Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
As you might already know, I am trying to avoid refined sugar where ever possible in my life! Within my recipes in this blog I totally work without refined sugar and offer alternatives to you. This article will discuss the negative impact of sugar to our body and will offer you alternatives to sweeten up your life the healthy way! So: Refined Sugar vs Alternatives!
Did you know: every German consumes 37 kg of refined sugar every year! Every US Citizen 46 kg per year!? (find the post here)
And in the Middle Ages sugar was in some countries even forbidden, as it made the people addictive!
In my opinion these are a good facts, which we all should consider. For example at the beginning of the year 2019 I made an experiment on myself! I just got my certification as nutritionist and with the beginning of the new year I want to change my life. So I decided on stopping the usage of refined sugar from one day to another!
First of all I went through my kitchen and removed all foods, which containing sugar and hidden sugars (e.g. juices, yogurts, granola etc.). I literally checked each and every nutrition label. Then I replaced everything with foods not containing any sugar.
Without Refined Sugar vs Alternatives
Here is what happened to me: on the first day I tried a carrot and the taste was not really flavorful to me, as a Chef I was even disappointed by the taste. So I stored the remaining ones in my chiller, with the thought to try them again in a few days later.
The first days “without”, I felt terrible. I got extreme sugar cravings, even in the night. Headaches, mood swings and my body felt tired. As i know better now, the typical common symptoms from the body, better to say our brain, which requests drastically the missing sugar.
This symptoms followed me for the next five days, until my body was adjusted to the new nutrition/ situation. Now the funny part on this story: after day six I tried one of the remaining carrots out of my chiller and guess what!?
The carrot tasted very sweet to me, it actually had a proper “carrot flavor”, I was totally impressed by this outcome! In addition to that, I did not have the “foggy feeling” anymore, it seemed that I am more “awake”. If I can describe it like this! From then on, I informed myself even more about nutrition and its impact on our daily lifestyle and this blog with its recipes is the result.
What exactly is Refined Sugar and what are the downsides?
Refined sugar comes from sugar cane or sugar beets, which are processed to extract the sugar. It is typically found as sucrose, which is the combination of glucose and fructose. The body breaks down refined sugar rapidly, causing insulin and blood sugar levels to skyrocket. Because refined sugar is digested quickly, you don’t feel full after you’re done eating, no matter how many calories you consumed. The fiber in fruit slows down metabolism, as fruit in the gut expands to make you feel full.
Refined sugars may increase your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. They’re also linked to a higher likelihood of depression, dementia, liver disease, and certain types of cancer
Which Alternatives can I use?
Maple Syrup; is high in antioxidants and rich in minerals
Date Paste; Dates are rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins, so using date paste as a sweetener in your recipes can add more nutritional value to your diet than simply using table sugar.
Natural Honey; contains more nutrients than refined sugar, including antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. It’s also easier to digest and promotes gut health, as long there is no glucose syrup added.
Coconut Sugar; Coconut sugar is typically always unrefined, so it retains all its vitamins and minerals, and it doesn’t cause fluctuations in blood sugar. See also here.
Agave Nectar; provides more nutrients than regular sugar but fewer than honey. It’s very flavorful, so you may not need to use as much.
There are many more other options, including artificial sweeteners, but these are the one I commonly work with. Additionally, I found them in almost every supermarket worldwide so far.
I hope this post helps you to evaluate the usage of refined sugar and to make your own decisions based on that.