Welcome to week eighteen of our ongoing series about refined sugar & me in 2017! This week… well, who doesn’t hate weeks like this, but I seem to have gained back a pound. So, now I’m back to a total of 13 pounds down from when I first started avoiding most added sugars and processed foods at the end of December 2016.
My new favorite real food snack this week is these little baby cucumbers that have been on sale at ALDI, skin and all — we’ve gone through a couple of bags already, and I’m snacking on this plateful as I type! They’re so good, you guys…
Why I’m not using sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners
So I’ve had a couple of questions about why not just turn to sugar substitutes like Splenda, or even Stevia. Without even getting into the question of whether these are good for you or not, my reasoning for not using these is basically threefold:
- Sugar substitutes tend to increase my cravings for sweet foods — and for food in general.
- Sugar substitutes aren’t real foods.
- Sugar substitutes — Well, I don’t actually like them that much!
Let’s unpack these just a bit.
Sugar substitutes increase cravings
I’m not sure that this is true for everyone. Everyone is different and has to find what works for them — My Mom, for instance, swears by light slow churned “ice cream” and artificially sweetened yogurts. For me, however, I’ve found that eating foods sweetened with sugar substitutes tends to make me hungrier throughout the day and tends to make me want sweeter foods in general. So, it’s best that I just avoid them entirely.
Sugar substitutes aren’t real foods
Yes, even most Stevia-based sweeteners are heavily processed. When I have been using a little sugar (such as in stir-fry, for instance), I’d rather use real honey. I’m trying very hard to stick to real foods most of the time — see this week’s sugar free strawberries & whipped cream recipe, for example! This isn’t 100%, but it’s pretty close, so why throw that off track by adding artificial sweeteners into the mix?
If I start fooling my taste buds with sugar substitutes, that also again starts to throw off my expectations of how sweet foods should be. Right now, the added-sugar-free whipped cream in that strawberries & whipped cream recipe tastes fantastically sweet to me. I don’t need to be adding in Splenda or Truvia or whatever the flavor of the week might be to make it taste even sweeter.
Sugar substitutes — Well, I don’t care for them!
The only artificial sweetener I ever developed a taste for was the aspartame in Diet Coke, and since I broke the habit several years ago, even that tastes weirdly bitter to me. I don’t care for the taste of artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes in general, and most seem to me to have a very bitter aftertaste (especially Splenda). Why try to develop a taste for fake sweeteners just for the sake of having more sweet foods in my life?
Do you use sugar substitutes?
I’m curious: Do you guys use sugar substitutes when you’re trying to avoid added sugars in your life? Why or why not?
So, that’s me this week…
How are you doing on your own healthier eating plan so far — and what have you found that helps you stay on track?
Earlier installments in this series
Dip your toe in with these highlights:
- Week One: The Experiment Begins
- Week Three: By Any Other Name (+ a printable list of common names for sugar on ingredient lists)
- Week Eight: The Clean Plate Club
- Week Twelve: But What About the Children?
- Week Seventeen: Deserving Dessert
And you can catch up on the whole Refined Sugar and Me series here.