We all know that sweets and junk food are bad for us; they make us gain weight, they decay our teeth, they slow down our immune system, and damage our organs over time. But the reason our body craves sweets is not just because the sugar, contrary to popular belief. We actually crave it for the calories it provides, and the number of calories and thus instant energy already available (sugar is the base form of energy and easy for our body to use but is the shortest lasting type of energy too).
When we were cavemen it made sense for our bodies to get all the sugar it could, because a little bit from a fruit for example, would give us a boost while we continue our search for food, and our body would want us to get all that we can from it because sugar would be found in limited amounts in nature. There is a wide-range of food however that is sweet or has a lot of flavor but not any sugar in it.
Today we will be going over some tasty alternatives to soft drinks, sugar, candy, and junk food snacks. However, for many foods, it will be hard to find a 1:1 replacement, but it may be possible to find an alternative. For example, if you really like ice cream, but do not like all the fat and sugar that is in the food, unless you buy sugar free ice cream (which still has sugar alternatives and dairy), there isn’t necessarily a 1 to 1 replacement. But there are some alternatives. The best one is using cool whip, putting it in the freezer, and using that as your sweet snack you can eat out of a bowl.
Cinnamon is also something that has natural sweetness, but no sugar at all. In fact, cinnamon is actually an antioxidant, meaning that it isn’t just health neutral, but it is a net positive. Cinnamon is not as naturally sweet as sugar, so it is hard to use it as a direct replacement in instances where you would have used sugar. Like you can’t replace sugar with cinnamon in your brownie recipe. But you can make things like sweet potato fries and put cinnamon on it, or when you make toast you can put cinnamon on top of them. It is great for pastries and bread food, and more.
Unsweetened tea and herbal teas are also a great way to get a flavored drink that isn’t full of sugar. Brisk Iced Tea and Gatorade, while many may think they are healthy, are actually full of sugar. Ultimately water is the best, but Crystal Lite is generally low in sugar, and fine for even diabetics. Some Diet Sodas are still full of calories; they just use sugar alternatives to get around it.
In future articles we will be going over more replacements for junk food and candy, which can be a hard one to find alternatives for in general.