Outsmart your sugar cravings…
It’s common knowledge at this point that sugar is bad for your health. In addition to causing a whole host of long term health problems, sugar impacts our day-to-day lives in ways we don’t even realize. It affects our emotions, our behaviors, our mental health… Who would have thought that those pretty little crystals could be so complicated?
But thanks to the internet, there are millions of resources accessible to you that list out in depth the negative health effects of sugar. So rather than just being another one in a million, I want to give you guys a different resource.
Here you’ll find a guide to my top six best tasting, easily accessible sweet treat substitutes. A few of these things things can be found at your local Whole Foods, but everything on this list can be purchased online as well (again, thank you Internet!). Also, please note that this is NOT a sponsored post. None of these companies are paying me to write this, nor do they have any clue that I’m writing it. These are my genuine opinions about each product written out in hopes that you’ll find some of these items useful to your health and wellness journey.
With that said, let’s dive in…
- Erythritol – Even though this ingredient looks like white sugar, don’t be fooled. Erythritol is a great sugar substitute for baking, putting in your coffee, pretty much wherever you’d normally add sugar to your diet. It’s a naturally occuring sugar-alcohol – which just means it’s a substance that occurs organically in nature or is a byproduct of other sugars. Erythritol specifically is a byproduct of fermenting the glucose in corn-starch, which is why it has about 6% of the calories as compared to regular sugar, but still maintains 70% of the sweet taste.
Pro tip: Put a cup of erythritol in a blender/food processor and turn it into powdered sugar.
- Lily’s Chocolate – I could – and have – gushed about Lily’s Chocolate endlessly, so I am going to try and keep this brief. It tastes great, there’s a lot of variety, and it has about 1/10 the amount of sugar than in a regular chocolate bar. The trick to Lily’s is that it’s sweetened with Stevia (coming up in a second) which is why the product can imitate the sweetness of a regular chocolate bar without being nearly as detrimental to your health. However, I think it’s important to note that the fat content of these bars is pretty high, which makes this product is ideal for people on a low-carb, high-fat diet. To people on a higher carb/protein diet, this is probably best used as a once in awhile indulgence.
- ChocZero Syrup – ChocZero is another great brand that developed with the rise of natural sugar alternatives. Though they were originally known for their sugar-free chocolates (which I haven’t tried, yet), but they have since launched a line of syrups that will rival your Canadian Maple. I like Choczero because they are sugar-free through and through. They use a plant called monkfruit – which contains another naturally sweet molecule called mogrosides – to create that fantastic, sickly-sweet syrupy taste. I use this syrup to top off my coconut flour pancakes, as well as a dipping sauce for my bacon. And if you’ve never tried syrup-dipped bacon – well, then there’s a bonus innovation to take away.
- SmartSweets – Similar to Lily’s, I’m going to try not to fawn over these. If you’re a candy-eater that’s attempting to wean off your sugar addiction, then SmartSweets are for you. In essence, it’s the best low-sugar candy I’ve been able to find. With only 3 grams of sugar per packet, SmartSweets literally taste like gummy bears. I’ve always loved tart, sour candies, so when I found SmartSweets in the baking aisle at my local Whole Foods, I fell in love. The one downside is that they’re pretty expensive for the amount you get in a packet. But if you sign up for their newsletter, they are always running sales and promotions on their products. Plus, the price tag might actually help keep you from over-indulging.
- Zevia – It was total kismet that I came across Zevia for the first time. I was googling Keto-friendly drinks one day, and a recipe for Zevia Cream Soda popped up on the screen. Honestly, I have never been much of a soda drinker, but Zevia has proved to be a great naturally-sweetened product to use when my sugar cravings come around. It’s sweetened with Stevia (coming up next, I promise) which is why some people have actually told me it tastes sweeter than regular soda. Plus, it comes in a myriad of flavors that mimic some of your favorite classic cola drinks.
Important to note: It may not be great for late-night cravings due to the caffeine content. I’ve definitely experienced being up till 1:00am on a “Zevia buzz.”
- Stevia – I want to start by pointing out that this is an obilgatory item. I couldn’t write this article without mentioning Stevia, but the honest truth is that I don’t actually like using Stevia as an added sweetener. Weird, because a lot of the items I mentioned above use Stevia in their products. These companies are probably just doing it better it than I am, because whenever I use it in my baking I don’t like the end result.That being said, there are a lot of benefits to using Stevia. Similar to monkfruit, Stevia is another plant whose leaves produce a naturally sweet molecule called glycosides. Stevia is actually said to be about 100x – up to 200x – sweeter than regular sugar. And, it has zero calories! So even though I don’t enjoy using it, I highly encourage you to try it out and see what you think for yourselves. Just because my baking skills don’t do it justice, doesn’t mean Stevia doesn’t deserve credit as a great sugar alternative.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite sugar-ey substitutes. Now comment below and tell me yours! Until next time… – Eva