Anyone losing weight should be encouraged to base snacks and meals from whole food, which refers to food that has not been processed or manipulated with preservatives and chemicals. The food on your plate should resemble its source as closely as possible, like fresh chicken breasts instead of crispy chicken fingers with ranch dipping sauce.

I know what you are thinking. Whole foods taste kinda bland at first, right? And sweeteners add more calories so what is the point? Your first instinct would be to use something like Sweet & Low, or a similar sweetener that claims to be a healthier alternative to refined sugar. Even though it is not thought of as a food on your plate, it still goes into your body. You need to know how to sweeten your food safely.

Refined white sugar is harmful for any diet simply because it is so devoid of nutritional value of its own, it actually robs your body of nutrients to metabolize it evenly. Just like anything else, a little bit will not hurt too much, but your health will greatly improve with a significant reduction of white sugar in your diets.

How do you sweeten food safely without it being detrimental to your health and weight loss efforts?

Sweeten Food Safely Tip #1: Use Natural Sugars
Nutritionally complex natural sugars such as honey, molasses, and syrup are healthy alternatives to using any kind of sugar or artificial sweetener. Remember, these things come from the earth just like fruits and vegetables, and we all know how good those foods are for us on a daily basis.

Honey is sugar, but since it is natural and unrefined, it contains a host of nutrients and enzymes that have a multitude of beneficial attributes.  It will not cause the rapid rise and fall of blood sugar levels as does white sugar, and there are many varieties and flavors to choose from.

Sweeten Food Safely Tip #2: Choose Nature’s Candy
Ever wonder why you do not have to pour sugar over apples, grapes, blueberries, strawberries or raisins? It is because these foods are the candy of the produce department. They can be used as sweeteners in a variety of foods such as soy-based protein shakes, cereal, yogurt and oatmeal.

Just like everything else, unfortunately, our diets are often compromised by our willingness to bring these natural foods down to the American diet level. Dipping fruits into high-fat chocolate and caramel will not help your weight loss. It is no healthier to eat a Raisinet than it is to eat any other candy, despite the claim on the wrapper that is contains antioxidants. Stop falling for these sales gimmicks. Keep your foods natural and your taste buds will eventually revert back to the days before these altered snack foods even existed.

Sweeten Food Safely Tip #3: Limit Artificial Sweeteners
Anything containing aspartame is not a healthy choice for sweetening your food or drinks. Studies show that products containing aspartame can lead to poisoning, seizures, blackouts, headaches, memory loss, blindness, nausea, and gastrointestinal disorders. With even just one of these potential side effects, why risk your health let alone your weight loss efforts?

Just as drinking alcohol will not solve any of your emotional problems, fake sugar will not feed your body’s needs. Your body needs proper nutrition in order to perform at optimum performance, and that includes weight loss. The more you focus on working toward healthy nutrition, the more you will find your cravings for junk foods disappearing.

Even worrying about sweetening your food is not really the kind of mindset you need to live a healthy lifestyle. It is useful when trying to change your eating habits, but your long term goal is getting to the core of the problem by avoiding sweet foods altogether. But if you must sweeten… sweeten food safely! Keep a bowl of fresh ripe fruit nearby at all times to snack to to relieve your sugar cravings.

If you are craving something sweet, do not feel guilty. Over the years the American diet has slowly made us become dependent on sweet treats. The more time rolls on, the sweeter we want our food. This would be alright if becoming overweight was not a side effect, but it is taking its toll on society. Losing weight is about making small changes on a daily basis toward a healthier lifestyle…and for things to change, you have got to change.

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