Giving up on refined sugar (without adding artificial sweeteners) from your diet can be a game-changer if you are trying to lose weight and improve overall health in general. Eliminating white sugar is the most easiest and effective ways to shed some initial pounds without breaking a sweat. For most people who are born with that imaginary “sweet tooth,” giving up on sugary delights is next to impossible. It does not help that refined sugar is extremely addictive because each time you consume it, our brain signals the release of dopamine (which is a “feel-good” hormone) with effects similar to addictive drugs. In fact, sugar is added to almost everything that’s brought from outside into your kitchen – from colas to packaged fruit juices, breads to tomato ketcup, flavored Greek yogurt to packaged cereals, and the list goes on. Preparing your own meals at home is a good way to avoid unwanted empty calories which make their way into our body through refined sugar. It’s hard to keep off the extremely unhealthy refined white sugar, but there are different ways to actually satisfy your sweet tooth without refined sugar added so that you can keep your health and weight in check.
Why Sugar is not Good for Weight Loss and Health?
Refined sugar has too many negative effects on the body and it’s not just limited to weight gain and obesity. Here are some effects that sugar has on the body:
1. Sugar adds loads of empty calories to the body without adding any nutrition. One tablespoon sugar has around 48 calories and you are piling up so many calories through multiple cups of tea, coffee, fruit juices, lassi, lemonade, cola, chips, sweets, desserts, cupcakes, pastries, cakes, through the day, without even realizing that all the extra calories are getting stored as fat, especially around the abdominal area. When you see rapid gain in weight, you know “sugar” is the culprit.
2. Consuming too much sugar accelerates the ageing process.
3. It is the main reason women develop polycystic ovarian disease.
4. Causes hormonal imbalances.
5. Sugar can cause bloating and distended stomach.
6. Leaves you Fatigued and Tired. Right after a sugary meal, pancreas releases insulin to transfer glucose (after sugar breaks down into glucose molecules) to the cells. When there is insulin release, an individual may experience a rush of energy for a while, but once the sugar is used up, there is a sharp dip in the energy, and your body and brain will crave for more sugar to get that high. It’s a vicious circle and you would feel hungry in a short time.
7. Increases risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
15 Ways to Satisfy your Sweet Tooth without Refined Sugar:
1. Stevia leaves: Stevia comes in drops, tablets and in powder form, and it is now widely available. But the most safest form of stevia is in the form of dry leaves. Do not fall for artificial sweeteners that claim to contain stevia, just get the leaves and powder them for use.
2. Sweet potato: For sugar cravings, sweet potato is a healthier option, but do remember that it is rich in carbs, and consume it in moderation. You can boil or steam sweet potatoes or add them to smoothies to get a good dose of natural sugar.
3. Dry fruits like raisins: Raisins, which are rich in minerals too, can be used to get that sugar kick and can be used in cookies, and in oatmeal recipes, but make sure to use it sparingly, because they too have calories that add up.
4. Dry apricots: Just like raisins, dry apricots, too have natural sugars, and you can chop them up or rehydrate and puree them to add to your recipes.
5. Dates: Dates are very nutritious and contain a lot of vitamins and minerals. They do contain a good amount of calories but they are high in fiber and contain antioxidants that fight free radicals.
6. Cinnamon: This spice not only adds a bit of sweetness to your food, it would also help boost weight loss. Just remember to use it sparingly. Also, since it’s a spice, your taste buds would take some time getting used to it.
7. Jaggery: Consumption of jaggery helps you in flushing out toxins from the body, clearing out the airway, and since it’s rich in potassium, iron, and other minerals, it’s much better than refined sugar. When you experience low energy levels and can’t binge on sugar, try jaggery (Indian gud) or organic honey in your tea, coffee, juice etc to increase your energy levels.
8. Banana: If you haven’t tried, ripe bananas can replace sugar in smoothies and in homemade cookies and cakes.
9. Coconut Sugar/Coconut: This sugar is derived from coconuts and is nutritious compared to table sugar, also low on the glycemic index. Since coconut sugar is unrefined, it retains most of its vitamins and minerals, and doesn’t cause sudden fluctuations in blood sugar, however, diabetics are advised to consult their doctor before starting on coconut sugar as it has the same amount of calories like sugar. But if you compare both, sugar has empty calories and doesn’t have any nutritional value.
10. Honey: Honey is a natural sweetener which is produced by bees from the nectar of flowers. Raw honey contains lower amounts of fructose and is considered nature’s healthiest form of sweetener. Honey comes loaded with numerous nutrients and it has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory properties too. However, in human body, honey breaks down to glucose and fructose just as regular sugar, so it does spike insulin, so remember, even with honey, moderation is the key! Honey can make shakes, smoothies, juices, baked goods, sauces, and salad dressings taste amazing. Just pour your required amount into the stuff you want to sweeten up
11. Maple Syrup: There’s a very famous cleansing diet with lemon-cayenne pepper-maple syrup which is hailed as a slimming potion too. Maple syrup has more than 50 antioxidants and you can use it in place of refined sugar.
12. Vanilla Powder or Extract: We are not talking about synthetic vanilla essence, vanilla powder or extract is natural and has good amount of sugar, can be used in baking or in cookies.
13. Carrots: Just bite into a raw carrot or caramelize it for that hit of sweetness on the tongue.
14. Beetroot: Beetroot when caremalized and roasted releases natural sugars, which can be included in salad.
15. Roasted Vegetables: Roasting vegetables like onion, carrots, beetroot will bring out the natural sugar in them and will satisfy your sugar cravings.
That’s the reason why Rati Beauty diet programs completely eliminates refined sugar and uses these natural forms of sugar to help you lose weight.