Is All Sugar Created Equal?
Updated: Jun 16
For refined sugar substitutes, here is a list of natural sweeteners you can use. If it’s not listed here, I wouldn’t recommend it for the 7 day elimination diet.
The biggest mistake I see people make is thinking fruit sugar is the same as added sugar and they avoid fruit. It is not a problem to eat fruit.
If you eat your sugar with fiber (as in the form of real fruit) you slow down the absorption into your blood stream and the sugar is much less taxing on your body this way. Yay fruit!
The slower you have sugar, the better, since a sudden rush of the sweet stuff will spike your insulin levels. When your insulin is spiked, you can get breakouts, not to mention you’re signaling to your body that it’s time to store weight.
Think of insulin as the key that unlocks the door for fat to enter your cells. There is a reason why every other form of sugar is not one I recommend, but we won’t go into that here. The bottom line is this, if it didn’t exist prior to modern agriculture, your body has not yet adapted to be able to tolerate it.
If it’s a new sugar that boasts health claims, or people are saying it’s not damaging to your gut, or doesn’t cause your insulin to spike, etc., just remember one thing. New sugars and sugar substitutes that make healthy claims, or safety claims, have not yet been adequately studied.
So just like we didn’t know the effects of saccharin and aspartame ten years ago, we don’t really know the effects of xylitol, erythritol, FOS, Stevia, Agave, or any of these hybrid blends.
Additionally, most of the new sweeteners and substitutes have little to no nutritional benefit. Honey, maple syrup and molasses all have vitamins, minerals and health boosting benefits.
Honey can be an incredible health food when used in moderation and is one of my favorite ancient marvels. It is the only food that naturally preserves itself forever... wha? Yeah, that’s right!
Crystalized honey has even been found naturally preserved in Egyptian tombs. Thanks honeybees!
So here's my go-to list of natural, healthy sweeteners.
1. Raw, unfiltered, unprocessed honey is my favorite if you can’t tell. Local honey is best if you can find it. I get mine from my local health food store, farmers market or whole foods.
Please source this ethically and ask questions about how the bees are raised and if they’re exposed to pesticides. Find a local beekeeper and ask how you can help because our honeybees are in real danger of becoming extinct.
Sometimes it can be as simple as planting flowers and herbs that provided a much needed habitat for your local honeybees and making sure you eat organic.
2. Grade B Maple syrup. This is less filtered, processed or heated than grade A. If the syrup doesn’t say what grade it is, it is likely Grade A and you should keep on looking.
3. Real blackstrap molasses. It’s chocked full of minerals that help support your skin and health.
4. Foods like jam or applesauce sweetened with real fruit juice.
So enjoy these sweets and feel good about the benefits you are giving your body!