Eliminating sugar from your diet is hard. Brands sneak it into almost every packaged food product on the market — it can feel like the dreaded glucose is hiding everywhere you turn. What is there left to eat?
We like to think of this as an opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and see what kind of recipes you can recreate that will satisfy your cravings with ingredients that will work for your healthy lifestyle. Oftentimes this means using different sugar substitutes — but which ones are the best? Let’s take a look at some of your options!
Low Calorie Options
If you’re not ready to go all the way — low calorie options like sugar alcohols can cut your sugar consumption and sugar spikes down by half. These are often added to processed foods and chewing gums that are labeled “sugar-free” and can include Maltitol, Sorbitol, Xylitol, Erythritol, and Isomalt. While these options do have a lower impact on your blood sugar levels, they can occasionally lead to gastrointestinal distress, bloating, and gas.
There are several artificial sweeteners on the market that do not affect your blood sugar at all. While the FDA has approved these products — there’s some controversy over the possibility of long-term side effects. However if you’re consuming them in small quantities, you should be fine with any of the following options:
- Aspartame – Equal & Nutrasweet
- Sucralose – Splenda
- Saccharin – Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin & Sugar Twin
- Advantame – A Sweet Leaf, Sun Crystals, Steviva, Truvia & PureVia
- Acesulfame potassium (also called acesulfame K) – Sunett & Sweet One
- Neotame – NA
Stevia is a great natural sweetener that will not raise blood sugar levels despite the fact that it is much sweeter than sugar! It’s an extract of a plant leaf — so it’s a completely natural option for a sugar substitute. It comes in liquid and powdered forms for easy application and it’s especially great for baking because it doesn’t react to heat.
Monk Fruit Sweetener
This is another completely natural option to use instead of sugar. It’s an extract made from the monk fruit that’s a great option if you don’t like the taste of stevia. Just be sure to read your nutrition labels as some brands will add extra ingredients like erythritol, sugar, and molasses — which should be avoided. It should be noted that this option can have a bit of a fruity aftertaste.
So which options are best for you? Well, this is a completely personal choice. We prefer the natural stuff — because who wants to worry about potential long term health implications? Some people love the taste of stevia and use it in everything from their morning coffee to their evening dessert. Still others prefer the ultra-sweet punch of an artificial product like Splenda. The key here is to pay attention when you consume any of these products and see how your body reacts to them. Then go from there!
We hope we’ve demystified the world of sugar substitutes. Want some new ideas on how you can put them to good use? Check out more from our blog for some amazing recipes!