My Favorite Trick for Minimizing Sugar

by Courtney on June 8, 2012

So we all get it at this point, right? Refined sugar is the devil. Kinda.

But do we really have to give up the taste of sweet? Most definitely not! Eating lower-glycemic truly feels fantastic. Former sugar-junkie here. I know.


I am not saying don’t eat sweet things or foods with sweeteners.

Rather, just trick yourself.

One of my favorite tricks for lowering my sugar intake without feeling deprived is to combine low-glycemic and high-glycemic sweeteners together in dishes. People tend to go all or nothing with sweeteners (or think they need to). They’ll think either they have to be content with only stevia for the rest of their life, or they may as well eat white and brown sugar regularly and not worry about it.

A very, very important disclaimer here: If I had any kind of serious physical imbalance or a sugar-related issue such as hypoglycemia or candida, I would be looking at a very low-glycemic diet.

Here’s what I like to do with my sweet treats:

  1. In your recipes, add the low glycemic sweeteners first. Start with some of the lowest-glycemic sweeteners, such as stevia (one of my fave things ever!). For stevia, most brands will do except Truvia. Truvia is highly processed and nothing like regular stevia. Add as much of this without feeling like you’re ruining your creation or that you won’t like the taste. That might be just a drop or two of stevia, for example. Taste test after each drop of stevia and add more as desired.
  2. After that, go to your next highest glycemic sweeteners, which would be low-glycemic fruits including berries, or higher glycemic veggies including beets and carrots (if applicable in your recipe).
  3. Still not enough for you? Go for some of the higher glycemic whole food sugars such as other fruits (dates, bananas, etc.)
  4. Use higher glycemic sweeteners such as maple syrup and coconut sugar if you really feel like you have to, and use as little as possible to “top off” your sweet taste, rather than using them as the base sweetener. As you can tell, regular sugar isn’t even a part of this blog post, because I do recommend eventually trying to get off of it. It’s really just not food.

My favorite smoothies that I make for myself often include just stevia, banana, berries to sweeten. Rather than viewing sweeteners as an all-or-nothing thing (if you don’t have health challenges), try just looking at percentages. You don’t have to stop using sweeteners, even refined sugar, if you don’t want to yet. Just start with lower glycemic sweeteners and work up the glycemic index, so that by the time you get to your high glycemic sweeteners, you might be able to use 50% less of the higher glycemic ones. Or 75% less. Or 90% less.

And over the span of your week, month, and lifetime, even 30% less sugar will make a huge difference.

What tricks do you use to lessen your sugar intake? I’d love to hear!



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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsay Nichole June 29, 2012 at 12:40 am

What are your thoughts on raw agave nectar?


Courtney June 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Not a fan of agave. It’s very processed and extremely high in sugar, particularly fructose, which is really no good.


Neeta Bali June 29, 2012 at 12:42 am

Fabulous post Courtney – love the idea of thinking about sweeteners in percentages instead of all or nothing!!! And great new look too, look forward to more :-)


romi sloan June 29, 2012 at 4:03 am

Oh Courtney, I love this idea! Makes so much sense. Will definitely try this next time I make something sweet! Thank You…..


Philip June 29, 2012 at 4:42 am

Fantastic article Courtney. You are a true SuperHero and I Love You!!


Sarah June 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I love this post! It’s such good advice. It can be easy to forget that moderation is possible on the path to eating low-glycemic. Thank you for these wonderful tips!


Janae Wise @ Bring-Joy June 30, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Great tips, thank you!

I use organic applesauce to sweeten my oatmeal. I try to use fruit to add sweetness & then if I want more I’ll use stevia. For desserts I like to use a combo of coconut palm sugar.

While I agree agave is not what it’s cracked up to be, I use it in some of my desserts because it’s a vegan alternative to honey, & it works so well as a liquid sweetener. I don’t think there’s a huge difference nutritionally between maple syrup, agave, etc. They’re all high in sugar & are liquid calories, but that’s okay, as long as I’m aware of this. I think when people go to town with either sweetener (because “it’s healthy”) & put in everything they eat, is where they run into problems.


Kevin July 11, 2012 at 5:07 am

We just wrote a blog post about how sugar was causing my allergy problems!! Not that I have an answer as to how I reduced it, but fruit and vegan yogurt have definitely seemed to help!


Courtney October 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I believe it! So glad you’re feeling better.


Evergreen October 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm

I eat plenty of cultured food. Sauerkraut is a staple of course. But coconut kefir-yogurt really knocked out my sugar cravings. When I do indulge I typically sprinkle cinnamon and a touch of cloves onto the sweet.


Courtney October 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Those are great tips! I find that cultured food helps me cut down on sugar, too. Cinnamon is also amazing!


Rande McDaniel @ The Vegetable Centric Kitchen August 4, 2013 at 9:25 pm

love it!


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