blogSummertime is a great time for families to get together and meet up with friends. It should be a time to relax and spend time in the garden or the beach, or if you live inland, in the countryside. If you are in the menopause part of your life you should always make time to relax and take care of yourself, so this is a good time to do exactly that.

The days are longer and the weather is wonderful for eating al fresco. Many families invite people over and have BBQ’s and the children can all play together and enjoy the holidays. However, one thing that is vital is that we do not overdo it on the intake of sugar.

Substitutes for Sugar: What To Try and What To Limit

Fruit is the best option for a healthy sweetener, but limit refined sugar and artificial sweeteners

Added sugar really isn’t great for your health. An occasional indulgence is understandable however added sugars are pervasive in our food supply, and a life of over-restriction and denial isn’t sustainable or realistic for a lot of people.

You probably already know that and thought you had found a better solution. Fine, you think, if sugar isn’t all that great for my body, then I’ll get my sweet from artificial sweeteners, honey and other sugar substitutes. Problem solved.

When it comes to sweeteners, not all sugar substitutes are created equal.

We found out from registered dietitian Anna Taylor, RD, LD, how to sort it out and would like to share the advice for reducing your sugar intake.

The problem with sugary foods

Sugar and sweetened foods do more than leave you at risk for tooth decay. They can stimulate your appetite, making you even hungrier than you were. And going overboard with the sweet stuff can put you at risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease and more.

Keeping your sugar intake low is an important part of keeping your body healthy.

How much sugar is too much?

The daily recommended intake is as follows:

  • 25 grams (6 teaspoons) for women and people assigned female at birth
  • 36 grams per day (9 teaspoons) for men and people assigned male at birth

“The average American eats about 68 grams of sugar per day,” Taylor says. “That can add up to as much as 28 pounds of body fat per year.”

We’re all human. And cutting out sweets tomorrow probably doesn’t top your to-do list. But lowering your intake can make a big difference. Taylor explains how to go about lowering your sugar consumption in a healthy way.

Best choice: fresh and frozen fruit

Coming in at the No. 1 place – to sweeten your food and drinks is by using fresh or frozen fruit.

Unlike packaged and baked sweets, which are full of empty calories, fruits are packed with nutritional benefits like fibre, vitamin C and potassium, along with natural sugar. That makes it an ideal sweetener, Taylor says.

Fruits are perfect for getting your fill of vitamins, antioxidants and other good-for-you compounds. So, they’ll add some sweet taste while also benefiting your whole-body health. Win-win.

Try sweetening oats by mixing in a banana or applesauce. Add blueberries to plain Greek yogurt. Sweeten smoothies with frozen fruit. Or infuse your water with a handful of sliced strawberries, some mint and cucumber, you can even add a few slices of lemon or lime.


Limit: refined sugar

Table sugar is inflammatory, high in calories and offers no nutritional benefit. It’s probably also hiding in some of your favorite foods.

“Most flavored granola bars, yogurts and cereals already contain around a tablespoon of added sugar per serving,” Taylor says. “Many sugary drinks contain more than three tablespoons of added sugar per serving.”

Limit: artificial sugars

Common artificial sweeteners include things like saccharin (Sweet n’ Low®), aspartame (Equal®) and sucralose (Splenda®).

Aspartame is dangerous and should be avoided at all times. It is hidden in foods, so read the labels and steer clear of it.

Artificial sweeteners can sound like a dream come true. All that sweet taste but no actual sugar and no (or very few) calories? Yes, please!

But artificial sweeteners come with concerns of their own.

  1. Just as with sugar, artificial sweeteners may cause you to crave more sweet and sugary foods.
  2. Artificial sweeteners often include sugar alcohols. One sugar alcohol commonly used in artificial sweeteners, erythritol has been linked to increased risk for heart attacks an stroke
  3. Some researchers suggest that artificial sweeteners may be linked to a range of other health issues. Those outcomes haven’t been validated across the board, though. Research is still ongoing.

Ready to cut out the sweets?

One thing is clear: No sugar or sugar substitute is healthy in excess.

Sugar is addicting. The more sugar you eat, the more you want. But cutting back — and cutting out — added sugar is possible.

How can you break your habit?

“Challenge yourself — your foods and beverages don’t always need to taste sweet,” Taylor encourages.

Start small. You don’t have to go cold turkey to get the benefits of a less-sugared-up diet.

  1. Decrease the sweetener in your coffee or tea by one teaspoon per week.
  2. Drink more water and fewer sodas, lemonades and sweet teas.
  3. Drink teas and infusions without sugar, they have a lovely flavour and worth getting used to.
  4. Dilute juices by mixing half your usual portion with water to retain some of the sweetness. Also do this when preparing drinks for chiildren.
  5. Start a habit of reading labels. Much of the sugar in the American diet is found in processed and sweetened pre-made food and beverages. When you start looking, you’ll realize all the places added sugar is lurking, and then can look for natural alternatives.

“The goal for most people shouldn’t be to get added sugar intake down to zero. That isn’t realistic,” Taylor states. But recognizing your sugar intake is a start. And knowing where you can turn for a healthier alternative to satisfy the occasional need for sweets can help keep your body healthy and your sweet tooth from taking over.




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