By Audrey Sckoropad
It has become a common notion that refined sugar is not good for you. A lot of research shows that eliminating refined sugars from the diet not only contributes to weight loss, but can also reduce the risk of common health problems such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, digestive problems, autoimmune diseases and many others. As if that wasn’t reason enough, clearer skin, sharper memory, improved mood and more energy can be great positive side effects. So what are we waiting for?
The goal is not to eliminate all sources of carbohydrates, as they are a source of energy for the body. Rather, it is to focus on and include natural, unrefined sources. Often this means eliminating processed carbohydrate-rich products and added sugars, such as white sugar in tea, soft drinks, cakes, etc. Here are some other ways to minimize our consumption of refined sugar.
- Read the labels. It can be surprising to see how much sugar is added to many food products on the market. Even soy sauce can have some hidden inside! Even when buying plant-based milk, I always choose the unsweetened option.
- Avoid foods labeled low fat. For many people, seeing that a food is low in fat seems like a dream come true. The taste is likely the same as the original product, but they have lowered the fat content to appeal to people who want to lose weight. This can be misleading to a person. Because in reality, if there is little fat in these foods, it is because they have added sugar to make it taste good.
- Include omegas in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are a good part of any diet and there are a variety of plant foods that are good sources, including chia, flax, hemp and walnuts. Ensuring adequate consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help maintain balanced blood sugar levels and reduce cravings for sweeter foods. They are also generally high in fiber, which can help you feel full much longer than sugary foods.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners. They first appeared on the market in the 1950s promising sweetness with zero calories. 70 years later, there is a lot of research that points out that these alternative sweeteners are not the miracle products they were created to be. They don’t contain calories, it’s true, but they don’t leave you full. Another obvious problem is that artificial sweeteners can still fuel sugar addiction, as they train taste buds to want sweeter and sweeter foods.
- Prioritize natural sugars. If you want to go sugar-free, the best way is to start one meal at a time. See how you can modify your favorite meals with sugar-free recipes. For example, if your breakfast is a bowl of corn cereal (which is usually loaded with hidden sugars), try replacing it with organic pure oatmeal sprinkled with chia seeds and fresh fruit. Also, naturally sweetening with date puree, dried fruit or stevia can be a great alternative.
I enjoy baking desserts for my family and myself, prioritizing natural, unrefined sugars. Recently, I created a version of gluten-free, high-protein cookies sweetened with Mrs. Labriski’s date puree. Delicious!
Almond flour, chocolate and peanut butter cookies
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Portions : 12 biscuits
Cooking time: 13 minutes
- 250 mL (1 cup) almond flour
- 125 mL (½ cup) Mrs. Labriski’s date puree
- 30 mL (2 tbsp.) peanut butter
- 5 mL (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
- 45 mL (3 tablespoons) grape seed oil
- Pinch of salt
- 125 mL (½ cup) sugar-free dark chocolate, melted
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
- In a food processor, place all ingredients except the dark chocolate. Once it forms a ball, remove from processor. Make 12 balls with your hands.
- Spread them out on a cookie sheet, leaving a small distance between each ball. Using a fork, press down on them to spread them out a little to form a disk instead of a ball.
- Bake for 13 minutes.
- If desired, dip cookies in dark chocolate after they have cooled.