Whether you’re sweetening your morning coffee, enjoying a mid-day snack or indulging in an after dinner dessert, unhealthy sugars and artificial sweeteners are sure to sabotage your daily diet. Listed below are two of the easiest ways you can reduce your sugar intake to greatly improve your health and lose weight.
Sweeten With Stevia
Start by replacing refined sugars and artificial sweeteners with stevia. With their lack of nutrients and harmful side effects, refined sugars and artificial sweeteners wreak havoc on the body by weakening immunity, increasing body fat, promoting inflammation, raising insulin levels, intensifying sugar cravings and much more.
Stay away from these harmful substances by sweetening with stevia, an all-natural herb containing zero sugars, carbs, calories or toxic ingredients. An excellent sugar substitute, stevia can be added to beverages, yogurt/kefir, smoothies, side dishes and sweets.
You can find stevia in the “health food” and supplement section of most grocery stores, or online. Look for 100 percent pure stevia without any additives. SweetLeaf, NuNaturals and KAL are great brands.
Stevia is available in the form of liquid, powder, tablets or packets, which are perfect for packing in your pocket or purse. Depending on the form, stevia can be extremely sweet so start with a small amount and mix thoroughly.
Liquid stevia comes in a variety of flavors such as, Apricot Nectar, Valencia Orange, Lemon Drop, Root Beer, French Vanilla, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Grape, Hazelnut, Peppermint, Chocolate Raspberry, and English Toffee. Add flavored stevia to carbonated water for homemade soda, or try Zevia soda.
Another simple step you can take to greatly reduce your sugar intake and support weight loss is to read food labels. Processed products contain over 40 different types of refined sugars and artificial sweeteners! Take a moment to always read the ingredients listed. Remember, the more refined the sugar is, the more harmful it will be to your body! Naturally decrease your sugar intake by choosing more whole foods that don’t have labels such as vegetables, fruits and nuts.
Look for: minimal, and preferably whole food, ingredients with less than 4 grams of sugar per serving.
Avoid: low-fat, non-fat, low-calorie, words ending in “-ose”
Not only does sugar lack nutrients and contribute to countless disease, sugar has also been shown to be 8 times more addictive than cocaine!
Avoid: agave nectar, barley malt, beet sugar, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, crystalline fructose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, galactose, glucose, glucose-fructose syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, isolate, lactose, levulose, maltodextrin, maltose, maple sugar, molasses, saccharose, sucrose (table sugar), sugar, syrup, turbinado sugar.
One thing you definitely want to stay away from is artificial sweeteners, which are usually hidden in foods labeled “sugar-free” such as gum, yogurt and diet soda. Yes, they have no calories, but they act more like a drug in our bodies than a food. Much like drugs, they don’t provide any nutrients and come with side effects such as migraines, insomnia, diarrhea, joint pain, depression, memory loss, seizures and brain cancer. They also prevent you from losing weight and intensify your cravings for sweets.
Avoid: acesulfame-K, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, splenda, sucralose, sweet and low.
Would you like to lose weight, reduce inflammation, improve sleep, increase energy and feel better on a daily basis? Contact Certified Nutritionist and Kitchen Coach, Cate Ritter, to improve your health now!