With more people looking to adopt a healthier diet, sugar replacements and sugar alternatives continue to grow in popularity. The health benefits of saying goodbye to refined sugar and sugar intake, in general, might be limitless. However, as people start moving away from refined sugars, they don’t often know how to satisfy their sweet cravings in a healthy way. That’s where healthy sugar replacements come in.
The Dangers of Overeating Sugar
The biggest issue around sugar has to do with the fact that most people don’t know they’re already overeating sugar. While the exact number is still up for debate, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 36 grams of added sugar per day. Here’s the thing, that’s close to the amount of added sugars you’ll find in a 12-ounce can of soda.
Yet, the average American consumes 71.14 grams every day. That’s close to 57 pounds of added sugar, per person, per year.
Promotes Weight Gain
It’s no surprise that consuming sugar leads to weight gain, as countless studies have found the connection. Not to mention, obesity and inflammation also lead to a higher risk of heart disease – a 38% greater risk to be exact.
Connection with Higher Risk of Cancer
What’s perhaps most scary about sugar is its connection to cancer. One large study found that added sugar was connected with increased risk of various cancers. Another study also found that people who consumed sweets more than three times per week, where almost twice as likely to develop cancer.
May Increase Risk of Depression
This is perhaps the least known fact about sugar. Consuming processed foods and a diet high in sugar may increase your chances of depression. To date, researchers believe sugar spikes and crashes are directly connected to inflammation, which can have a detrimental impact on mental health. One study found that men who consumed over 67 grams of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop depression than those who didn’t. Similar women studies found the same results.
Sugar Alternatives to Avoid
Ideally, a diet low in added sugars is your best defense against the detrimental effects sugar has on your body. However, for those who can’t stay away from sweeteners, it’s best to know which ones to avoid. These sugar alternatives are often marketed to consumers as healthier alternatives when they’re not.
While agave nectar has a low glycemic index score, it contains over 90% fructose, which can lead to blood sugar spikes. While agave nectar is sweeter than sugar, which means you could use less, it still contains no nutritional value.
Also known as palm sugar, coconut sugar looks like brown sugar, but it has smaller granules. It does contain fibers and other nutrients. However, coconut sugar is mainly sucrose, around 70-80% sucrose. Not to mention, sucrose mimics many of the bad aspects of sugar.
Although honey is high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it’s still very high in sugar. To get the most out of your honey, it needs to be organic and coming from the right flowers to receive the ultimate antioxidants and nutritional value you’d want in a sugar alternative.
The problem with maple syrup is its high quantities of sugar. Only ¼ cup contains about 50 grams of sugar. While maple syrup isn’t an unhealthy choice, it shouldn’t be looked at as an alternative for sugar.
A Note from GR8NESS
Cutting back on sugar is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make for your body. Once you realize everything that happens to your body during a sugar detox, you will never go back. Cutting refined sugars from your diet will help you hit the reset button of your body, which will help you start developing healthier habits.