It is quite possible that you are eating hundreds of grams of sugar a day without even knowing it. A 16 oz Starbucks Frappuccino has 44 grams of sugar alone! Aside from the foods that first come to mind when we think of sugar – candy, donuts, cookies, pastries – sugar can also be found in healthy food options too. Clif bars, KIND bars, Luna bars, peanut butter, yogurt, orange juice, tomato sauce, and fresh fruit all have sugar too.
The first sugar refinery was built in New York City back in 1689 and since then, Americans have been adding sugar to everything. A number of negative health conditions, such as diabetes, have evolved since.
It is natural to crave something sweet. It is part of our human wiring to occasionally want something spicy, salty, sweet, bitter, and sour. The trick is to satisfy our natural craving with something that is healthier for your body.
Splenda, Sweet N Low, Equal, and Nutrasweet are the most common refined white sugars used daily to sweeten coffee, fruit, and everything in between. These are all artificial sweeteners, chemically created to give you that sweet taste. The synthetic compound, Splenda, was originally created to be used as a pesticide!
This should give you an idea how bad these artificial sweeteners are for you.
Instead of these sweeteners, you should try one of the many natural sugar alternatives out there. My favorite is agave sugar. It is made from the agave cactus and is actually sweeter than refined sugar. It is a liquid and is light in taste. A low-glycemic alternative, it is often used by diabetics, because it doesn’t cause that up and down roller coaster that you get from refined sugars, known as the “sugar high.” 1 tablespoon has 16 grams of carbohydrates and 16 grams of sugar.
Another white sugar substitute is good ol’ honey. Some vegans won’t consider using honey since it is a by product of bees. Sweeter than white sugar, it has minerals, enzymes, and vitamins. There are a variety of honey – dark, light, raw, and organic. So depending on which honey you buy, it may have different vitamin and mineral content.
There is also brown rice syrup – brown rice cooked until the starch has converted to maltose. It tastes like butterscotch and you would need a bit more than refined sugar to taste the sweetness.
There is also brown sugar, but that is usually white sugar mixed with molasses and can be unrefined or partially refined. Although molasses alone are good for you, particularly blackstrap molasses, brown sugar is not if it is made with white sugar.
So hopefully these give you some other nutritious options other than refined white sugar. The problem is finding them in your local coffee shop. Le Pain Quotidien offers agave sugar and even sells a bottle of it for around $10. Unfortunately Starbucks has yet to offer these natural sugar substitutes, but they do offer honey if you ask for it =).