We hate to break it to you, but all the rumors you’ve heard about sugar are true. According to the data, added sugar is a bigger threat to your weight loss goals than fats (yes, fats). Consuming more than 25 to 38 grams of added sugar a day can also lead to heart disease, fatty livers, and diabetes. Noooo!
So, is the solution to just quit sugar altogether? Well, while that wouldn’t be a bad thing, it’s not very realistic. Almost every type of food or drink has some form of sugar in it. And if you’ve been consuming sugar regularly since childhood, it’s nearly impossible to kick the habit. What, oh, what is a sweet tooth to do?
SUGAR 101: NATURAL VS. REFINED
Our answer to that is simple. Stock up on foods that contain natural sugars over foods that contain refined sugars. Here’s the difference: natural sugars come with fiber and protein, while added sugars are just empty calories.
Natural sugars can be found in fruits (fructose) and dairy products (lactose). They’re a much better option to added sugars because they don’t just give you a sugary buzz and stop at that. You also get all the waistline-friendly nutrients they have to offer, like potassium from bananas and calcium from milk.
Meanwhile, when you drink, say, a can of regular cola, all you get is a whopping 40 grams of added sugars. Not only is that way above the recommended daily limit, it also causes rapid weight gain. Too much sugar leads to an insulin spike, which pulls glucose into fat cells. In short, when you ingest added sugars, your body turns it into fat instead of energy.
We know you don’t want that, so we went scouting for smarter options that won’t bloat you up. Below, find a quick guide to good sugars—the kind that sacrifice neither fitness nor flavor.
THE BETTER SUGARS MENU: WHAT TO EAT
1. COCONUT SUGAR
Its lower glycemic index and surprising nutrient content (vitamins! amino acids! antioxidants!) make coconut sugar a sweet, sweet dream. Plus, its dark, caramel-like flavor brings a distinct richness to whatever it’s added to. We suggest using it in your coffee for an earthier brew.
TRY: Greenlife Home of Coconut Products Organic Coconut Sugar, P150
Raw honey has long been touted as the fairest of all sweeteners. Its pure, unfiltered state means it retains the benefits that come with flower nectar. This makes it great for weight management, allergy relief, and as a natural antioxidant. Thanks for looking out, honey bees!
TRY: Milea Pure, Raw, Multi Floral, Wild Honey (285g), P390
3. DRIED FRUITS
If you can’t get your fruits fresh, this is the next best thing. Why? They’re freeze-dried at the peak of their ripeness. This means they keep not only their wealth of nutrients, but also their delightful, super-sweet taste. And before you ask, there’s no catch! It’s seriously just (really good) fruit.
TRY: Just Fruit Just Mango (25g), P170
4. POWDERED FRUIT EXTRACT
Okay, this one may not exactly count as a sugar substitute. But for a lot of people, processed fruit juices are the reason they can’t kick the saccharine stuff. Our advice? Go for sugar-free powdered fruit extract as a healthy compromise. This gives you all the refreshing flavor minus the head rush. Ain’t that sweet?
TRY: Philippine Pure Pineapple Fruit Powder (125g), P220
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