Many natural foods have some form of sugar in them, almost all plant-based foods have at least a little sugar, and fruits, of course, have quite a bit. While it may be virtually impossible to completely eliminate sugar from your diet there are many ways to marginalize your sugar intake and significantly reduce the amount of sugar you use when cooking.

Eliminating Added Sugar

However, it is definitely possible, and tasty, to eliminate added sugar. This is very much a health advantage, because reducing your overall sugar intake is not only an excellent way of markedly reducing your risk of diabetes, stabilizing your blood sugar, and managing your weight. It is also a good way of reducing the amount of processed food you eat.

Many processed foods contain added sugar, simply because adding sugar makes food taste sweeter and more palatable. However, many so-called diet foods have added sugar to mask the fact that eliminating fat from food reduces its appeal. Many “diet” foods have reduced fat, but are high in sugar and that is definitely not healthy.

Health Benefits of Sugar-Free Cooking

Cooking sugar-free has a number of health benefits, all of which are excellent reasons to start cutting the added sugar out of your life. If you reduce your sugar consumption, and in particular cut out foods with added sugar, you can look forward to some of the following health improvements:

Stabilization of blood sugar levels

When you routinely eat lots of added sugar (particularly as part of a low-fibre diet that includes lots of processed food), your blood sugar levels are constantly up and down, peaking right after you eat, and then quickly dipping to low levels as insulin floods your system to prompt your body to store the excess sugar. This is why you typically feel hungry soon after eating a high-sugar meal, insulin has cleared the sugar from your system, leaving your blood sugar levels very low.

The problem is, over time this constant peaking and dipping of blood sugar levels leads to insulin resistance and eventually, the development of diabetes. Eliminating excess sugar helps stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce insulin resistance, and prevent or delay the onset of this chronic disease.

Weight management benefits

With excess sugar gone from your diet, improved blood sugar control can help stabilize your weight, too. Insulin helps your body store blood sugar as fat, and when you eat a high-sugar meal the excess sugar is converted into fat quickly, due to the spike in insulin levels. In addition, those constant blood sugar highs and lows actually mean you end up eating more overall, because low blood sugar promotes binging. This means eliminating added sugar can actually help you reduce your weight (but remember that added sugar is not the only factor contributing to being overweight, so it is important to examine other factors of your diet too, such as lack of exercise, etc.).

Nutrition benefits

If you eliminate from your diet the foods that contain added sugar, it is likely that you are eliminating processed foods that do not contain much in the way of essential nutrients. Replace those foods with high-fibre fruits and vegetables, and healthy complex carbohydrates, and you will find that you not only improve your health by eliminating sugar, but also because your diet now includes lots of tasty, nutritious natural foods.

Oral health

Oral health is a benefit of a sugar-free diet that is often overlooked. A diet high in sugar promotes tooth decay by providing oral bacteria with plenty of the food they need to grow on teeth and gums. Tooth decay, gum disease, and cavities are problems that can arise very quickly on a sugar-rich diet, even with regular tooth-brushing. Eliminate the added sugar, keep up with a good oral care regime, and you will definitely benefit.

How to Cook Delicious Sugar-Free Food

Successfully cooking sugar-free, especially baking, simply was not possible two or three decades ago, but with the advent of products such as Splenda, it can be a breeze. The following are some quick tips for cooking with artificial sweeteners.

  • Don’t fully replace sugar with artificial sweetener in recipes that use a large amount of sugar. In these recipes, using 100% artificial sweetener can be problematic, as the sugar is not only providing sweetness; it’s also helping improve the texture of the food. In recipes such as fudge and angel food cake, for example, replace no more than half the sugar with artificial sweetener.
  • If you’re adding yeast, you need to add sugar. The yeast will not activate unless you add sugar, so yeast breads will not work unless you add some sugar. A good way of achieving this is to activate the yeast with sugar before adding it to the recipe. Up to half the remaining sugar in the recipe can be replaced with artificial sweetener.
  • Using artificial sweetener can affect baking times, so check your baked goods at least fifteen minutes early, and check cookies about five minutes early.

Jennifer Bailey is a freelance writer who writes about fitness, health, dieting and products that can help you lose weight such as Splenda.

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Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    You can also use sugar Substitutes instead of Artificial Sweeteners, such as Agave Nectar or Erythritol.

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