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Refined Sugar and Me Week 18 — Sugar Substitutes

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:

  1. Sugar substitutes tend to increase my cravings for sweet foods — and for food in general.
  2. Sugar substitutes aren’t real foods.
  3. 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:

And you can catch up on the whole Refined Sugar and Me series here.


Sunday 14th of May 2017

I use a blend of xylitol, erythirtol and stevia. All are natural. The blend together taste just like sugar and does not spike your blood sugar. Google THM gentle sweet recipe. Will not hinder weight loss at all :-)


Wednesday 3rd of May 2017

I don't really care for artificial sweeteners, except for some reason I do enjoy a diet pepsi sometimes! I try to limit it to an occasional treat though. I went through a period where I mostly cut out refined sugars (I've long since lapsed, mostly due to laziness), and I grew to love maple syrup during that time. I used to for muffins, smoothies, etc. I still love a bowl of oatmeal with a big dollop of peanut butter and a tiny drizzle of maple syrup. But, syrup is still sugar!


Tuesday 2nd of May 2017

Those baby/mini cucumbers are amazing. My kids favorite snack when it comes to veggies. If I am making a salad they immediately start grabbing them before I chop them up. I have been finding them on sale lately at Pete's market or shop and save market


Tuesday 2nd of May 2017

I'm with you Rachel, I don't add sugar to any of my foods. When I bake, I use over ripe bananas (naturally super sweet when overly ripe)or honey. No white processed sugar and especially not artificial sugar. Here is an excellent article from Dr. Mercola on the dangers of artificial sugar and how damaging they are to your body.


Tuesday 2nd of May 2017

I'm curious regarding the little baby cucumbers - - do you put anything on them - like a salad dressing or oil/vinegar?


Tuesday 2nd of May 2017

I have had them both by themselves and in salad -- they seem to be sweeter than the big cucumbers so they are fine plain. Mr. 10 has been eating them like crazy plain, too.

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