One of the hardest parts to overcome in a “clean eating” nutrition plan can be the issues that arise if someone has what is commonly known as a “sweet tooth”. If you have one… you know it. The chocolate calls you from across the room. You probably take carmel, whipped cream, AND syrup in your morning latte. I’m right there with you in this category. I LOVE SWEETS! I’ve come to the conclusion that cutting them out completely only drives me to binge when I can finally get my hands on them. There are ways to cope with your sweet tooth in your clean eating plan.
Sugar: This is all natural. Some nutritionists (and your LIVE personal trainer) are of the opinion that if you are going to have sweetener of any kind, have the real thing! They feel that while it impacts your blood sugar the most, this is the safest choice as you can get it in the natural form. Many feel that knowing you are using the real thing will help you curb the quantity you chose to use.
Stevia: Also a naturally occurring option. More and more it can be found in mainstream grocery stores in the baking isle right next to Splenda! Give it a chance. Some people really love it and find it to be an excellent alternative to other sweeteners. You can even buy it in convenient packets to carry with you!
Agave Nectar: This can usually be found in the section with honey of a natural foods grocery store. It is a thick liquid similar to honey and can easily be added to many foods where you might normally use sugar to sweeten.
Aspartame (Nutrasweet… the blue stuff): This is a chemical compound touted as being 180 times sweeter than regular sugar. But don’t kid yourself! It has calories!!! 4 calories per gram to be exact. Phenylketonuria is also of concern. This is a genetic disorder in which the body cannot process some of the enzymes in the aspartame. Don’t start running to the doctor just yet. Chances are, if you have it, you already know it. All products containing aspartame must also carry the warning “Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine” on the label so that they are easily identified.
Sucralose (Splenda): This sugar derivative is 320 1000 times sweeter than sugar itself. It is manufactured through selective chloronation of sucrose. Since it is stable under heat, it can even be used in baking! Note that although the nutritional label on Splenda’s packaging states that a single serving (1 teaspoon = 5 g) contains zero calories, Splenda actually contains two Calories per teaspoon.
Saccharin (Sweet-N-Low… the pink stuff): This sugar substitute is 300 times sweeter that sugar. However, some don’t care for it because of an “aftertaste”. Some soft drinks are sweetened with saccharin. Some studies have linked it to the development of cancer. Therefore, saccharin products are required to carry the warning “Use of these products may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals.”
Fruit: If fruit seems to satisfy your sweet tooth, try incorporating lower glycemic choices into your diet! Strawberries are my personal favorite. Other choices might include, blue berries, razberries, or plums. Apples, oranges, and grapefruit are also excellent options since they are accompanied by high fiber content. This slows the glycemic reaction to the fructose in the body.
In the end, none of these options are without impact to your clean eating diet. However, they are ways to address and manage your nutrition plan in a way that sets you up for success. Ultimately, only you can decide what is right for you and your body. This is just a short list of some options to help you make an educated decision.
Copyright (c) 2007 Charles Carter