You can’t think about Christmas without picturing all of the yummy pretty treats that come with it. Don’t worry, I am not going to tell you to give up those tasty fancy treats. Instead, I will give you some options to help you make healthier choices when deciding which treat to taste and what ingredients to use while you’re baking.
Let’s start with that white powdery stuff that fills the air this time of year, not snow, but sugar. Whether you are a health conscious baker or just trying not to pack on 10 extra pounds, you might be wondering if you should use real sugar or sugar substitutes. This is a very good question, and as eating healthier becomes trendy marketers are also riding the wave. The question to answer is, “what is in different sugar substitutes?”.
Though these many types of sugars taste sweet, they aren’t all very nice to your body. Their bullying goes far beyond the extra inches and blood sugar spikes. Certain sugars effect your immune system, sleep cycle, and moods. Many of these types of sweeteners are advertised as healthier options and used as “Sugar Substitutes”.
You are probably familiar with pink, yellow, and blue packets on restaurant tables and coffee stands, but do you know what is in them? They are chemical sweeteners that many holistic practitioners call TOXIC. Though they make claim to not raise blood sugar levels, your body recognizes them as sugar, and it can perpetuate more sugar cravings. I will give you a quick breakdown of the tricolor packets.
Yellow – Splenda or a substitute brand – Used in most sugar free ice creams. Suggested to be OK in small amounts.
Pink – Saccharine – Also, considered safe in moderation by the FDA.
Aspartame – Equal / NutraSweet – Found in most diet drinks. This one should be avoided, and it is surprising that it has received FDA approval. Aspartame has nearly 100 associated side effects, including brain fog, migraine headaches, skin allergies, insomnia, pain and inflammation, not to mention the ability to cross the blood brain barrier and add to neurological impairments.
Stevia is an excellent safe and natural sugar substitute used worldwide for decades. Stevia comes from the stevia plant and is about 200 / 300 times sweeter than sugar but with zero calories. It is one of the safest sugar substitutes and becoming widely available in most stores. You can buy the smaller packets and carry them with you for your coffee runs or the larger bags for a 1 to 1 ratio in baking. You can also purchase it in liquid droppers for perfect mixture in smoothies or liquids. Pay attention to the dosing and start with a couple of drops than add more if necessary. Different brands have a slightly different taste due to processing. Others may have a slight noticeable after taste, especially at first. Some respected brands are Truvia and PureVia.
You can also find stevia/sugar blends which still reduce the sugar calories without too much of a noticeable taste difference.
Try to sub out white flour for almond flour when baking to decrease the after effects on blood sugar levels. The key is to eat real food and to educate yourself on what is in the food you if you haven’t prepared it yourself. For more on whats in your food you can check out the Keys2Eating A Guide on How to Read Food Labels ebook on Amazon.
Happy holidays from our homes to yours!