gets a bad rep. Many people overestimate the actual amount of calories sugar has, when in fact 1 teaspoon only clocks in at 15 calories. Not a big deal when you are adding it to your coffee, however when adding it in heaping amounts to baked goods, those 15 calorie teaspoons can add up. So measure it out and don’t be so quick to swap it out if all you need is a dash.
2. Some Artificial Sweeteners Hide Behind Fancy Names
Often time all non sugar sweeteners get lumped into the category of “artificial sweeteners,” however this is only a fraction of the non sugar game. So what is considered an artificial sweetener? Well the most popular are Equal, Sweet ‘N Low and Splenda, but what most people don’t know is that before these sweeteners were “branded” they went by (and are still listed on some package foods) as Aspartame, Saccharin and Sucralose – respectively. All of these options are synthetic and may be derived from natural substances such as herbs or actual sugar, however they are rather intense since they are many times sweeter than regular sugar. So beware of the aftertaste. Also the constant controversy surrounding artificial sweeteners is that they cause health problems – mainly cancer. However there isn’t any actual research behind this. So if you are a blue, pink and yellow packet lover my recommendation is to consume this artificial stuff in small doses.
3. Alcohol Is A Sneaky Sweetener
Next up in the “I am not real sugar” game is sugar alcohols. These carbohydrates are naturally present in certain fruits and vegetables, but can also be manufactured. Unlike artificial sweeteners they aren’t sweeter than sugar. In fact they are often times less sweet. But here’s the deal, sugar alcohols are not calorie free, however they are lower in calories than regular sugar. You most likely wont be adding this sugar alternative to the food you prepare at home but do understand it is in many processed foods and other products such as chocolate, candy, frozen desserts, chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwash, baked goods and fruit spreads. So check the labels for the specific name or even the term Xylitol. P.S. The “alcohol” in sugar alcohol does not denote booze…just in cast you were wondering.
4. What The Heck Is A Novel Sweetener?
Novel sweeteners are basically a combination of various types of sweeteners. The most popular being Stevia. It is hard to fit this type of sweetener into one particular category because of what they’re made from and how they’re made, however like sugar alcohols novel sweeteners can have a laxative effect when consumed in large amounts (think anywhere from 10-50 grams). So if you are experiencing bloating, intestinal gas or diarrhea after your artificially sweetened treat then it may be time back off.
5. Are Natural Sweeteners Organic, Or Nah?
Now on to the healthier options. Natural sweeteners are sugar substitutes that often undergo processing and refining, however he FDA recognizes fruit juices, nectars, honey, molasses and maple syrup as safe. The most important thing to think about when it comes to natural sugar substitutes is that although they may seem healthier than processed table sugar, their vitamin and mineral content isn’t significantly different. They both end up in your body as glucose and fructose and consuming too much can lead to health problems such as tooth decay, poor nutrition, weight gain and increased triglycerides. So choose a natural sweetener based on it tastes, how you plan to use it and of course consume them in moderation.
6. Moderation Is The Name Of The Game
Well now that you know the truth about sugar and sweeteners the number one take away should be moderation. While one may contain calories and the other is calorie free the body knows what’s up. When you are constantly satisfying your sweet tooth with the fake stuff the body knows it wasn’t the real deal and in turn you may find your sweet cravings increasing rather than decreasing. Remember that artificial sweeteners are super sweet so when you eat them a lot your tolerance for sweet is intensified. That means when you eat things that are already naturally sweet you will still have the craving to add more sugar. So kick your sugar addiction to the curb for good and consume all forms of sugar in – you guessed it- moderation.
Robbie Ann Darby (RAD Experience) is a professional FitGirl, Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer in NYC. Follow her sweaty life on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more fun health and fitness tips!
Check Out This Gallery Of Things To Buy At The Grocery Store To Keep Your Waist Snatched:
1. Keep These In Your Fridge For Healthy Eating
If you're like me (and you need pointers in order to eat healthy), this list is going to be your saving grace! Sometimes when I go to the grocery store, I end up buying things I don't need or forgetting things that I need for the week. So I tapped George Zoitas, CEO of Westside Market NYC to give me a few tips on what to keep on your grocery list in order to eat healthy everyday. Check out what items made the list.
2. Ready-To-Eat Green Salad
Use a high-nutrient spinach as the base of a salad and top with cherry tomatoes, beans and nuts. Transform this side dish into a meal by adding grilled chicken breast, cooked shrimp or any of your faves!
3. Whole Wheat Pita Pocket Or Tortilla
These are associated with a variety of health benefits including weight control. You can pack the pita or wrap with all of your healthy faves and eat it on the go. Everything that you like on your salad--wrap it up!
4. Low-Fat Dairy Foods
The options here can be yogurt, cottage cheese or a reduced-fat cheese which provide both calcium and protein. Dairy products are also great for snacks or used within meals. These products stretch and can keep you healthy for multiple meals and multiple days.
5. Prepared Pesto Made With Olive Oil
Olive oil has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and this pesto is a great way to work it into your diet. But don't just stop at pesto; use on snacks or main dishes too!
6. Almond Butter
Almond butter is considered a “smart fat,” which helps in lowering cholesterol and enhances the immune system. While almond butter has many great properties, make sure you follow the portion size, as it's still high in fat, even though it is the healthy kind. You can use this yummy treat as a snack or you can get creative with it in your main dishes.
Hummus is an easy protein-rich snack that fights hunger and balances blood sugar levels. Yummy on it's own, with your fave veggies or on a pita, hummus is a savory snack worth keeping in your fridge.
Salsa actually low in calories, when you skip the tortilla chips. Use the healthy snack on brown rice, flax or sesame seed crackers instead of the chips and you'll find yourself snacking without the guilt. In the morning try it on your eggs or put it on your salads at lunch or dinner. It's a great condiment no matter what time of day it is!
Some believe that while dieting, eating only the egg whites is best, but it's not; you to leave out all the protein, which is found in the yolk. The yolk protein helps stimulate the release of glucagon, which aids in fat-burning specially belly fat.
10. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and iron, all which are great for weight loss. You can put these in smoothies, on your salad or use them to bread your chicken or thicken your soup.
This is a gluten-free grain, which can be savory or sweet, depending on what it is mixed with. As a complete protein source, quinoa is packed with amino acids and vitamin B. Hello health! Cook this up as a side or add some texture to your salad, either way, you're packing in a lot of benefits with one little ingredient.
12. Lean Protein
Having lean protein in your fridge is important because it helps keep you full. Excellent sources of this include skinless poultry, edamame, crab, fish fillets and pork tenderloin.
Bananas are packed with potassium and fiber and can be added to other nutritious foods that aid in dieting, like oatmeal and almond butter. This is one of the best snacks to always have on-hand.
Mushrooms are is often overlooked when dieting, but these "fun guys" help to tide you over in between meals. They also can act as a side or even the full meal, especially if you like portobello mushrooms.
Blueberries are on the top of the list for the fruits with the most health benefits. They have 40% more antioxidant capacity than strawberries, are high in vitamin C and strengthen the immune system! Keep these around to put in your yogurt, on your salad or just to have as a snack.
16. Bell Pepper
Red, yellow or green, bell peppers help in improving the looks of hair and skin, as well as eases aches and pains. Also, due to the high water content, this low-calorie food assists in weight loss. Keep these around for snacks, or cook them up in your meals.