Reducing Sugar Intake for Autoimmune Disorders

Jul 28, 2023

Healthier Alternatives to Processed Sugar

Healthier Alternatives to Processed Sugar

Autoimmune disorders, characterized by an overactive immune response attacking healthy cells, can greatly impact one's quality of life. While the exact causes of autoimmune disorders are still being researched, evidence suggests that reducing sugar intake may alleviate inflammation, a common trigger for autoimmune flare-ups. In this post, will explore the relationship between sugar and inflammation, as well as provide practical tips on how to reduce sugar consumption for individuals with autoimmune disorders. And, we will highlight healthier alternatives to processed sugar, such as maple syrup, dates, and coconut sugar, which can be enjoyed in moderation.

Consuming excessive amounts of added sugars, commonly found in processed foods and sugary beverages, has been associated with chronic inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a natural response that helps the body heal from injuries and fight infections. However, prolonged or excessive inflammation can contribute to the development and progression of autoimmune disorders. Sugar triggers the release of pro-inflammatory substances and disrupts the balance of gut bacteria, which can further exacerbate inflammation. By reducing sugar intake, individuals with autoimmune disorders can potentially manage their symptoms and promote overall well-being.

As a Type 1 Diabetic, I am particularly sensitive to sugar, so I wanted to share my top tips for reducing sugar consumption!  Here goes:

Read Labels: 

Start by examining nutrition labels on packaged foods. Look out for hidden sources of added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, and sucrose. Opt for products with lower sugar content or choose sugar-free alternatives when possible.

Minimize Processed Foods: 

Processed foods often contain high levels of added sugars. Focus on consuming whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These foods provide essential nutrients and are naturally lower in sugar.  

Sweeten Naturally: 

Instead of relying on processed sugars, turn to natural sweeteners like maple syrup, dates, and coconut sugar. These alternatives contain more nutrients and are digested more slowly, resulting in a steadier rise in blood sugar levels.

Be Mindful of Beverages: 

Sugary beverages like soda, fruit juices, and energy drinks can contribute significantly to daily sugar intake. Choose water, unsweetened herbal teas, or naturally flavored water infused with fruits and herbs.

Plan Meals and Snacks: 

Planning meals and snacks ahead of time can help you make healthier choices. Incorporate fiber-rich foods, like veggies, to keep you feeling full and satisfied, reducing the temptation for sugary treats.  And I love high-fat snacks too - like coconut chips, avocado and bacon - all of which help keep me full.

Wrap Up

It's important to remember that moderation is key. While healthier alternatives to processed sugar can be included in a balanced diet, portion control is crucial. Everyone's tolerance to sugar may vary, so it's essential to listen to your body and consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian who can provide personalized advice based on your specific autoimmune disorder and dietary requirements.

Reducing sugar intake can be a beneficial strategy for individuals with autoimmune disorders aiming to manage inflammation and improve overall well-being. By focusing on whole, unprocessed foods and incorporating healthier alternatives like maple syrup, dates, and coconut sugar, individuals can enjoy a more balanced diet while minimizing the negative effects of excessive sugar consumption. Remember, small changes over time can lead to significant improvements, so take it one step at a time and prioritize your health.

Heather and I, the co-founders of EAT G.A.N.G.S.T.E.R., create all of our baking mixes with this in mind!  Many of our mixes require the consumer to add the sweetener (we recommend maple syrup in most).  This means that you as the consumer can adjust the sweetener a bit to make it work with your body.  For example, while our Sugar Cookie Mix suggests 7 TBSPs of maple syrup, many of our consumers drop this to 4-5 TBSPs and add more oil and water instead.  Another example is that we have a number of customers who use applesauce instead of maple syrup to sweeten their Oatmeal Schmoatmeal Cookies.  We work to create flexible mixes that you can adjust to your dietary needs and all of our mixes use or recommend using unrefined sweeteners, such as maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar or dates.  We hope you enjoy it!

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