I divided this newsletter into two parts because it will make a huge difference to take the information here in Part 2 having first read Part 1. Anywhere else, you’ll see advice to substitute as a straightforward swap, such as using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. Quite apart from the fact that artificial sweeteners are a bad idea, these swaps will only work for some things, for some people, and only up to a point. Sugar is highly addictive (in case you didn’t know!) and by far the best strategy is to work through that first, instead of assuming it will go away by itself.
So if you’re still eating a fair bit of sugar, perhaps every day or quite a lot at times, and you’ve not got your head around that yet, substituting with anything is going to produce a limited, partial and probably temporary result. Your brain is set up to want the buzz that’s delivered by sugar in a way unmatched by anything else. (Aspartame can also be addictive, but that’s another story!)
On the other hand, perhaps you’re fairly okay with sugar and you just want some sweet, healthy alternative from time to time. Maybe you want to make a dessert for a dinner party, a special treat for a birthday or the odd snack for yourself. Maybe this is infrequent enough that using sugar seems fine, but keep in mind that sugar is in practically everything that’s made outside the home, and that there will be times when your options are very limited, such as dessert at some else’s dinner party. What I do is to make sugar-free treats at home, and so eat sugar occasionally when out.
Here’s what I’ve discovered about some of the sweeteners available, starting with the best one first.
STEVIA is thought to be the healthiest sweetener, but a lot of people find they don’t like it at all, saying it leaves a bitter aftertaste. There’s a bewildering selection of stevia products on the market, with different tastes and forms. The processed varieties such as Truvia and PureVia have been refined and are not advised at all. Pure stevia, extracted from the whole leaf, can be found online and at health food shops. If anyone would know the best-tasting and healthiest version it’s Leslie Kenton, and she recommends “Sweet Leaf Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops: English Toffee” and “Stevita: Spoonable Stevia”. If you put one of those into a search engine, you can find someone selling it locally. It’s not nearly as expensive as it may seem, as you use tiny amounts per serving, and those liquid drops are fabulous.