Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Sugar-Free Doesn’t Have to Mean Free of Taste

According to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report in July 2017, nearly one-third of Americans or 100 million people now suffer from diabetes or prediabetes, which was the number seven cause of death. What's even more staggering is the number of new cases of childhood diabetes.

Although it is not the only reason for the disease, most cases of diabetes can be avoided if people curb their use of sugar and carbohydrates. Some health experts estimate that more than half of the American population lives with chronic diseases brought on by overconsumption of refined sugar and carbohydrates.

Some studies even go so far as to call our overconsumption an addiction. If not, what would you call it? Many do not realize there's as much sugar and carbs in one chocolate chip cookie as in an entire bowl of oatmeal. When you reduce your carb and sugar intake, your body automatically starts burning your body's stored fat rather than those carbs. You will be more energetic and feel full longer.

Weening the Family Off Sugar & Carbs

Of course, it's not going to be easy. You are addicted after all, and there's no sense denying that fact. Just try going without sugar or carbs for a short time and see how long it takes before someone breaks into the cookie jar or snack bowl.

Jesica, from The Mommy Bunch, in her article, Mouth-Watering Sundae Upgrades for Even Better Ice Cream talks about how much we love ice cream, "In fact, the U.S. loves ice cream so much that a full 90% of households regularly indulge in the sweet, frozen treat." She discusses some excellent ideas about how to change how we eat ice cream, with ideas like edible bowls made of melted chocolate, toasted coconut toppings, etc.

Well, what if we take it one step further and leave out the ice cream and all that sugar? Now before you start going into withdrawals, hear me out. How about using frozen high-fat Greek yogurt mixed with sugar-free flavored syrup and small portions of diced fruits? They have several flavors you can use to make that yogurt taste marvelously delicious. My favorite is the French vanilla flavoring with sliced strawberries.

When choosing fruits, try to stay away from the bananas, mangos, and other high-sugar fruits. However, in small amounts, these are fine too. Instead, choose watermelon at only around seven grams of carbs per 100 grams. You could also try avocados, melons, and berries, especially strawberries, which are very sweet and low in carbs. Cutting up small chunks of avocado and sharp cheddar to mix into Greek yogurt and then topped with caramel flavor is very nice.

What Is Sugar-Free?

Manufacturers usually refer to sugar-free as free from added sugar. The World Health Organization recommends a diet which includes only 5 percent of processed or refined sugar. The problem is sugar hides in processed foods, and it's difficult to eliminate all processed foods, though we should keep it to a minimum. Processed foods are why more and more people are discovering their troubles with gluten.

Eliminating sugar from your diet does not mean you will be completely sugar-free. There are sugars in fruits and vegetables, which you will need in your diet. Plant photosynthesis creates sugar in fruits and vegetables, so it's nearly impossible to avoid. Lactose in dairy is a natural sugar. Maltose is found in cereals and beer, among other things, and very high in carbs, which should get minimized in a low-carb diet. However, what you want to avoid completely is refined sugar.

Sugar-free does not have to mean flavor free. There are lots of ways to flavor your food without adding table sugar or sucrose and fructose. Your body can break down most natural sugars, but only your liver can process fructose. Most natural sugars available in fruits and vegetables are necessary for the body's nutritional diet, so don't eliminate all sugars.

Likewise, turning to artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium, and other sugar substitutes have proven to have unhealthy side-effects too. The best course of action is to consult your physician and develop a safe and effective way to maintain body mass and nutrition without excessive amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners.

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