We are overexposed to sugar, so the likelihood of cutting all sweets cold turkey is slim to none. Thankfully we have other options that deliver the sweet but require some recipe adjustments.
First, know what “sugar free” means. Food manufacturers can claim that a product is sugar free if it contains less than 1g of sugar per serving. One gram of sugar is 1/4 teaspoon. At that small of an amount, your blood sugar will likely not be affected, however, it’s still important to know.
This list is not all inclusive, but it’s the basics. If you’re a baker, then explore one of these alternatives so that you can continue to bake and eat during this time. If you only use sugar in your coffee, maybe consider one of these lower glycemic options, or just make sure that you’re enjoying your coffee with foods that will help stabilize your blood sugar like fats and proteins.
The vast majority of sugar that we consume is in products that are already made. So if you eat a lot of granola, cereal, junk food snacks, store-bought desserts, etc., you should find healthier options at a health food store or consider making them yourself using one of the sweeteners below.
Alternative Sugars & What To Avoid
Molasses, maple syrup (unless sugar free), date sugar, beet sugar and honey all effect blood sugar the same (with slight variation). These should be avoided if possible.
Raw honey (preferably from local beekeeper) and coconut sugar are better options since they have about half of the affect (glycemic index) that table sugar has.
Agave is a personal favorite. It has one-fourth the affect (glycemic index) that table sugar does, and two different tastes. The light syrup has a mild honey taste and the dark tastes similar to dark brown sugar. But since it’s a liquid, you can’t just substitute it for sugar when baking. (Sugar provides stability and structure in baked goods, and it absorbs moisture. Agave cannot perform these functions.)
Then there are sweeteners that have ZERO effect like Stevia and Monkfruit. These are natural sweeteners and you can find them at your local health food store or online. These have distinct tastes and they don’t always measure one-for-one to replace sugar. Most alternative sweeteners have conversion charts on their packaging. The baking isle has a few options like Truvia, and health stores have more options and brands.
Erythritol and Xylitol are commonly known sugar alcohols (artificial sweeteners) that also claim to have zero affect on blood sugar. Be aware that some people are affected by sugar alcohols like these. You won’t know until you test your blood sugar, so in every case it’s better to use a natural sweetener over a sugar alcohol.