Sugar in the amounts Americans consume is linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, and possibly endocrine imbalances like thyroid or adrenal fatigue among other problems. Refined sweetners, especially in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup is in practically every convenience product in the grocery store, from yogurt to ketchup, ice cream to bologna.
If you’re looking to cut your consumption, avoiding all products with HFCS is a start. But it’s really hard to break the craving for something sweet. Our ancient ancestors had a sweet tooth. You can use more natural substitutes, however.
If you just can’t kick the soda habit, you can find sodas that use cane sugar rather than HFCS. Cane sugar is NOT refined white sugar. For fruit juices, check those labels! You’re looking for pure fruit juice. If it’s anything other than juice and water, put it back on the shelf. If you’re a tea or coffee drinker, you can use something else to sweeten your drink. And I don’t mean sugar substitutes. Trading refined sugar for something you cannot pronounce and have no idea what chemical compound it is or what it will do to you is worse. You may be able to pronounce aspartame, but what is it really? And “Equal”? There’s a reason they give it such a simple, catchy name. Look to see what it’s really made of. Can you pronounce it? There are several less refined, yet sweet natural products you can use without having to resort to chemicals.Try cane sugar or stevia.
Go through your cupboards. The first thing you may want to do is throw away anything that has an “ose” in it. High FructOSE Corn Syrup is easy to spot. But some less obvious hidden refined sugars would be glucose, dextrose, maltose, etc. Your body produces it’s own glucose so you don’t need to consume it. (Type 2 diabetes involves your body’s resistence to the insulin your pancreas produces. You want your pancreas to produce less insulin and your body to absorb and process it better.) BTW Corn syrup is not the same as HIGH FRUCTOSE corn syrup. Corn syrup undergoes a further refinement to make it HFCS. So if you have a recipe that calls for corn syrup (like popcorn balls) don’t freak too much. But don’t eat them every week either.
There is maple syrup, maple sugar and molasses. Ok. Maybe you don’t want to put that in your coffee or tea. But try it on your cereal. (And check the ingredients on your cereal for HFCS) You might consider using fresh fruit to sweeten your morning cereal too. If use use maple syrup instead of sugar in recipes, use the same amount as the amount of sugar the recipe calls for.
Some people like honey in their tea. Honey has minerals and enzymes. Raw organic honey is naturally solid and translucent. You should not be able to see through it, but light will come through it. Clear honey is not raw. It may have bits of the comb on the top of it. You can pick out those parts if you don’t want them in your tea and save them for when you’re baking. For baking use half the amount of sugar the recipe calls for. So if a recipe calls for a cup of sugar, only use half a cup of raw honey.
There is “cane juice”, “cane syrup” or even granulated cane sugar sometimes called Suconat. This is sweeter than refined sugar so only use about 1/2 of what you normally would.
Other possibilities are Turbinado Sugar, Stevia, Date Sugar. Stevia is made from an herb and doesn’t affect blood sugar levels. But it is extremely sweet so use only a drop or two in liquid form.