The Spell Cast By Sugar

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There was a video posted on youtube, by comedian Jimmy Kimmel where he asked parents to tell their kids that they ate all their candy and video tape their reaction. In a funny mean way, every kid burst into hysterical tears. We watch it, and we may think it’s a little funny (and yes, mean) but there is so much truth in there that it’s scary.

Sugar, my sweet coconut lovers, is a drug. A delicious one, but a drug all the same.  We get hooked as kinder and we stay on the substance all the live long day- only until we grow old enough to add caffeine to the mix. Getting off processed or even natural sweeteners is one sweet challenge.

Some argue that refined white sugar is the most addictive substance on this planet. You might even admit this yourself. You have a little, you want a little more and than you find yourself needing your daily fix, whether it be in your coffee or tea, soft drink, muffin, breakfast cereal, bread, pasta sauce, salad dressing, fruit juice or after dinner cookie. Sugar is in everything and we are consuming more than we think.

The average person now consumes roughly 135 pounds of sugar per year. Holy moly! A person’s weight in sugar? Hello obesity epidemic and hello cancer! Sugar is the number one fuel for those pesky cancer cells.

Now my sweet little nutritionista/o health food loving readers, let’s not think we are all high and mighty as we shake our heads in disbelief and munch down on our honey sweetened granola sitting in a bowl of cane-sugar sweetened almond milk, topped with apple juice sweetened cranberries and maybe we are washing it back with a carrot/beet/apple juice thinking (now get into a hoity toity English accent) I don’t eat refined sugar…

Granted, white sugar is more refined than some of the others but brown sugar and “Sugar in the raw” is not much different. And then we get into the “healthy” sugars. What is your sweetener of choice? Honey? Maple syrup? Molasses? Cane sugar? Date sugar? Beet sugar? Palm sugar? Coconut sugar? Agave?

We love the taste of sweetness. Sweets are the flavour of the heart. They make us feel good, feel love and often, when we are tired and crave that sweetness, foods that are high in sugar can give us a quick burst of energy. We are so hooked on the sweet taste that there are massive industries built up around this addiction. My take on artificial sweeteners is posted in length here. And then we have the more natural versions like xylitol and stevia. I use stevia on occasion but am still suspect of both for these reasons. 1) I don’t trust foods that start with an ‘X’ as in Xylitol and 2) stevia is a concentrated white powder than comes from a very green leaf.

But we like to have our cake and eat it too. We are hooked on sweets, want sugars that won’t affect our blood sugar levels, and we want to find healthier sweetener options.

Check out this page for 146 reasons sugar is slow death by sweeteness.

Meghan’s 10 Best Baking Tips For Cutting The Sugar

  • Use apple sauce in place of some of the oil and sweetener. Has a natural sweetness to it.
  • Speaking of natural sweetness, anything with coconut in it will also help add the sweetness.
  • Any recipe that calls for white sugar, cut the amount in half and replace with a natural sweetener.
  • Use low glycemic dried/powdered fruits such Lucuma Powder or banana sugar (a little harder to find though)
  • Mash up banana and include in place of some of the oil and sweetener.
  • Use pureed sweet potato to add moisture and sweetness.
  • Eat less sweet foods! Obvy. The less sweetened foods you eat, the sweeter things like apples and oranges become.

And to get you thinking, here are some of my fave, low sugar, sweet tasting treats.

ChocoChia Pudding

Berry Power Smoothie

Hot and Raw Apple Cider

Steamed Apples

Question Of The Day: What are your tips for reducing the edible sweetness in your life?

15 Responses to “The Spell Cast By Sugar”

  1. Kristin (Cook, Bake, Nibble)

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    My husband and I were actually talking about sugar yesterday. He commented on how, though having never been a smoker himself, he thinks quitting sugar nowadays would be harder than giving up cigarettes, because, as he said- it’s in EVERYTHING and you’re constantly bombarded with it in various forms, whereas cigarette ads are far and few between now, and they’re hidden in stores most often- sugar is everywhere. Why doesn’t the government put a ban on candy ads? They’re just as harmful, but that’s not the way we think in North America… Those tips are great- Your fab uplift detox is going to be amazing for folks looking to drop the sugar!

    Reply
  2. Shannon Cottrell

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    I was having super out of control sugar cravings and found that when I said “Bye-Bye” to pop (both regular and diet) I began to feel human again. I really stopped drinking it because I started getting intense heartburn, and the decreased sugar cravings was a pleasant bonus!

    Reply
  3. vanessa

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    I think it’s also important to address our emotions when we crave sugar. Sometimes the “sweetness” in life is what we’re really after, and not that cookie or muffin or ice cream. Find yourself a hug, not a drug! ;)

    Reply
  4. Ruby

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    Try adding fenugreek tea into your daily rituals, perhaps in place of something sweet you usually drink-and help your cravings go away. Also, stevia can be bought in it’s green, unprocessed, dried form.

    Reply
  5. Shannon

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    I have been cutting back on the sugar I use in recipes. I am determined not to buy any more white(evil) sugar. I use coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey. Any thoughts on truvia??

    Reply
  6. Erica

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    I laughed at the hoity toity part, that was awesome. It’s so true though, just switching the white stuff for a more natural version doesn’t mean we aren’t still consuming simple carbs (moderation being key I spose). That being said I’m trying to get a bunch of future ND classmates to take your sweet tooth healthy treats workshop with me in future!

    Reply
  7. K

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    what about succanat?

    Reply
  8. Kimberley Owen

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    I love having licorice root tea in the afternoons or evenings when I feel like something sweet. It has an intense sweetness of it’s own, is super delicious, calming and also many bonus health benefits of its own! :)

    Reply
  9. Amber

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    Hello There Meghan,

    I recently found your site and I was like WHAT – someone else with Crohn’s disease!!! I am now 34 and diagnosed at 26. Upon diagnosis, I immediately changed my diet (dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, soy free) opposed to taking the 9 pills day I was flippantly prescribed and was able to live medication free and have two healthy children! I recently started a food blog dedicated to alternative cooking after my years of research and holistic living.

    Just dropping in to say Hello and thank you for your fantastic blog, your knowledge and dedication to health and holistic healing!

    Have a beautiful, health-full day!
    Be Well,
    –Amber

    Reply
    • Meghan Telpner

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      Thanks for checking in! LOVE these stories as much as I imagine you do!

      Reply
  10. Molly Quinn

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    Do you ever cite credible, peer-reviewed studies or research for these claims you make? Saying stuff like “we all know…” is an obvious appeal to some false authority.

    Reply
  11. Sarah

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    Hi Meghan, I am a sugar addict, no doubt. I cut it out for awhile and then get drawn back in. I’m ok staying away from the refined stuff for the most part but indulge in whole dates/coconut sugar/raw honey sweetened treats, etc. My question to you is how much of the sweet stuff do you realistically eat on a daily/weekly basis. I trust your nutritionista ways. Because when I do eat it, which I admit is too much, but every time I feel the guilt. I want to know how much is ok in your opinion and how much you allow yourself. Thanks much!

    Reply
  12. Stacey

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    Hi Meghan! I recently discovered your site, and I love it! I know I’m late to this page (comments posted in 2011 give it away), but I tried the links to some of those delicious-looking recipes above, and none of them worked. It’s a problem I keep encountering on some of your posts. If you’re still providing these recipes to the world at large, can you redirect the links? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Meghan Telpner

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      Hi Stacey- We’re having some issues with the redirect on our links. We expect it to be fixed within the next few days. Sorry for this. I know it’s very challenging. In the meantime, we have updated the links in this post.

      Reply

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