Posted on by Teri Cochrane
Are you a reformed sugar addict?
Most of us are! Studies in animal models show us that sugar can be even more addictive than drugs in the opioid family, and humans regularly report withdrawal symptoms like headache, drowsiness, and emotional changes when they cut out sugar completely.
We are hard-wired to seek out foods that provide the highest amount of easily converted and calorically dense energy – which is why we find ourselves regularly craving sugars and fats.
When we source our sugars and fats from natural sources, and balance them with water, fiber, protein and exercise, this can work out just fine. But when our diets go lopsided and we find ourselves consuming unbalanced amounts of simple carbs and other high-glycemic foods, we can end up in the clutches of insulin and blood sugar dysregulation.
100 years ago, the average American consumed about 9 pounds of sugar per year. Today the average is over 150 pounds per year, mostly from soft drinks and high-glycemic index foods.
To help you scale back the amount of high-glycemic foods you may be consuming, here are some alternatives that are lower in sugar or higher in protein – providing a better molecular foundation for your day!
1 cup of raw strawberries contains only 7 grams of sugar, and makes a nutritious replacement for high-sugar fruits like bananas, apples or oranges. For the oxalate-sensitive, an alternative to strawberries is papaya, which contains only 11 grams per cup!
White rice and corn flour are two of the most common gluten-free alternatives we find at the store. However, corn converts to a simple sugar in the body (and is a mycotoxin, which I eschew!), and even rice can be a high-glycemic option for the blood-sugar sensitive. The gluten-free craze may be a road to diabetes! I like buckwheat as a gluten-free flour because it is a complete protein (a full amino acid profile), contains about 6 grams of protein per cup, and has plenty of healthy fiber!
These bright and crunchy peppers make for an excellent low-sugar snack, especially when paired with hummus or a low-sulfur guacamole.
Before you turn your nose up at eggplant, this veggie is extremely low in sugar and contains high fiber and manganese content, both of which are helpful for balancing blood sugar.
Kidney Beans, Chickpeas & Lentils
These legumes have a low glycemic index and are rich in molybdenum, which has been shown to have insulin-mimicking properties, supporting lower overall blood sugar.
Humanized Health - NEW!
Learn about personalized health from top experts! Check out our fascinating new shows every week, available as videos, podcasts and transcripts.:
Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
Margo's impressive knowledge base is the result of a unique blend of educational and professional experience.
Dr. Neal Barnard
Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND is a pioneer of integrative medicine and a leading authority on science-based natural medicine.
Debi is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, a personal trainer, and whole health coach.
Teri is a is a Certified Coach Practitioner with extensive certifications and experience in holistic medicinal practices.
Dr. Rav Ivker
Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
Susan writes about the connection between plant-based diets and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
Dr. Rob Brown
Dr. Brown's blended perspective of healthcare includes a deeply rooted passion for wellness and spiritual exploration.