Is Sugar Toxic?

Doesn't this picture portray what happens in your head when you think about sugar?! If you're like me, you get excited and happy thinking about dessert or something sweet. This picture just makes sugar looks so delicious. But this is a LIE! Don't believe it for one second that sugar will make you feel better because honestly it is like a drug to your body. There is research that proves your brain responds to sugar like it does a drug! How scary is that? The problem is that the more we eat, the less we feel the reward so we just eat MORE and MORE!

Here are some practical ways you can reduce sugar from your diet:
  •  Use fruit as a sweetener. Substitute some of the sugar and liquids in a recipe with ripe bananas, apple sauce, pineapple, or other fruit puree. Dried fruits like dates, raisins and figs add wonderful sweetness to foods.
  • Try Stevia. This herb, originally from South America, is extremely sweet by nature but without any calories or sugar-like effects on the body, and you can use as little as a couple drops to sweeten a mug of tea or a few teaspoons in a dessert. It does have a somewhat bitter aftertaste, depending on the type you use. Unrefined foods are always best, and you can buy Stevia as a simple dried powder.
  •   Use raw honey. Although it is still a sweetener and can be overused like anything, raw honey is full of nutrients, enzymes, and actually has many healing properties. It is lower glycemically than sugar, and many people who react to sugar strongly can eat honey without issue.
  • Cut back on the sugar in your recipes. Start to cut back just a bit, perhaps 1/5 or 1/6 the amount, then 1/4, 1/3, even 1/2. See at which point you really start to notice a difference. Over time, you will likely find that you enjoy the less-sweetened version!
  • Be purposeful about cutting meals out of your regular routine that include sugar. If you usually eat a lot of pancakes with syrup, or muffins, or even things like sweetened baked beans, cut those meals out and replace them with something more protein or veggie based instead.
  • Try other more complex flavors instead of just going with something sweet. Add fresh or frozen fruit, nuts, coconut, etc. to your oatmeal instead of just honey or brown sugar. Play around with various fresh fruits to add more natural sweetness to smoothies. Use nut butters instead of jam on toast or a sprinkle of cinnamon instead of butter on your sweet potato.
  • Brush your teeth right after eating a meal, so that you won't be tempted to eat something sugary and have to go and brush your teeth again.

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