Put down that sugar shaker…and fill it with this new(ish) better-for you, zero calorie, zero-glycemic sweetener.
Sugar is the Devil
I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it again. White sugar is one, if not the, most damaging aspect of the Standard American Diet. It causes weight gain, triggers acne and premature aging, weakens immunity, and greatly increases our risk for chronic diseases like heart disease (the number one cause of death globally) and diabetes. (Learn more and how to quit sugar here).
The American Heart Association suggests a daily MAXIMUM intake of 25g of white sugar (note maximum, not a quota you should fill) per day, but the typical American is consuming FOUR TIMES that amount. (P.S. Some health researchers, like Dr. Daniel Lustig, believe the only acceptable amount of daily refined sugar intake is 0g.)
Although I no longer consume refined sugar, for my own entertainment purposes, I decided to estimate the amount of sugar I used to eat in a day. Back in middle school, I used to consume an entire Entenmanns cheese danish on the way to dance class…nearly every single day. Granted, that would be 8 servings, but that is the problem with sugar, once you start, it’s hard to stop at one serving. Am I right? That would clock in at 120 grams of sugar! Nearly 5 times an acceptable amount. And that was just one “snack.”
Replace it with Better for You Sweeteners
We like sweet stuff. That’s not going to change…and I don’t think we need to ditch sweet things forever…just the ones with refined sugar.
And to take its place, we should turn to naturally sweet foods, like fruit whenever we can. I’m a huge proponent of literally only using whole fruit in dessert recipes, such as these chewy almond date cookies, banana ice cream, or peanut butter banana bread. You won’t notice the added sugar is missing, since these really taste like desserts, not fruit.
But, not every recipe lends itself to using whole fruit.
For a long time, I’ve sung the praises of coconut sugar for being low glycemic and tasting just like regular sugar. But, there is a new sweetener in town (ok it’s actually pretty old, just new to American markets) and based on what I’ve researched and trying it first hand, I must say it is now my new favorite sweetener.
The New It Sweetener: Monk Fruit Review
Monk fruit is a small tropical melon that has been used in Asia for hundreds of years.
It gets its sweetness not from sugar, like most fruit, but rather from powerful antioxidants called mogrosides, which are metabolized differently by the body than natural sugars.
That’s why, despite tasting sweet, it is low calorie and zero glycemic, meaning it does not cause an unhealthy blood sugar spike the way refined sugar does. There is little to no aftertaste, like many other sugar substitutes.
Something I have noticed personally, is that when I consume desserts sweetened with monk fruit, I don’t feel compelled to eat the entire thing, as I would when it is sweetened with coconut sugar. I’m curious if anyone else feels the same. If you’ve tried it, please comment below.
Pure monk fruit is much sweeter than regular sugar. One gram of pure monk fruit (about 1/4 teaspoon) creates the same sweet taste as eight teaspoons of sugar, so you will have to adjust your recipes.
The benefit of Lakanto, is that it is a 1:1 replacement for sugar in recipes, although I personally find I still end up using about 1/3 less than I would coconut sugar.
A 3.5 oz container (100 Servings) of Pure Monk is 29.99 through amazon.
An appx. 8 oz bag (200 servings) of Lakanto is $7.99 on their website, although you can get it for slightly cheaper ($5.99) through Thrive Market if you become a member (which I highly suggest if you want to save money on healthy food). Remember, this is designed to be a 1:1 replacement, whereas pure monk fruit requires a much smaller amount per serving. I personally currently use Lakanto.
Try Monk Fruit
If you try or (have tried) monk fruit, please share your thoughts in the comments below. What did you think of the taste? Do you notice you felt any different when compared to consuming regular sugar?
And remember – this is still a sweetener, not kale, so use it in moderation! If you need help getting over your sweet tooth, try my FREE 3-day Sugar Detox Meal Plan.
Maria Marlowe is a holistic nutrition and wellness coach who uses real food to help her clients improve their health, weight, and skin. She offers a healthy eating meal plan that teaches you how to batch cook, as well as one to clear up acne. She has ongoing group workshops both in NYC and online, and writes healthy and delicious plant-based recipes for her popular blog. She is also the author of the #1 New Release on Amazon, The Real Food Grocery Guide, the most practical guide to selecting the healthiest foods, without going broke, which has been praised by Dr. Oz and InStyle magazines. You can find her on instagram @mariamarlowe.