5 Healthy Sugar Fixes

5 Healthy Sugar Fixes

Sugar is a pretty frightening substance. If you haven’t spent the last century under a rock, you’re likely aware of this fact. And yet, while most of us know sugar is unhealthful, few us avoid it entirely. So then, why do we consistently ignore our better judgment and eat sugar?

Ignorance could be an explanation—while most of us know we shouldn’t be eating ice cream for lunch and cake for dinner, few of us know exactly why. Just what does sugar do to our bodies, after all, that’s so very bad?

Heavy sugar intake is directly linked to rapid weight gain, insulin resistance, weakened bones, chronic fatigue, tooth decay, obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, Metabolic Syndrome, cancer, and Type II Diabetes. In fact, according to a study published in the August 2004 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, people who regularly drink sugary beverages have an 83% higher risk of developing Type II Diabetes.

Plenty of people know these statistics and continue to eat sugar. So knowing these hard facts, why would anyone continue to eat sugar? One reason: Sugar tastes good. Another: It’s addictive. Like many addictive drugs, sugar releases an enormous amount of dopamine in the brain, which feels nice. The last, and most important reason: There’s no reason to stop eating sugar, as long as you eat it healthily. Dessert is an essential part of life—and fine in moderation. You don’t stop riding a bicycle because of the small danger of falling—you wear a helmet.

So if you are like most people, and don’t want to stop eating sugar altogether, just keep your intake small and infrequent and look for the healthiest sources. In your search, keep these in mind:

1. Fruit

Fruit is perhaps the best sugar fix. Fruit is filling, fiber-rich and packed with a variety of nutrients, minerals and antioxidants. Another benefit: with so many options, you’ll never get bored.

2. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is full of antioxidants and contains nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium. Furthermore, the natural sweetener has been shown to promote both heart and prostate health.

3. Honey

Honey has a low glycemic index and, therefore, is a reasonable choice for anyone worried about weight. It is also, like maple syrup and fruit, packed with antioxidants.

4. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate (chocolate with more than 70 percent cacao) has little to none of the added fat and sugar of milk chocolate. Studies suggest it stabilizes the body’s level of cortisol, a hormone that helps regulate stress.

5. Molasses

Molasses contains, among other nutrients, manganese, copper, iron, and calcium. It is also, per serving, lower in sugar than most refined options.