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5 REAL Sugar-Free Snacks

We’ve talked about sugar a few times on this blog now, and discussed how and why sugar is one of the worst things to consume if you have trouble with acne. Kicking the sugar habit can be hard – especially since sugar is hidden in so many foods that you might not think of as sweet.

Sure, desserts and candy and even fruit are sugary, but other carbohydrates like potatoes, pasta, and bread turn into sugar in the body. So many traditional snack foods – like chips, crackers, cookies, and candy – are these high glycemic index (GI) foods that cause those nasty sugar spikes in your body. So does this mean you have to give up snacking and yummy foods entirely?

Not at all! Here are five real sugar free or low sugar (low GI) foods that can make for a great snacking experience:

(1) Nuts and Seeds

Peanuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds and the like are high-protein, low-GI foods. [1] If you don’t want the crunch of raw or roasted nuts, then you can opt for a spread, like peanut butter or almond butter.

(2) Veggies

Raw vegetables are always a good go-to healthy snack. Carrots, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, and even mushrooms can make for low-sugar snacks. [2]

(3) Hummus

If you’re not too excited about eating your celery and broccoli plain, then jazz up your snack time with some hummus for dipping. Hummus is a bean paste usually made with chickpeas, but it can be made with other beans, as well; beans are another high-fiber, high-protein food that has a low GI. [1]

(4) Fruits

This may sound surprising, since most fruits taste sweet, and fruit juice is a high-sugar no-no if you’re trying to keep your glucose low. However, a raw, whole fruit has a much lower GI than a fruit extract (like juice), because the fiber and other nutrients in the fruit balance out the sugar. [3] If you want to splurge and satisfy your sweet tooth, go for whole fresh fruit like apples, berries, cherries, or peaches.

(5) Snacks with Non-Sugar Sweeteners

There are all kinds of non-sugar sweeteners, ranging from the artificial – like sucralose and aspartame – to the natural – like agave, stevia, and honey. Most artificial sweeteners have a low or non-existent GI and no calories.

Natural, or nutritive sweeteners are those derived directly from plants or other natural sources – such as agave syrup (from the agave cactus), stevia leaves, or honey. These usually have a low or even mid-level GI because they naturally contain carbohydrates and calories. But even so, these natural sweeteners have a much lower GI than table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. [4]

With all of these foods that come prepared and pre-packaged, like hummus or peanut butter, check the ingredient list. Sugar (or other sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup) are often added to foods to make them more appealing to the modern American taste. Even if a food doesn’t initially taste sweet or strike you as a dessert item (like peanut butter or corn chips), review the ingredients before you buy.

Here’s to healthy snacking and clear skin!

Resources:

  1. http://www.optimalfoods.org/low-glycemic-snacks.html
  2. http://www.the-gi-diet.org/lowgifoods/
  3. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/glycemic-index-and-diabetes.html
  4. http://www.livestrong.com/article/445801-what-are-low-glycemic-sweeteners/

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