Replacing Sugar with Real Nutrients
REPLACING SUGAR WITH REAL NUTRIENTS
Replacing sugar with real nutrients is easier than you think. Did you know that the average American consumes 130 pounds of sugar per year?! You can probably guess obvious sources that are responsible for this huge amount of sugar intake like soft drinks and candy. You may be surprised to learn that seemingly “healthy” foods are packed with sugar, too. Breakfast cereals, flavored yogurts and energy bars carry huge amounts of sugar. Due to strategic marketing and packaging, most people don’t bother to review the amount of sugar in these products!
So, what’s the problem with this high sugar intake? Foods that are high in refined sugar spike your blood sugar levels causing insulin resistance, imbalanced energy and weight gain while leading to diabetic complications. Scary? You bet! Don’t fret, though, because we have four healthy options to replace the traditional sugar filled products!
1) Replace flavored yogurt with full-fat Greek yogurt with whole food toppings
It all starts with ingredients! When purchasing your yogurt, the only ingredients ideally should be milk and the different probiotic cultures which help with the digestion and absorption of nutrients, as well as support for your immune system! Choosing a full-fat greek yogurt also provides conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs) that boost metabolism and aid in blood sugar balance while providing more satiety holding over your appetite. Avoid flavored yogurts with HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), fruit syrups, artificial sweeteners, cane juice, and modified corn starch (often GMO ingredient). Also avoid artificial colorants and food dyes which have been linked to nerve disorders and behavioral conditions.
Add your own toppings to get the benefits of whole foods, which adds antioxidants, phytocompounds and also volume! If you want more sweet, add raw honey which will have B vitamins. Nuts and flax seeds are also a great addition for some crunch. Adding these healthy fats are good for cognition and happy hormone balance. This will also slow down the meal and break down of carbs, allowing time for digestion and preventing any spike in blood sugar from the fresh fruit.
If you like the blended texture of yogurt, pre-blend your fruit with a couple teaspoons of water for a single ingredient syrup!
2) Replace Diet Sprite or Diet 7-Up with LaCroix Sparkling Water and a fresh lime wedge
Diet soft drinks have no nutritional value and can be harmful to your health. Diet Sprite consists of potassium benzoate – a preservative and known carcinogen, and aspartame – a non-caloric sweetener that has been linked to neuropathy and neurological conditions, insulin resistance and even diabetes. Switching to sparkling water with a fresh squeeze of citrus juice is a simple way to avoid adding chemicals in your diet! This replacement will also act as an electrolyte, a source of vitamin C and fuel hydration without damaging your body or tricking your blood sugar response.
3) Replace breakfast bars with a nut-based bar or a homemade trail mix
Most breakfast bars have little to no protein, are full of additives and processed grains, and are depleted of all nutritional value. Common ingredients include HFCS which is a toxin to the liver and another form of refined sugar. Both processed grains and HFCS are often listed within the first 2-4 ingredients, indicating they make up to about 80% of the product. This sugar dense bar will lead to more hunger throughout the day and blood sugar crashes which lead to fatigue and brain fog. A better choice would be a whole foods based nut bar with 5 grams or less of added sugar. Fruit and nut bars typically have 50% less sugar and no artificial sweeteners when compared to traditional snack bars and a homemade trail mix would be an even cleaner more nourishing option. The single ingredients in dried fruits paired with nuts promote healthy blood sugar balance with fat and protein to support active metabolism.
4) Replace protein cereal with steel cut oats and nut butter
Keep the fiber and lose the HFCS by swapping out boxed cereal for steel cut oats. Don’t be fooled by “high protein” cereals, these misleadingly have more sugar than Frosted Flakes! Also, these “protein” cereals are often fortified with GMO soy which can lead to estrogen dominance and toxicity. Instead, start with steel cut oats and add fat and protein. The oats have soluble fiber and beta glucans, both of which can help lower cholesterol, regulate digestion and balance blood sugar levels while promoting satiety for weight loss! Need a fabulous and healthy steel cut oat recipe? Check out our Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats recipe!
Swapping out these four sugary foods with a healthy replacement will put you on the road to reducing your sugar intake. Do you have a special healthy replacement for a traditional sugary food? What is it? We’d love to hear what you’re doing! Tell us on Twitter!