A Guide To Natural Sugars

We all know cutting sugar out of your diet can only be a good thing but saying goodbye to the sweet stuff is no mean feat. If you’re on the fence then find some impetus from Get The Gloss, who have enlisted the help of celebrity nutritionist Amelia Freer. Amelia has laid out the key facts on why sugar is bad for you as well as offering up four natural alternatives for those who don’t feel like they can't quite kick the sugar-high habit. Ladies, take note.

 

SUGAR, IS SUGAR… IS SUGAR

All forms of natural sugar (honey, maple syrup, fruit, coconut nectar, date puree, raw sugar), impact blood glucose levels to some extent and lead to the release of insulin. The hormone insulin instructs the body to move glucose from the bloodstream and into the cells where it is either used for energy or converted into fat for storage. No matter how natural or nutrient-rich a sugar may be, the body responds in much the same way. For this reason, all sugars should be used in moderation, regardless of their source.

PHASING SUGAR OUT

Reducing both obvious and hidden sugars from the diet is one of the most effective things we can do for our health. Going ‘cold turkey’ can be tough for a few weeks but before long, the body adjusts and we become better at controlling our blood sugars, which thankfully means fewer cravings. Also, our taste buds adjust and we are able to appreciate the flavour and variation of whole foods much more.

NO SWEETENER IS 100% HEALTHY

Low calorie ‘natural’ sweeteners (such as stevia or xylitol) are a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing - they aren’t quite as harmless as you might think. To beat sugar cravings and take control of your blood sugars, you really want to take a break from all sweeteners, to allow your taste buds, and brain, to adjust.

For more information, visit GetTheGloss.com

 

THE BEST ALTERNATIVES


Organic Raw Active Wild Flower Honey, £11.99 | Tiana

What is it: Raw honey has more nutritional and health benefits than more highly-processed honeys on the market. It has a GI of 50, and is roughly 50% fructose (a 50:50 ratio of fructose to glucose is easier for the body to metabolise than a higher fructose content product).
Why it's a good option: Honey is a natural sweetener and has moderate nutritional benefit providing vitamins such as B6 and C. Some types of honey, such as Manuka or those which are not pasteurised, have additional antibacterial benefits if used raw. Many people find eating a local honey around hayfever season can reduce their symptoms, too.


Organic Palmyra Jaggery, £8.65 | Planet Organic

What is it: Palmyra Jaggery is the crystallised nectar collected from the flower of the palmyra palm, grown in Sri Lanka and India.
Why it's a good option: Palmyra jaggery is a traditional ayurvedic ingredient that is nutrient dense – one tablespoon provides 133% of daily vitamin B12 requirement, 222% of vitamin B6 and 665% of your vitamin B1. It also has a glycaemic index of 40, making it less disruptive to blood sugar levels – by comparison, white sugar has a GI of 100 and no added nutritional benefit.
When to use it: Use it as a direct substitute for recipes that call for sugar like cakes and sweet treats. In many cases you can halve the amount of sugar being suggested in the recipe.


100% Pure Canadian Maple Syrup, £5.99 | Buckwud

What is it: Maple syrup is the concentrated sap of the Canadian maple tree and it is lower in calories and has less fructose content than honey.
Why it's a good option: It’s a natural sugar which has some nutritional value, providing minerals such as iron, zinc, manganese and potassium. However, it is lower in vitamins than honey.


100% Natural Coconut Syrup, £5.95 | Coconut Merchant

What is it: The crystallised nectar collected from the flower of the coconut palm.
Why it's a good option: A natural sugar which is similar to palmyra jaggery but not quite as nutritious – low GI (30-35) and a source of nutrients such as vitamin C, B2, B3, iron and magnesium. It is a little more affordable and more readily available than palmyra jaggery – making it ideal for everyday use.
When to use it: Use it as a direct substitute for recipes that call for sugar – again, the amount you use can often be halved from what the recipe states.

 

Inspiration Credits: NinaFood.com, IflScience.com, WoodMapleSyrup.com, MakeupAndBeauty.com