You’ve tried cutting carbs, the soup diet and even shakes. Now might be the time to eliminate sugar in your bid to get healthy. We’re showing you what to cut out, what you can substitute, and we even have an ultra-yummy sugar-free granola recipe!
There’s a bad word on everyone’s lips at the moment and it’s “sugar”. People wanting to lose weight, gain more energy, or have a more focused mind are all assigning themselves to a sugar-free existence.
It might be easy to lump this with all the other “cut it out” diets (carbs, fats, etc), however, on closer inspection you may soon realise that sugar is actually contained in a lot of foods — some obvious and some hidden. So maybe this isn’t just another fad but a new way of looking at your overall diet.
There are two types of broadly-termed sugars:
- Natural sugars — such as those found in fruits (fructose) and vegetables and diary (lactose)
- Added (processed) sugars — which are used to sweeten food and drinks like cakes, biscuits, soft drink etc.
Sugar is a carbohydrate and when digested becomes a source of energy (glucose). When eaten in excess or when the “energy” supply isn’t used (lack of activity) it turns into fat.
Victoria’s Better Health Channel‘s fact page on sugar explains that, “Too much sugar in the diet can contribute to health problems including obesity and tooth decay. Refined (or processed) sugar provides a quick, simple source of energy but it doesn’t contain other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.”
What to cut out
Generally speaking, to cut back on your sugar consumption you should avoid:
- White bread products and pastas
- Cakes, pastries, sweets, candy
- Chips (potato and corn varities) and other white flour products
- Drinks with added sugar, including soft drinks, fruit juices and beer
- Fruit preserved in syrups and jams or jellies
- Fruit and vegetables with a high fructose level such as pineapple and parsnip
- Some cured meats (preserved with a combination of salt and sugar)
Of course when you start cutting out something, you crave it. Writer, media personality and now the “I Quit Sugar” guru, Sarah Wilson, says on her site, “One of the main tricks I share for quitting sugar is to get used to using other sweeteners (but only healthy ones).”
Wilson offers many great tips and recipes on her blog and in her books, including some of these alternatives:
- Crushed berries
- Vanilla powder
- Coconut (flesh, flakes and oil)
- Licorice root tea
- Almond milk
She was happy to share the following sugar-free recipe with SheKnows readers.
Makes 5 cups
- 4–5 tablespoons of coconut oil (or butter), melted
- 3 cups of coconut flakes
- 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)
- 2 cups of almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, pepitas (preferably activated ones), chopped roughly
- 3 tablespoons of rice malt syrup (optional; I personally don’t sweeten my granola at all — perhaps do half a batch with, half without and see what you like)
- Preheat oven to 120 degrees Celsius. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, spread evenly on baking paper on a tray and bake for about 15–20 minutes, until golden, turning halfway.
- When golden (I like to make mine quite dark; the darker it is, the crunchier it is), remove and cool immediately to get it crispy.
(Full permission given to reproduce this recipe and image from Sarah Wilson’s blog.)