The right substitute for sweets: tips from a nutritionist

Nina KhodakovskayaLife
The right substitute for sweets: tips from a nutritionist

The topic of the material is probably close to many people, especially when a sharp change in temperature occurs. Then the body needs more calories and nutrients.

Sugar is the fastest source of energy. This is probably the only advantage of this product. Its disadvantages include the fact that sugar contains a small amount of "nutrients" (if it has any at all). By and large, these are "empty calories" that can provoke sharp surges in blood sugar and a sharp "drop" afterwards.

Speaking of foods that contain sugar, it should be noted that they stimulate the production of serotonin, the hormone of happiness and a real antidepressant. In addition, any stress like physical activity requires a lot of energy, primarily glucose. Therefore, when you are stressed, craving sweets is a normal desire of the body to help cope with the adverse effects.

However, sometimes the craving for sweets is not just a desire to recharge but physiology. It's a kind of addiction when you can't go a day without sweets. And there are quite understandable health reasons for this manifestation. These include anemia, circulatory disorders, chromium or magnesium deficiency, insulin resistance, and psychological dependence.

How exactly sugar harms the body:

  • Hyperglycemia. In other words, an increase in blood glucose levels. To utilize glucose, the pancreas begins to produce more insulin, which leads to its overload. Working at its limit, its strength is depleted, the level of glucose breakdown decreases, and this in turn can lead to the development of type II diabetes.
  • Acne. Consumption of large amounts of sugar affects insulin-like growth factor and testosterone metabolism, which in turn leads to excessive sebum and acne.
  • Development of cardiovascular diseases. In 2014, a study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, where scientists found that the risk of death from cardiovascular disease increases with regular consumption of sugar and sugary drinks, regardless of the weight of the subjects.
  • Triglycerides (fats) increase. This primarily applies to people with low physical activity. Elevated triglyceride levels are a major risk factor for atherosclerosis and obesity.
  • It has a negative effect on the psyche. The study (Knüppel et al) notes that sugar can affect various neurotransmitters in the brain and their receptors, in particular dopamine, thereby contributing to the formation of a sugar consumption habit.

So what exactly is sugar? All types of refined sugar - honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar - and all other foods that contain sugar. You should avoid sugar just as diabetics do as they realize that it is deadly for them. Only some manufacturers honestly call sugar what it is on their labels.

As a rule, any substance the name of which ends in "-ose" or has the root "saccharide" is sugar (sucrose, fructose, maltose, sorbitol, mannitol, monosaccharide or polysaccharide). Artificial sweeteners should also be eliminated from the diet or minimized.

If you still can't do without sweets, then you need to reduce their amount by as much as you can (instead of two candies, eat one, instead of 3 spoons of sugar, pour 1). You may be able to eliminate sugar altogether in the future. Choose foods with a low glycemic index as these foods do not increase glucose levels in the body as much. Replace unhealthy sweets (candy, cakes from the store) with more healthy ones, for example:

Monk Fruit

You probably haven't even heard of this plant. The extract of Siraitia grosvenorii is obtained from the pressed fruit of this plant. Siraitia grosvenorii is 100-250 times sweeter than sugar and contains zero calories. The sweetness of this fruit is given by unique antioxidants called mogrosides. These antioxidants have anti-inflammatory effects and are also thought to have anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties. But it has a very strange taste.

Fruits and berries

The healthiest and tastiest type of sweetness is undoubtedly fruit. However,, this does not mean that you can eat them all day. For example, grapes are forbidden during weight loss as they contain a lot of sugar, even if it is natural. But apricot, pear, apple, grapefruit, avocado and strawberries contain only 8 to 12 grams of carbohydrates, so they are great for a second breakfast, snack or hunger satisfaction.

Dried fruits

Dried fruit is a relative of fruit. In addition to replacing the taste of sweets, they also cleanse the body of toxins. Dried apricots, dates and prunes are pleasant in taste, soft in texture and naturally nutritious in structure.

However, be careful as dried fruits are treated with sulfites to make them beautiful and shiny. Sulfites can cause foodborne stomach disorders, allergies, and asthma attacks. In large quantities, they can destroy useful vitamins in the body (B1, E). And under the influence of acids, it can turn into a carcinogen, which is extremely dangerous for the body. Therefore, dried fruits should be soaked in hot water for several hours before consumption to remove these sulfites. Or you can buy the most natural dried fruits in trusted places. Remember that even though they are natural, they still contain a lot of sugar, so you should not abuse them.

Bitter chocolate

Chocolate with a high cocoa content can easily replace high-calorie sweets. In addition, cocoa can be used to make homemade desserts without sugar.

Good quality dark chocolate should contain 55 to 70% cocoa and up to 5% milk. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the healthier the chocolate.

Dark chocolate does not significantly increase sugar levels, but due to the presence of flavonoids, it has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system.

You can also use fruit chips, marshmallows, vegetable chips, carbohydrate bars with dates, nuts and protein as snacks. These snacks are much more satisfying and healthy.

We all need to reduce the amount of sugar and sweet foods in our diets. Of course, many foods contain sugar, but, for example, fruits contain much less sugar than the sweets we are used to. Therefore, if you really want to treat yourself to something tasty sometimes, you can do it, and even cook it at home. Still, everything is important in moderation!

Be healthy and beautiful!

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