Tools for Reducing the Health Effects of Sugar

Got a sweet tooth?  The key to balancing sugar is to surround it with goodness…

Spice it up:
Most aromatic spices, such as ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel and clove can improve how well you digest your food and tend to be anti-inflammatory. Many spices, especially cinnamon, are well known for blood glucose lowering effects. Add them to desserts, or along side in a cup of tea!

Pair sweets with bitters:
Like pungent spices, bitter flavors can also help enhance digestive secretions and motility, and reduce the mucous forming qualities of sugary foods. You can add a couple squirts of an herbal bitters blend to some sparkling water for a tasty digestif. Some of my favorites are reishi, dandelion root, artichoke, and bitter orange. Farmacopia carries a number of tasty blends, or you can have one custom-formulated just for you.

Get your fiber:
Fiber, as well as fat and protein, slows the rate of glucose absorption, making the rise and fall of blood sugar much more gentle on your system. Fiber also keeps your colon bacteria healthy. Adding nuts and seeds to your desserts can be a tasty addition. Things like almonds, chia seeds, ground flax, and coconut will provide some added fiber to your desserts. Alternatively, you can take a couple teaspoons of a fiber powder, such as acacia. Just make sure to drink plenty of water with it.

Choose wisely:
Along with fiber, desserts that contain more protein and/or fat will also help balance the tendency for blood sugar to rise too rapidly, which stresses both the pancreas and insulin receptors. Forget about all-flour desserts or non-fat anything. Go for something rich! You will probably find that you are satisfied more easily.

Timing is everything:
Rather than adding dessert at the end of a heavy meal, you’ll digest everything better if you eat your sweets as an afternoon snack.

Save yourself:
If you want to give yourself a treat, do it with intention.  Rather than succumbing to treats randomly, like those in the break-room or willy-nilly at a holiday party, wait for something special. The impulse sweets, which are often lesser-quality, are more likely to leave you feeling yucky and guilt-ridden. Wait for something you know that you will really enjoy and savor it!