Sugar consumption, whether by adults or kids, is often surrounded by controversy. No doubt consuming too much added sugar leads to the potential onset of serious diseases. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or want to manage diabetes, sugar is always the villain. You can try the no-sugar or sugar-free diet to reduce your added sugar intake. The no-sugar diet protects you from the sweet danger of sugar by cutting out all forms of added sugar. In case you’re not familiar with it, added sugar is sugar that’s added to foods and not naturally occurring in them.
Many types of no-sugar challenges exist, but most have similar guidelines. First, reduce or completely exclude simple carbohydrates and added sugar from your diet. Then, fuel your body by consuming nutrient-dense, whole foods that don’t contain added sugars. Natural sugars, which are present in vegetables, fruits, and dairy products, are OK to eat. Finally, you must limit sugary breakfast cereals, cookies, ice cream, cakes, candy, soda, and sweetened drinks.
The Need to Limit Your Sugar Intake
Added sugar, also termed “free sugar”, degrades the nutritional value of meals by supplying large amounts of empty calories. In addition, consuming too much sugar increases the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic inflammation, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hypercholesterolemia, and dental caries. Therefore, limiting the intake as much as possible is essential.
So with sugar scientifically proven to pose long-term health risks and affect your weight and dental hygiene, how can you cut back? A no-sugar diet is a plan to follow. There’s no set definition for this diet. Some highly restrictive no-sugar diets call for eliminating all added sugar, milk sugars, and sugar from fruit. However, the most popular and commonly followed sugar-free diet asks you to only reduce your added sugar intake to zero.
No-Sugar Diet Food List (No Added Sugar)
Here is a list of sugar-free foods that you can add to your diet:
- Beef, chicken, pork
- Green beans
- Bell pepper
- Olive oil
On a no-sugar diet, it’s better to steer clear of food products that contain any of the following:
- Raw sugar
- Sugar syrup
- Turbinado sugar
- Corn syrup
- High-Fructose corn syrup
- Brown sugar
- Corn sugar
Do’s and Don’ts for a No-Sugar Diet
Drink Water Instead of Carbonated Drinks, Fizzy drinks, or Sugary Juices
You often feel thirsty and try to compensate for it by taking carbonated drinks. It is a habit you need to stop. If thirsty, go for a glass of water instead of consuming many sugar-based beverages.
Beverages, including carbonated drinks, energy drinks, flavoured milk, and many juices, are additionally sweetened. These flavoured drinks contain a large amount of sugar that gives you a temporary energy boost but is harmful to your body in the long run. Consume fruit juices in moderation, as they have high sugar content.
Consume Whole Fruits Rather Than Packaged Juices
All bottled fruit beverages contain excess amounts of sugar, which is very harmful to the body. Therefore, it is better to have a fruit salad with fresh whole fruits.
Consume Less-processed Snacks
Snacking is completely okay until and unless you choose the right one. Instead of snacks with added sugars (such as cakes, biscuits, or chocolates), choose fresh fruits or vegetables. Decide on taking more natural food products than packaged products filled with added sugar and preservatives.
Cereal-based Snacks are Better Than Baked Ones
Baked food products like cakes, cookies, and pastries contain high sugar. Therefore, you must choose cereal-based foods rather than baked foods since they have less sugar and fat.
Read the Label Carefully Before Buying
The label will give you the reality of how much sugar is present in the product. Therefore, checking food labels before eating is essential to ensure you are not consuming any hidden sugar.
The HealthifyMe Note
Fruit and some dairy products contain natural sugars. Therefore, skipping fruits is not wise, even if a no-sugar diet is beneficial. Furthermore, fruits include nutritive compounds that protect the body from diseases. Consequently, you can add whole fruits to a no-sugar diet. However, if you choose to eat dried fruits, you should do so in moderation.
The Advantages of a No-Sugar Diet
Reduces the Risk of High Blood Sugar
Consuming meals and drinks with a lot of added sugar regularly can make it harder to control your blood sugar levels and raise your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. High fructose and other quickly absorbed sugars are present in sweetened foods and beverages like soda, candy, energy drinks, and baked goods. These sugars increase blood sugar and insulin resistance. As a result, your cells lose their sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that controls your blood sugar levels when you have insulin resistance.
Helps Lose Weight
Foods and beverages with a lot of added sugar tend to be high in calories but poor in nutrients that fill you up, such as fibre and protein. It is why eating many sugary foods has been associated with weight gain. A high intake of added sugar also gets linked to higher visceral fat (the kind of fat that surrounds your organs).
Eliminating sources of added sugar may aid in weight loss, particularly when combined with a diet rich in protein and fibre.
Improves Oral Health
Added sugar consumption is closely associated with a higher risk of cavities and gum disorders in children and adults. It happens because the bacteria in the mouth break down sugar and produce acid that could harm your teeth.
Eliminating additional sugar might therefore help to keep your teeth healthy. However, giving up sugar for 30 days will not significantly impact oral health.
Improves Liver Health
Diets high in sugar, mainly those high in fructose, can raise the risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a disorder marked by fat accumulation in the liver. Reducing the amount of sugar intake will help you prevent any such conditions and keep you healthy.
Downsides of a No-Sugar Diet
When you start a new diet, the body takes some time to adjust to the changes. The first few days will be challenging and might make you feel weak. Since you have quit sugar intake, the body is not getting an instant energy boost, and mood swings are expected. However, the downsides of a no-sugar diet depend on how extreme you take it. It’s a massive challenge if you cut out all forms of sugar, including naturally-occurring sugars like fruits. Nevertheless, a no-sugar diet is safe, provided you focus on eliminating added sugars and not all sugar-containing foods.
The HealthifyMe Note
Making drastic dietary changes can cause sugar withdrawal symptoms lasting up to two weeks. However, the longer your body goes without sugar, the easier the adaptation period will be. Before starting a sugar-free diet, talk with a nutritionist and design a plan that appeases your tastebuds, maintains your energy levels, and meets your nutritional goals.
The restriction on a no-sugar diet applies to added sugar-containing foods like sweets and soda, but sugar can also be present in savoury foods like pasta sauce. Excluding foods with naturally occurring sugar, such as fruits and vegetables, is one of the more extreme variations of a no-sugar diet. However, this is not usually recommended as a part of a healthy, balanced diet. Furthermore, eliminating all kinds of sugar from the diet is not a complete solution for overall well-being or weight loss. Instead, one should consider having balanced meals along with regular daily exercise.