There is a growing train of thought that associates the “I Quit Sugar” program with the paleo diet. It’s true, both diets result in a dramatic reduction in the amount of sugar consumed by those following the diet. However, that does not mean that they are the same thing. The I Quit Sugar program has one specific goal - quitting sugar. The paleo diet is a much more broad dietary transformation where one of the resulting outcomes is generally quitting sugar. The two are not the same.
That being said, one thing that turns many people off of the paleo diet is the idea that they won’t be able to give up sugar. Most of us have grown up with sugar as a staple of our diet. It is in nearly all of the processed and convenience foods that we eat; it’s in our drinks and it’s in our foods. Cutting it out can be a real struggle for many people. So, with that in mind, how can people who crave their sugar intake get by on the paleo diet?
The thing to remember is that there are a number of natural sweeteners that are allowed (in moderation) when on the paleo diet. This diet is not about starving yourself to the point of madness, and everyone needs something sweet in their diet! Food should be enjoyed and not solely eaten for sustenance. With that in mind, just what kind of sweeteners can you eat on the paleo diet?
While not strictly paleo-friendly, natural honey is one of the better natural sweeteners that can be used on the paleo diet. This is not because it doesn’t contain fructose, but because it has other natural benefits to the human body. Similarly, there are tribes that have eaten honey for thousands of years, which pretty much nails the paleo definition!
We aren’t talking about processed, off the shelf maple syrup here but organic, natural maple syrup. Again, it has been eaten for thousands of years and has even been shown to contain some beneficial nutrients that our bodies thrive on. It’s important to remember that moderation is key here, but maple syrup is a fantastic way of getting rid of those sweet cravings!
Finally, for those with the most insatiable of sweet teeth, dark chocolate is an allowable treat on the paleo diet. This doesn’t mean you can scoff a few bars every day, but a couple of squares here and there can be enough to keep the sweet cravings away, and won’t do any harm to your diet.