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Sugar substitute may help cut the cravings

Most of us probably eat more sugar and white flour than we should. We know we should cut out sweets and soft drinks and eat whole grains instead, but those good habits just haven't materialized.

So, what's the problem? Well, maybe we don't have enough knowledge to motivate us, knowledge about how sugar affects the body.

Naaaah, that's not it. We just want the donut! Sometime in the afternoon, say, an hour or so after lunch, thoughts turn to something sweet and fizzy or sweet, creamy and cold or chocolatey or ...

But what if you knew you could be free of those powerful cravings? And then, around the same time, you discovered you had enough energy all day long?

I recently made the switch from honey in my twice- or thrice-daily cups of tea to a natural sweetener called stevia, and I am enjoying the benefits described above.

Stevia is a leaf that, when processed into a powder, is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. It is widely used for sweetening in Japan, but it is sold here in the United States as a dietary supplement instead of a sweetener.

The great thing about stevia is that, because it is not a sugar, it does not have any calories. In addition, when it is packaged with added fiber, it has absolutely no impact on your blood sugar level. That is wonderful news because, if your body doesn't know you're getting sweets, it won't crave more sweets later.

You will likely find that the impact of stevia is somewhat different than sugar. At times I have tasted my tea just a shade before I tasted the sweet sensation. However, some foods and drinks seem better adapted to its use than others, and it's fun to discover the foods that use stevia just as effectively as sugar. You may also find that your taste buds become accustomed to stevia's difference, as mine did.

Try stevia in your coffee or tea, or make a fruity spritzer using sparkling water, stevia, and a splash of juice, like pomegranate or a mango blend. Stevia works especially well in smoothies. One of my favorites is a blend of frozen pineapple, organic milk, coconut oil or shredded coconut, vanilla and stevia for a pina colada treat. When you use stevia, make sure to start with far less than you think you need, and then add to taste.

You may need to experiment with different brands to find a brand that most closely mimics the taste of sugar. I like SteviaPlus Fiber by SweetLeaf, which is sold in light green packets that I can keep in my purse. My local grocery store sells them in the sugar section in boxes of 100. Most health food stores also carry stevia.

Now don't get discouraged if your indulgence in sweets goes a tad beyond some honey in your tea every day. My husband and I had to take this process of cleaning up our eating habits one step at a time. Just get yourself on the train and begin the journey.

Organic, unrefined coconut oil is available at most health food stores. A good-quality oil will smell like coconut. It has anti-viral, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties and is believed to aid in weight loss.

Source: Daily News Journal

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