Clean Eating Step 3 : Swap refined sugar for natural sweeteners

Welcome to step 3 of our Clean Eating for Beginners series. 

clean eating natural sweeteners

[If you need to catch up, read step 1 and step 2.] 

This week we are learning about natural sweeteners.  

It can be super easy to tweak your baking recipes and substitute the refined white sugar for something else. 

But first, let’s talk about WHY you would want to do this.

1. Sugar is addictive.

2. Sugar can contribute to health problems like weight gain, diabetes and higher cholesterol levels.

3. Sugar makes your body feel sluggish and tired.

Once you cut out the white stuff, you will be amazed at how sweet real fruits and veggies taste and how good you feel!

There is SO much more information about sugar.  More than I could write about.  Just turn to Mr. Google if you want more facts. 

For this step, I want to focus on a few more natural and better choices we have when it comes to sweetening stuff. 

Here are a few that I recommend.

You can find these natural solutions at your local grocery store in the natural section or at places like Trader Joe’s (my favorite).

natural sweeteners

Raw Local Honey :

Honey is about 53 percent fructose2, but is completely natural in its raw form and has many health benefits when used in moderation, including as many antioxidants as spinach.

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Stevia :

Stevia is a highly sweet herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant, which is completely safe (in its natural form).

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Organic Sugar :

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Sucralose (Splenda) is NOT a sugar, despite its sugar-like name and deceptive marketing slogan, “made from sugar.” It’s a chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame and saccharin, with detrimental health effects to match.  It is completely ‘fake’ and should be avoided at all costs!

When buying food products and reading labels, is to eliminate all foods that have any of these sugars in the first 5 ingredients :

barley malt, cane juice, concentrated fruit juice, corn syrup, date sugar, dextrose, fructose, galactose, glycogen, glucose, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltodextrin, maltose, mannitol, maple syrup, molasses, rice syrup, sorbitol, sorghum, sucanat, sucrose, sugar, turbinato, washed cane crystals, xylitol. 

Not all of these sugars are ‘bad’ per say, but it may have too much in a product and therefore not the best choice.

With all this information, you may be feeling overwhelmed.  You might be saying ‘where do I start’? 

This is a clean eating for beginners series so let’s keep it simple.

1. Eliminating all artificial sweeteners is a great first step!  splenda, sweet n low, equal, etc.

2. Eliminate high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  Check your food labels. 

3. Next swap ‘the white stuff’ for the natural.  Find local honey.  Find organic sugars.

 

Any other tips?  Share them in the comments or in our Healthy Mama group.