We all know that sugar is linked to diseases such as heart disease and obesity, but why is it such a hard habit to quit? Recent research by scientists at the University of Copenhagen on over 6,500 people found that there is a reason why some people have a bigger sweet tooth than others. It’s all got to do with a specific hormone, called FGF21, that can make you 20% more likely to crave sweet foods. If you are in this group and you find that you need a boost of sweetness to get through the day, why not kill two birds with one stone and source it from probiotic-rich sweets?
The Power of Yogurt
Yogurt, sweetened with a non-sugar natural substance like stevia, is perfect for a quick pick-me-up in the middle of the day or in the afternoon. To obtain its maximum benefits, opt for natural yogurts that have live and active cultures. You can flavor these yourself with sweet fruits like raspberry,or opt for a more tart alternative like cherry. For an extra special sweet swirl, blend the juice of half an orange with one or two plump Medjool dates, and swirl into natural probiotic yogurt.
Did you think all smores were necessarily carb-loaded? While it is true that marshmallows are made of sugar, there are ways to enjoy s’mores while lowering the guilt factor. One is to melt a marshmallow and place it between two slices of fresh apple instead of crackers. Slather a bit of homemade nut butter for a protein pop, or use a brand that contains nothing but 100% peanuts. If you really want to up the health factor of s’mores, why not make your own homemade probiotic marshmallows? These are made with marshmallow root powder, gelatin, and probiotic capsules, and sweetened with honey. Although honey is glucose-rich, you can use less for marshmallows that have a wonderful texture but are a tad less sweet.
Not-So-Decadent Dark Chocolate
Researchers have found that consuming one or two ounces of dark organic chocolate a day can have major health benefits. Opt for raw chocolate if possible, since it is more antioxidant rich. Make sure it is sweetened with stevia, lou han guo, or honey. Dark chocolate is also considered a probiotic food because it promotes a healthier gut microbiome. If you are feeling up to it, you can make your own dark chocolate in under 15 minutes. All you need is cocoa butter, cocoa powder, a healthy sweetener, and a drop or two of your favorite edible therapeutic-grade essential oil. Think mandarin, peppermint, or bergamot.
For a little twist on your usual ‘cheat treats’, splurge on probiotic-rich sweets that help battle diabetes rather than increase its risk. Try to substitute nutrient poor carbs like crackers with fruits for your own delicious smores. Finally, embrace the power of dark chocolate, opting for raw versions that are sweetened with healthier products such as stevia, dates, or extracts obtained from ‘nouvelle’ fruits like lou han gou.