My take on sugar and how you can help yourself...
Sugar has so many different names and faces. Reducing or managing sugar intake can be quite complex for people to navigate because sugars are hidden in so many places. It is one of the most common struggles I come across in people that I work with (including myself and my family). Excess sugar is detrimental to health in so many ways. Take control of sugar intake by understanding enough about food labels and leaning towards whole and least processed foods with shortest ingredients lists, as well as maintaining a well balanced eating strategy incorporating enough colourful vegetables with quality proteins and oils.
A promising new natural zero calorie sweetener is Monk Fruit, which has been used in Asia as a whole food for centuries, however, its effects as a granulated sweetener are still being researched and it is expensive, so often found mixed with other cheaper sweeteners. Always read product labels carefully.
The low carb sugar alcohol Birch Xylitol (from birch tree) tastes less sweet than white sugar, looks like sugar crystals and has some health benefits. Birch Xylitol may be useful while working on reducing sugar in the diet and it promotes healthy teeth, reducing bad bacteria in the mouth. Xylitol is naturally sourced, but processed into a Sugar Alcohol, so is usually fine for occasional treats and in chewing gum, but may produce gas/wind if over-consumed. Keep Xylitol away from pets as it is dangerous for cats and dogs. More research needs to be done on its effect on the gut bacteria and blood sugar metabolism, but so far it seems ok for short-term or occasional use by healthy people.
Dangers of Xylitol for animals
Keep Xylitol well away from pets. Read more about xylitol here and about xylitol dangers for dogs here