This whole sugar free thing – good idea bad idea?

Ahh the demon sugar. It has been blamed for everything under the sun and a wee bit more just for fun. But what’s the go?

We all know that sugar is not an essential vitamin or mineral, we also know that too much of anything is not good. This includes sugar.

2014 was a big year for the no sugar brigade. I get that and I applaud the fact that we are all becoming more aware of what is in our food and how it effects our bodies. One thing I am not so keen on is confusion and also strictness of some no sugar diets. Anything highly restrictive sets people up to fail. Some people are A ok with restrictions and can happily cut everything out, others (ahem…me) need a bit of leeway.

So here my friends are some easier ways and products to transition some of sugar out of your life.

We should all know that anything all white is not so super. This includes bread, pasta, rice and sugar. It usually means that they have been overly processed and a lot if not all the nutrients have been taken out. So optional swap ins:

  • Coconut sugar (has vitamin and minerals like zinc. Also has inulin that is a prebiotic to help digestion)
  • Rapadura (pure sugar cane juice extracted through a press, then evaporated over a low heat to preserve the vitamins and minerals. It has no chemical agents or anti-caking agents added in)
  • Stevia (has no calories, is 200 times sweeter than sugar)
  • Erythritol (Sugar alcohol, almost no calories, 70% as sweet as sugar, doesn’t raise blood sugar levels).
  • Rice Malt Syrup (sweetener derived from brown rice, fructose free)
  • Maple syrup (made from the sap of maple trees, contains minerals and vitamins such as calcium, potassium, iron and zinc.)

I am a cake fiend (I would wrestle your child for the last piece of cake). In the real world that unfortunately means sugar. However I have had great success with baking with all of the above, another option is that you can also swap in apple sauce (pureed apples) instead of sugar 1:1 ratio, but remember you need to reduce the liquid by ¼ cup.

As with anything – do not over do it. Don’t go like Will Ferrel in the movie Elf (when he goes crazy and puts syrup with everything) and only have coconut sugar or maple syrup, or add in more sweeteners than you had before. These suggestions are to swap in when you would usually reach for white sugar.

By being a bit more mindful about where your sugar consumption is coming from you will be able to reduce how much you are having a little easier. Juice or soda with meals, energy drinks, sugar in your coffees, are all non essential sugar additions. Now I am not going to say stop eating them forever, just reduce the amount. Maybe have one can of soda a week, opt for more vegetable based juices if possible, and cut the sugar in coffee in half. Small changes that you can maintain and not feel ripped off about.

There are some pretty coolio companies around that can help you get started like the guys at Conscious Supply Company; check out their starter packs and bake my friends like your life depends on it …mine pretty much actually does.

by Skye Macfarlane

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