The increasing prevalence of obesity and diabetes has brought on a demand for new kinds of products. One of such products is sugar-free snacks. And people are cashing out on this, giving people what they want. Making money off the vulnerability of those trying to make healthy decisions for themselves.
I believe most people providing these products sincerely think they are doing good. However, they may be (which is most likely the case) worsening the problem. The fact that all of their customers are not losing weight or better controlling their diabetes should be a hint.
Sugar Is Not The Main Problem:
Don’t get me wrong, sugar can not be classified as part of a healthy diet. It is not whole food. It is highly processed and has lost all the nutrients present in the original product – sugarcane. However, sugar is not the main problem in regular snacks. It is part of it, yes, but there are worse ingredients in your baked goods and treats than sugar.
Sugar has 1,755 calories in a pound which is a whole lot. A pound of sugar is about 2 cups. A tablespoon is 48 calories. However in most baked goods, you also have:
- Oil – 4,000 calories per pound. A pound of oil is about 2 cups too. This is true even for your so-called healthy oils. They are all 4,000 calories per pound. And the calories are 100% from fat. Dietary fat is more easily stored as body fat in fat cells and also in the muscles and liver cells. 1 tablespoon of oil is 120 calories
- Butter – 3252 calories per pound. About 99% of which is from fat. Saturated fat for that matter. A pound of butter is also about 2 cups. 1 tablespoon of butter is 96 calories.
- Powdered milk. – 2250 calories per pound. A pound of powdered milk is 6.6 cups
- Flour – 1,651 calories per pound. This is about the same for even gluten-free flours. Some gluten-free flours even have more calories.
The Main Problem Is The Fat
As you can see, the contribution to the calories from the fat is way more than that of sugar. Most baked goods also contain eggs. Even though it is not as calorie-dense as sugar, the calorie is mainly from fat. Eggs, butter, and milk are also loaded with cholesterol.
What makes this worse is when people eat these sugar-free snacks and baked goods, they tend to eat more. They assume they are eating healthy and would then eat them way more and more frequently.
What Happens When You Eat Cake
When you eat a cake and even most baked goods, you are ingesting flour, sugar, oil, butter or margarine, eggs, dairy milk among others. The process of turning a grain to flour breaks down the cell wall of that grain and liberates all glucose. You are also increasing the surface area for absorption.
As a result, the glucose from the flour and the sugar rush into the bloodstream as opposed to going in slow if you were eating the intact grain. This raises the blood sugar rapidly and the body responds by producing a lot of insulin. This insulin spike is to move the glucose into the cells as excess glucose is toxic.
Excess insulin apart from moving glucose into the cells also causes fat to be stored in the body. It also prevents the body from breaking down fat stores. Please note I said EXCESS INSULIN. Insulin at normal levels when you have normal glucose levels from eating whole foods doesn’t cause this. As a result, all the fat in the oil, butter, margarine, dairy milk, eggs, etc. is stored in the body.
So, 2 mechanisms are at work here.
- Excess calories from the oil, butter, and milk. And also from the flour and sugar.
- Spike in insulin from the refined foods – flour and sugar.
Oil And Dairy Free In Addition To Being Sugar-Free Snacks
Instead of looking for just sugar-free snacks, you should look for the ones that are also oil and dairy-free. If you are truly looking to indulge without packing on the pounds. Also, use whole intact grains instead of pulverizing them into flours.
How is that even possible?
Replacements! Replace these ingredients with healthier, lesser calorie alternatives.
Replacement For Butter/Oil/Margarine
Replace butter, oil, margarine with applesauce, mashed banana, silken tofu (better in brownies). This significantly reduces the calories and fat content of your baked goods. What butter and the rest does is make baked goods light, fluffy and moist. These can achieve that without all the calories. They can be replaced in a 1:1 ratio.
|1 cup of Replacements||1 cup of Butter||A cup of Oil||1 cup of Margarine|
|Applesauce – 166 calories||1,627 calories||1,910 calories||1,627 calories|
|Mashed Banana – 200 calories||1,627 calories||1,910 calories||1,627 calories|
|silken tofu – 188 calories||1,627 calories||1,910 calories||1,627 calories|
Replacement for Milk
Even though the calories from milk is not as much as that of butter/oil/margarine, replacing can help with your weight loss. 1 cup of dairy milk is 148 calories while 1 cup of plant based milks is usually less than 80 calories.
Dairy milk is high in estrogen and progesterone, though higher in butter, cheese, margarine, and yogurt. This affects sexual maturation in children, decreased testosterone, and an increased risk of prostate cancer in men. The association between total dairy intake and endometrial cancer in postmenopausal women is also significant.
They are also high in saturated fat.
Replacement for Eggs
Egg replacer can be used to replace eggs in baking. 1 egg is 78 calories and the equivalent in egg replacer is 30 calories. Eggs are also high in steroid hormones. Think about it, they come directly from a hen’s ovaries.
Another egg replacement is flax egg. Which is made by mixing 1 tablespoon of ground flax meal with 2.5 tablespoons of water. Leave to sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken. This recipe replaces 1 egg in baking and is just 37 calories while giving you essential nutrients with no hormones or saturated fat. Works really well in pancakes, quick breads, brownies, muffins, cookies and many more recipes.
Don’t buy flax meal, but buy flax seeds and then grind per use
Replacement for Flour
Use your grains whole instead of breaking them into flour. I use rolled oats for practically all my baking and I use them whole. I have a chocolate oatmeal cookies recipe in my post on Treats For Weight Loss – Snack Ideas
Replacement For Sugar
The sugar-free snacks have replaced this already with some fruit, usually dates. Please don’t use artificial sweeteners, they have been found the destroy the gut microbiome and cause some other health issues.
Does It Taste The Same?
The new snack may not taste exactly like the one you’re used to, but it’ll still taste great. Two cakes from different bakers don’t taste exactly the same, but they are both still nice.
If making all these changes are too much, at least, change the butter/oil/margarine in addition to the sugar. So, it’ll be an oil-free, dairy-free, sugar-free snack. Now, you would have drastically reduced the number of calories in your snack.
For health promotion, removing the dairy and eggs would serve you. Particularly with the commercial way of producing them now, they are way worse for our health than they were before.
Talk To Your Baker
You can show your baker this post. See if he/she can come up with baked goods for you so you can indulge without feeling guilty. There a lot of oil-free, sugar-free, nut-free vegan baking videos on youtube. So he/she can give you a truly healthy snack that’ll actually help your weight loss journey, not just sugar-free snacks.
Nut-free because nuts and nut butters are also very high in calories and a lot of vegans tend to use them in their baking. If you are trying to lose weight you have to do away with them for now. 1 cup of nuts is about 800 calories and 1 cup of nut butter is about 1,500 calories. Though nuts are very healthy, they are also very calorie-dense.
Recipes You Can Try Yourself At Home
You will probably love these better than the so-called sugar-free snacks. Like I always tell my girls, there’s a solution to every problem. Indulge, eat and have fun! To your healthier and slimmer bodies.
Love you always.