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These 4 Sugar Alternatives Limit Inflammation You’d Get from Regular Sugar
If you suffer from pain resulting from inflammation, you’ll probably know that consuming sugar only makes it worse. Fortunately, you can substitute with sugar alternatives to limit inflammation caused by regular sugar. This is one way you can help reduce inflammation naturally.
It might surprise you to hear that we actually need inflammation. It’s our bodies’ response to injury or infection due to bacteria, viruses etc. The inflammation makes our cells swell up; they become more receptive so that the body can send in defense forces to fight off the inflammatory “enemy”. This is known as acute inflammation, meaning it happens in episodes.
However, when your cells are swollen all the time, regardless of whether there’s an imminent threat or not, you are experiencing chronic inflammation. This can make you feel extremely miserable.
Ailments such as asthma, arthritis and even depression have been linked to inflammation. What you eat plays a big role in managing this condition; sugar, in particular, has been regularly identified as the leading culprit! (See our list of anti-inflammatory foods.)
If you have a sweet tooth (as I do) and love your candies, it can be a Herculean task to go cold turkey and eliminate sugar completely. Here’s where natural sugar alternatives will come in really handy.
The bad news is that – considering calories or the Glycemic Index – most of these sugar alternatives make little or no difference. However, they are very helpful when you want to avoid the inflammation that sugar causes.
Natural Sugar Alternatives
Here are my 4 favorite sugar alternatives:
1. Raw honey
I am referring now to unprocessed honey that goes straight from the beehive into the retail container. Most “store” types of honey have had sugar added to them, which is why they taste so sickly sweet.
Raw honey is sweet with a slightly tangy taste. It also has a more runny consistency, unlike the thicker kind that you’ll commonly find in supermarkets.
You can order raw honey from Amazon here.
Stevia is a rare sugar alternative because it provides no calories and does not raise your blood sugar. But, like honey, most types of stevia available in stores have been processed.
They may not contain added sugar but are often artificially sweetened. This turns the original leaf into a concoction of chemicals, which is anything but a natural alternative!
Don’t bother to consider processed stevia powders. Instead, look for dried, whole stevia leaves in your local health food store or buy them on Amazon. Love a nice, hot, sweet cup of coffee? Make it as you normally would but instead of using sugar, drop 2-3 stevia leaves in. Be careful not to go overboard; stevia in its natural form is very sweet.
If you love eating baked goods, get hold of some Medjool dates. They are big, soft, sweet and have a wonderful flavor. You could make a great coffee cake with just these dates to sweeten every slice.
You can also have one or two as a snack in the afternoon. Besides being a post-lunch treat, they boost your energy. Be careful not to consume too many because, in large amounts, even natural sugars like fructose can have an adverse effect on your body.
You can buy delicious Medjool dates from Amazon here.
4. Coconut Palm Sugar
Coconut palm sugar is made from the dry sap of the coconut tree. In some parts of Southeast Asia, after workers collect the sap, they put in bamboo to settle. It’s then sliced into pieces about 3 inches long. You can then buy this lovely, soft, brown sweetness in a compressed cake form.
Rural folk enjoy adding it to their very thick, very black coffee. They first have a sip and then take a bite from a small wedge of coconut sugar; that’s how they regulate their intake.
You can buy coconut palm sugar from the Health Ranger Store here.
Coconut sugar is by far a better alternative to highly-processed white sugar. One reason is that it scores lower on the Glycemic Index, hovering around 30-35. Conversely, white sugar can be 60 or 70. It also contains much less fructose. Since research on fructose (outside of fresh fruit) is still incomplete, you’d be better off sticking to sweeteners with lower GI levels.
Many people scoff at the idea of sugar alternatives, saying that one type of sweet is as good as another. Yet, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that cutting out sugar can improve several painful and debilitating medical conditions involving the curse of inflammation!
A simple Google search will show you just how many lives have been transformed by this simple lifestyle change. While the placebo effect is a powerful phenomenon, I doubt that the enormity of such lasting change can be solely attributed to it. Not everything lives in the imagination.
Your best bet is to try out natural sugar substitutes gradually, to decide which sugar alternatives limit inflammation most effectively for you. You can start cutting the sugar and reclaiming your youthful mobility today!