How Much Sugar Can I Have on the Paleo Diet?

By on October 6, 2016
cake Photo courtesy of Kimberly Brown

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time… you know I LOVE Sweets! I always admit to my chocolate obsession!

How do I claim to be Paleo if I still eat chocolate?
How can you have a sweet tooth and still be paleo?
How many sweets do you eat every month?

I don’t eat sweets every day if that is what you are wondering! AND, I rarely eat anything that is not made with Paleo(ish) ingredients.

I can count on one hand how many Non- Paleo sweets I’ve eaten in the last year. I ate two bites of ice cream this summer and I ate a few Gluten Free Cupcakes (some that I made on my own).

With that said, I Love baking with my kids- I don’t know if it is just something that reminds me of my childhood OR just something I find fun to do with my kids because they LOVE baking.

WHY CAN’T I EAT SUGAR?

Here is the scoop on sugar… Sugar is harmful to your liver and makes you crave more and more sweetness. You can’t just eat one cookie right? Your brain isn’t getting filled up by the empty calories- there is NO nutritional value in the sugar you’re consuming. If you eat a lot of sugar every day, you won’t have an appetite for the good foods you SHOULD be eating.
Consistently consuming sugar (in any form) can be dangerous to your blood sugar levels. Sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, Corn Syrup, Sugar in the Raw; They are all high in the glycemic index.
Eating sugar can lead to diabetes, autoimmune, inflammation and many other health complications.

WHAT SWEETENERS CAN I HAVE?

Honey: I allow Raw Honey from our local farmers. Raw and local honey is much better than the highly processed honeys you buy from the grocery store (you know the ones in the adorable teddy bears?) We use honey in our baking and my kids refer to it as medicine. We use it to fight colds, tooth aches and even burns and scrapes. I have recently been reading about the benefits of honey for skin care. Check out this article on the benefits of raw honey.

Maple Syrup: We use this on pancakes but my kids aren’t into drowning their pancakes in syrup- they like to have it on the side as dip. We buy our Grade B dark amber Maple Syrup from the local farm market. Avoid the false advertisements with syrup bottles- that means READ THE LABELS! Know what is in your syrup and where is comes from. Check our this article about Syrup

Coconut Sugar: This is a Paleo controversy! I think most people feel the same way about coconut sugar as they do about any Natural sweeteners- use it sparingly, sweets are still sugar no matter how natural they are. We use this on occasion- I rarely keep it stocked and I always prefer honey for sweetener over coconut sugar. I do have a few recipes that call for it but I never have trouble swapping it out for honey. If you need sugar in your coffee- this is as close as you can get to Paleo Coffee sweetener. Check out this article for details on Coconut Sugar

SWEETENERS TO AVOID
Stevia- A controversial Paleo sweetener, I say avoid because most Stevia products contain GMO filled corn products! Unless you are using Raw Stevia, it’s not really Paleo approved
Agave- Mostly Fructose
Splenda- Artificial sweetener is toxic
Equal- Artificial sweetener is toxic
Table Sugar/Cane/brown Sugar/Raw Sugar- Spikes your blood sugar and had zero nutritional value. This stuff can be extremely harmful to your body and can lead to insulin resistance over time.
Corn Syrup- Just read this article by Dr. Mark Hyman

Anything artificial is toxic!

This is my favorite article I’ve read on the Paleo/ Sugar/ Sweetener debate. While Paleo Plan approves of Stevia, I still think it’s a great article. Remember that Paleo is about listening to your body.

WHO SHOULD AVOID SUGAR IN ALL FORMS?

Anyone trying to lose weight should watch their sweetness intake.
Anyone who is diabetic should try limiting all sweeteners (Natural or not)
Babies under the age of 1 should avoid Honey

So there are my conclusions over almost 5 years of Paleo… I’ve come a long way since day 1 when all I ate were Paleo muffins for breakfast! Now,I remember that my plate should be built around vegetables and protein. Your diet shouldn’t consist of chugging syrup for breakfast- that ain’t Paleo- but it is okay to add some sweetener on occasion as you see it fitting your lifestyle.
As long as you are feeling good and reaching your goals, you can continue to eat a bit of honey, syrup or coconut sugar from time to time.

Stay Sweet,
Kimberly Brown

P.S. As for my Chocolate addiction- check out the chocolate products I eat.

For Baking I Use Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
I throw this in the freezer and it a few pieces from time to time. Dark Chocolate- 72% or Higher

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