Sweeteners for a healthy New Year

I stopped drinking Diet Coke because it is sweetened with aspartame, which is an artificial sugar. I read that artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain by raising glucose levels in the body, which prompts the liver to turn excess glucose into body fat.

Problem: EVERYTHING has artificial sweetener. Coffee creamer, chewing gum, cough drops, yummy chocolate, applesauce… It is the most impossible thing to avoid.

Here’s another problem: I want to lose weight so I have to cut real sugar out of my diet. Not completely out, but I have to eat less of it. The hard part is that real sugar (in its many different forms) is also in everything. Ketchup, salad dressing, yummy chocolate again…

Ugh.

I am on a quest to satisfy my very rare sweet tooth without rotting out my teeth out or adding to my waist line.

Honey is one of my favorite sugar substitutes. Raw honey is best because it isn’t filtered or heated. Heating honey causes the healthy enzymes to break down and not really work. I have yet to substitute honey for sugar in any recipes, but it has become a regular addition to my first morning coffee. One tablespoon of raw honey contains about 60 calories, but I have never needed a whole tablespoon to sweeten my coffee. I use approximately a drop.

Maple syrup is another sweet option, which I am considering substituting for sugar in my baked goods. The straight-from-the-tree sap is sweeter than sugar with fewer calories and with more antioxidants and minerals than honey. According to Crown Maple Syrup, featured in an article on Women’s Health Magazine, Grade B Maple Syrup is the best to use for cooking and baking. For my love of maple syrup, I would gladly substitute it in place of sugar in all future baking.

And have you ever had Crown Royal Maple Finish? It tastes like breakfast. I love.

I will cut granulated sugar from my diet by swapping in honey and maple syrup in my morning coffee and in the sauces I make to add flavor to my meat dishes, such a honey mustard sauce I use on fish and pork and the steak sauce I have yet to make.

I will sugar, in general, out of my diet by making my own salad dressing, marinara sauce and ketchup. I have already mastered a tasty Italian vinaigrette (recipe coming!), and I will make my own ketchup and marinara sauce as soon as I run out of the stuff I have. No need to be wasteful.

How do you cut sugar out of your diet? Find more natural sweeteners from Prevention Magazine.