The Scoop On Sugar

The Scoop On Sugar

Do you know the scoop on sugar? We all know that sugar is not good for you. The more you cut down on it or change the kind of sugar you consume, the better.

If you can eliminate sugar all together that would be the best choice, but for the majority of us, we’re not there yet. Hopefully, this article will help you make wiser choices.

The American diet is full of sugar and research shows that sugary liquids (soda and fruit juices) are among the worst.

Drinking concentrated sugar causes your liver to convert the fructose into dangerous fats. We won’t go into all of the terrible food choices that are laden with sugar.

People who often over-indulge in sugar may develop severe health issues.  These might be elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol, fatty livers, high triglyceride levels, heart attack, high blood pressure, kidney stones, insulin resistance, cancer and more.

Here’s a short list of the artificial sweeteners to avoid at all costs. Ones such as aspartame (brands NutraSweet, Equal), sucralose (Splenda), and saccharin (Sweet’N Low).

Other sugars that cause problems are because of the way they are processed and converted in your body.

These would be agave, beet sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, powdered sugar, high fructose corn syrup, granulated white sugar, and many others.

Healthier Sugar Alternatives

It’s much better to eat your sugars from natural sources like those in vegetables and fruits. These sugars are naturally mixed with minerals, vitamins, enzymes, fiber, and phytonutrients. Your body knows what to do with these sugars and other beneficial nutrients.

One of the better sugar substitutes is Stevia, derived from the leaf of the South American Stevia plant.  It has zero calories and is about 300 times sweeter than sugar.

You only need a very small amount (a few drops) to sweeten most drinks and food.  Powdered stevia can leave a bitter after-taste, so I recommend the liquid stevia drops.

A sugar alcohol called Xylitol is a good choice for cooking and baking with a 1:1 ratio. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that can be extracted from plants like corn, and it comes with a benefit of fighting tooth decay.

Xylitol is toxic to dogs and other animals, so be sure to keep it away from your pets.

As with most things, stevia and xylitol should be used in moderation. Try getting into the habit of reading labels on all food and drink items so you know what you’re consuming.

Again, no sugar would be your best choice, but as a stepping stone to a healthy lifestyle, these are some healthier alternatives.

If you need help with improving your nutrition and overall health, I’m here to help you. Go to the Time For Change Personal Training service tab and click on the Nutrition Programs tab for more info.