Although sugar in its original form is natural, refined sugars are not the same as the ones in fruits and veg, and they can wreak havoc on your body.
Refined sugar is high in calories without the fiber or protein to satiate you that plant based whole food sugars have.
Added sugar puts you on a blood sugar rollercoaster ride, which leaves you feeling pretty gross; anxious or exhausted, headachy, nauseous, lightheaded and faint, a little loopy, or all of the above and more.
It also does a number on your microbiome (more about microbiome and gut health here), leaches vitamins and minerals from your body, suppresses your immune system, contributes to inflammation that causes joint pain, acne, autoimmune disorder and flare-ups, as well as another inflammation-related disease, is associated with cancer, contributes to obesity, insulin resistance and type two diabetes and much much more.
The tricky part isn’t just that it’s in all kinds of beautiful and tempting sweet treats and desserts, added sugar is often hiding in places that you might never suspect it, like fruit juices, pasta sauces, salad dressing, canned fruit, canned soups, and many savoury pre-made and processed foods. This is one reason why it’s really important to read labels very carefully when buying pre-packaged foods.
Dates/Date Sugar/Date Puree
Dates are probably one of the healthiest sweeteners, and one of my favourite ways to sweeten cakes, pie crusts, puddings and nice cream. I usually use Medjool dates because they’re nice and soft, and easy to work with. Date Sugar isn’t actually sugar, it’s just dried ground dates, so they’re great if you need a dry sweetener. Added bonus: Dates are great for you! They offer a significant amount of fibre and a variety of vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, B vitamins, copper, and magnesium.
Unsweetened applesauce makes a great sugar substitute for baking and adds moisture which is especially nice in cakes and loaves.
If have to like the flavor of bananas for this one but you do, you’re in luck! They’re rich in fiber and potassium and they’re nice and creamy, which is perfect for puddings and nice cream!
Figs are rich in calcium and iron but can sometimes be a little grainy so it depends on what you’re using them for.
If you love cold drinks, freeze your bananas and add them to your smoothies as a natural sweetener.