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The 411 on Sugar Substitutes

Cravings say a lot about our moment to moment states of health and wellbeing. Cravings teach us what we’re deficient in, and can be excellent catalysts for a healthier, more abundant lifestyle. Balance, diversity, and an abundance of plant-based foods are key to warding off unnecessary cravings for things such as, say, sugar. And since it’s about nutrients — never calories — then it’s no wonder we’re always hungry when filling up on diet sodas, fat-free yogurts, and pre-processed empty calories. Something always feels missing. When we’re stuck in that vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting and restriction, this feeling never seems to leave. We’re always hungry, always craving crabs, and even more so…sugar. Sugar has a bad rap. But it also has a very good one. There are two types of sugars, just like there are types of most anything in creation: the good, and the not so good. There is the sugar you should aim to incorporate in to your diet, and then there are the not so good sugars that should never, ever be a part of your daily diet. Let’s break them down, shall we? Sugar — that is real, raw, sugarcane sugar — is a plant! It is Mother Nature made, and in fact, very healthy when consumed in moderation. Raw sugar cane juice boasts an incredibly impressive about of vitamins and minerals: vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6, plus a sky-soaring concentration of phytonutrients (including chlorophyll), antioxidants, proteins, soluble fiber…want me to keep going? Because I can. Unfortunately, once sugarcane made it’s way from India to South Asia, the Middle East and China, the East India Company got ahold of it, lowered the price significantly, brought it in front of the British Parliament in 1792, where it was refined. All fine and dandy, until modern day science got a hold of it, and just as the West has done to many an organic matter in the past century, refined the sugar even further — juicing, boiling, crystallizing and breaking it down until all essential nutrients, and therefore health benefits, were dissolved into what we now commonly refer to as “table sugar”. Whew.


Scientifically-speaking, this new “table sugar” is not “sugar” at all. It is actually a “sugar substitute”, as a result of a world-wide fear-of-sugar epidemic that has been the catalyst for many an unsuccessful diet program, and “sugar-free” snack. All things considered, “sugar-free” snacks can be considered so, because modern-day sugar substitutes are artificial — artificial sweeteners, that have no business being in that holy temple of yours. Common artificial sweeteners look like: aspartame (no substance ingested by humans has been more thoroughly tested by the FDA than this guy), sucrose, acesulfame potassium, neotame, saccharin, and high fructose corn syrup.

Studies have linked sugar substitutes to an increased appetite and imbalanced blood sugar, leading to obesity, diabetes, and hypoglycemia. And although other research has linked artificial sweeteners to weight loss, all have proved unsustainable, and downright holistically unhealthy.  

Here’s the thing: artificial sweeteners actually trick your body into storing fat for energy, because when there is lack of sufficient plant-based sugar to nourish that cell-space, fat finds it’s way in. Artificial sweeteners also cause extreme metabolic confusion — meaning, metabolism upset, resulting in unwanted, highly difficult to rid-of excess weight. The average American consumes one-third a pound of sugar per day, and our global sugar substitute intake has gone up 400% since 1970. These substitutes don’t just show up in the most obvious of places, like candy bars and diet 'foods', but they show up in gum, “healthy” salad dressings, pasta sauces, cereals, sports drinks and low-fat yogurt.

All being said, if it doesn't come out of the ground, think twice about where it's actually coming from, and what it's doing inside your precious cells. Is what you're sprinkling in your coffee or on your oatmeal going to nourish your cells and provide them with the energy of the earth, or is it going to deprive them of lubrication and sustainable stimulation?

Sugar has a bad rap, but it can also have a very good one. Organic (Sakara-fied) sugars like coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey and stevia are some the most nutrimental substances to turn any meal into a body-loving dessert. A moderation of plant-based sugar is wholesome in it's brain invigorating, sustainable weight-loss promoting minerals.

Eat life, get life. What more could you desire?


    2 Discussions on
    “The 411 on Sugar Substitutes”
  • Sakara Life says:

    Hi Marissa! Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, not an artificial sweetener, meaning, it comes from a plant, not a lab. All good! A sugar alcohol’s chemical structure is half sugar, half alcohol, meaning it converts into glucose at a slower pace in your blood and brain. However, this sugar-alcohol process can be super hard on the digestion system, and in my own experience for optimal health (and better digestion!), does it make sense to use a “substitute” just because it’s a substitute? Why not choose the very best of the best alternative to whatever else you’re trying to cut out? Have a loving relationship with the chemical structures you digest. If you feel off about an ingredient, don’t use it. Your body knows what’s right. In the case for sugar, if you’re looking for something super sweet, stevia is where it’s at! Always. Similar to erythritol, it has no glycemic index, and won’t spike your blood sugar. It’s simply a super sweet leaf. And is digested seamlessly. A little goes a long way. If you really dig erythritol, then continue to use it! But if you’re hesitant about it’s relationship with your body, I say stick to clean, WHOLE foods as sweeteners. Straight from the plant, straight through the body, straight to the blood and brain. Make it easy on yourself. And whatever it is, make sure it’s not processed. Hope this helps! xx Meagan

  • Marissa Rovetto says:

    Hi Megan,

    I was wondering what your take is on erythritol. In the efforts of consuming less calorie’s by sugar, I began using erythritol which is a 0 calorie sweetener (I add it into coffee or mug cakes). When I try to find whether it is good or bad online, I just end up more confused! I do my best to stay away from highly processed anything, so I am curious as to what you think about it.

    xoxo Marissa

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