The Big Question now is - What are the Sugar Solutions?
The best way to avoid the harmful effects of sugars and artificial sweeteners is to simply avoid eating them. Abstinence is one of those perfect sugar solutions.
However, if you plan on ever eating anything or enjoying your life at all, this is a pretty ridiculous solution - at least in my opinion. Sugar and sweeteners are everywhere and in almost everything.
My philosophies on life and eating and becoming healthy are:
Educate yourself - you don't need a PhD in nutrition or biology, but it never hurts to read a little and learn the truth beyond the manufacturers advertising pamphlet. Just by reading some pages on this website you are becoming more educated. And I suggest, if you have time, to read from more than one source. Don't trust everything you read even if it comes from a guy with initials after his name like MD or PhD.
Fix the Simple Stuff - Change is hard. Big changes seem next to impossible. Just like eliminating all sugar from your diet!! But for most of us, if we really take a look at our lives, there are little things we can do that can make a big difference in our health.
I personally stopped drinking soda and flavored waters and replaced them with filtered water. It took some time but now I don't crave a soda and water actually tastes good. (2 years ago anyone who knew me would not have believed this) I just had to make it a new habit. Make the effort and do something for 30 to 60 days and pretty soon you will see it doesn't take effort anymore, it is a habit - a good habit this time!
Don't Stress about it - It is OK to cheat a little here and there. There aren't too many perfect people out there who never make a mistake. It's OK. Go ahead and have that piece of cake or eat that not so good for you dinner when you go out or are on vacation. Enjoy your life and LIVE. And then do your best to make the best decisions you can for you and your family.
Just remember if you cut out one 20oz soda everyday for a week you cut out 455g of sugar and 1680 calories. That's a whole days supply of calories for some people. That is THE BIG deal - focus on what you have accomplished! (Just imagine if you cut out 2 sodas...)
Take your Vitamins - This is like the one your Mom used to say along with wearing clean underwear. But now I know that it is more than just a Mom thing it is actually an important step to maintaining your health.
Today's food supply is either lacking in nourishment or has had the nutrients removed during the food processing cycle. Just think about the orange that was picked several weeks early and shipped over a long distance and then stored in some warehouse for who knows how long before it even makes it to the store let alone your table. And don't forget about the pesticides and chemical fertilizers used to grow it in the first place. And oranges are the natural good for you food. What about the meal in a box or can that you just toss in the microwave. Just imagine what it has been through to get to your plate. Take a look at those ingredients and see how many you can't pronounce.
Food just doesn't have the nutrients it once did. It is full of harsh chemicals. Many of them strip your body of the vitamins and minerals it needs - like sugar with calcium. So not only are you not getting enough vitamins and minerals, but your food and the stress of modern life can be depleting what you do have PLUS you need extra nutrients so your body can handle the increased toxic load you are putting into your body with the food, air and water you come in contact with.
Vitamins won't fix a horrible diet but if you do what you can to eat right (see the above philosophies) and avoid the toxins when you can, vitamins can be that extra step that gives you a long and happy life.
If you still want a little of the sweet stuff and you are looking to get rid of the artificial and avoid sugar and corn syrup there are lots of other sugar solutions coming into the marketplace.
A few of these are:
There are many more and the health food shelves are filling fast with more offerings everyday.
Most of the sugar substitutes are still simple sugars just like corn syrup and cane sugar and will affect your body in pretty much the same way. An excess of anything is not good for you. THINK MODERATION!
So even though some of the new sugars are less processed and are safer it is still a good idea to educate yourself and learn more about them. Moderation I think is still the best plan.
And of course be wary of fancy packaging and slick advertising. Most companies are not looking out for you but for their bottom line. Sugar is a hot topic right now and everyone is trying to get you to jump to their product.
Stevia is one of the new alternatives that many people are turning to. It is new at least to us but it has been used for hundreds of years in other parts of the world.
Stevia comes from the leaves of the stevia rebaudiana plant. It is several hundred times sweeter than cane sugar and has virtually no calories. It doesn't seem to affect your blood sugar levels and it has been determined to be safe for humans to use.
Because of these facts, Stevia is becoming one of the more popular sugar replacements. It seems to have good benefits and to this point not many negatives.
A few things to be wary of when purchasing stevia. It is far sweeter than sugar so just a pinch will give you the sweetening equivalent of a teaspoon of sugar. Because of this fact it makes it more difficult to use stevia in baking. It doesn't give you the bulk that sugar does. But there are more cookbooks coming out to help with this problem.
Also be aware that with new products coming to market there will be a wide range of quality being produced. Stevia does require some processing to create the powder form you buy so different manufacturers can choose to cut corners and costs but also cut quality. Stevia is also being combined with more traditional sweeteners to give it more bulk. These traditional sugars will create the same problems with your health that they did before they were combined with stevia. So buyer beware...
My advice for your sugar solutions-
Your need and desire for sugar will diminish over time. Once you get past the first 30-60 days you will find that things you used to love will now taste way too sweet and not taste good. You will lose the cravings -
You won't miss the sugar, you will be too busy enjoying the new healthier you and the renewed energy in your life!