During the holidays, it seems like no matter where we go, we’re confronted with food. And not always healthy food, either! Going from office party to home to friends and family, this time of year tends to bring a never-ending wave of chocolate, cookies, cakes, pies, and so much more.
While the temptation to give in may be strong, it’s important to remember that sugar plays a big role in the health of our bodies. A recent study found that diets that contain a lot of sugar greatly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, even in healthy people. This might not come as a surprise to many of us, given the prevalence of heart disease and diabetes in our society.
What’s more is that eating too much sugar can cause inflammation throughout the body, which can send false signals about your health while potentially masking more serious health conditions.
What To Cut
While it might seem simple to cut sugar from your diet, it’s actually more complicated. Cutting sweets out, or even the use of sugar in baking or cooking, is just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, sugar has wound its way into many foods, both savory and sweet. That includes (but is not limited to) breads, soups, and low-fat diet foods. The best bet is to try to avoid as many pre-made processed foods as possible.
Additionally, we recommend avoiding highly processed artificial sweeteners. While it’s easy to find research both for and against their use, generally speaking artificial sweeteners only increase health risks, either directly or indirectly. Consult a nutritionist if health risks about eating them are a concern before using them as a sugar substitute.
What To Use In Place Of Sugar
Of course, it’s hard to cut things from a diet without replacing them. That’s why we recommend using natural, unprocessed and non-artificial sweeteners in your food. That includes:
- Agave Nectar
- Raw Sugar
- Raw Stevia
Yes, we included sugar and a sugar substitute on this list. The emphasis here is on raw. Raw sugars are harder to break down and therefore pass through the body’s digestive system faster.
Of course, avoiding treats this time of year is really hard. We get it! Try filling up on healthy sweets, such as fruit, or other foods before hitting up that holiday party.