Sugar wreaks absolute havoc and destruction in your body. Sugar is also more addicting than heroine. But what if I told you there were lots of different options out there for you that could help curb your sugar cravings and actually help your health instead of hurting it?

Do you know all the names sugar disguises itself as? Most people don’t. Imagine my chagrin when someone confidently tells me they don’t eat sugar and aren’t “addicted” to it, and then turn around to enjoy their Costco muffin, bowl of cheerios or sugar-packed “healthy” yogurt for breakfast.

Sugar hides in EVERYTHING. From the ketchup you buy to the “seasoning” on your rotisserie chicken. If you have decided to take the jump and start swapping out your sugar, I recommend three things…

1. Learn where sugar hides. Start reading ALL your labels. You will be surprised at how often you find the word sugar on your labels. It’s a cheap sweetener that makes you more addicted, and makes processed foods taste better, so naturally cunning marketers will opt to put it in their foods. The good news is, you can find an alternative for anything and I’m not just talking about things labeled “sugar free”, because some of those are even more dangerous. But if you start comparing labels, you’ll find many options you didn’t know exist. Remember, the closer the food is to it’s natural state, the less likely you are to find it swimming in sugar. Click here to find a fun list that JJ Virgin has put together of foods sugar hides in. She is a leading expert in sugar and one of my favorite authors and researchers on the topic!

2. Educate yourself about all the forms of sugar and it’s different names that marketers use. Did you know there are over 50 names for sugar? Click here to find an awesome list compiled by Jonathan Bailor on the words sugar disguises itself on. And remember … when you’re checking your labels, you’re not just looking for the word “sugar” but for any of these on his list.

3. Find swaps that you can use in your baking to help “wean” you off of your sugar cravings. My favorite is Monk Fruit, also known as Lo Han sweetener. Have you heard of it? It’s my secret weapon to fighting off sugar cravings. It’s harvested from from the Lo Han Guo fruit but is 300x MORE SWEET than sugar. In Asia, this fruit has been used for hundreds of years to treat obesity and diabetes … and it has also been used for many healing purposes. The best part? It not only tastes sweeter than sugar, but it does NOT spike your blood sugars. You can swap this for anything (I swap it in my baking, cookies, etc.) and you can’t taste the difference, but it keeps my blood sugars low and secretly is doing some good work for your body on the inside. You can purchase this on Thrive, Amazon or at most health food stores. It’s not the cheapest, but if you use it sparingly (I probably use it once every few weeks), it always does the trick.

Coconut sugar is also a staple in my pantry. It taste good in my opinion and can we swapped cup for cup in as a sugar substitute (as can Monk Fruit). Coconut sugar has many health benefits and doesn’t spike your blood sugars, though sometimes it causes thinks to taste somewhat “dark” and isn’t always my favorite in certain recipes. Most often I swap Monk Fruit for white sugar and Coconut Sugar for brown sugar in recipes. Coconut sugar can be found at any grocery store, including Walmart!

Stevia is not my favorite to use in my cooking, so I don’t keep it stocked in my pantry. However, if you like the taste – it is a low sugar impact food, meaning it won’t spike your blood sugars and will help sweeten your foods. I just have never loved the taste and have found it somewhat tricky to substitute the right amount to make things taste good.

I also use honey and maple syrup in some of my baking. There are a lot of controversial opinions out there on these and if they are healthy. But my opinion is that if it’s RAW honey, and PURE maple syrup, there are a lot of health benefits that will help make your body stronger. Some of these include the minerals iron, potassium, and calcium. These have been researched to boost mood and improve immune function as well. I believe anything in it’s absolute rawest, natural form is a gift God gave us to help in any healing process we would need. HOWEVER, both honey and maple syrup are very high sugar impact foods and spike the blood sugars quite rapidly. If you are someone trying to stabilize your sugars and get cravings under control, I don’t recommend these. I use them here and there when they balance out my diet, but I do not use them excessively.

If you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend reading JJ Virgin’s book called The Sugar Impact Diet. It’s the best source I have found on the market and is an easy read that will change your life.