Adults eat more sugar than recommended and this can lead to multiple health concerns. To avoid and prevent this, most people would reduce their added-sugar intake while others would completely cut out sugar from their diets. This is called the no sugar diet and in this article, we will discuss the risks of intaking too much sugar and share helpful tips on how to enter the no sugar eating pattern.
Risks of Excessive Sugar Consumption
According to the American Heart Association, the suggested added-sugar limit for women is not more than 100 calories a day (about 6 teaspoons or 24 grams of sugar) and no more than 150 calories per day (9 teaspoons or 36 grams of sugar) for men.
Unfortunately, most adults consumed 3 times more of their recommended sugar intake, often getting 15% of their calories from added sugars alone. This data does not even include natural sugars found in fruits and milk.
Excessive sugar consumption is associated with several harmful health concerns, including:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Dental plaque and cavities
- Increase inflammation in the body
To decrease the risk of acquiring the mentioned health problems, one of the best ways is to control sugar intake and replace high sugar food with healthy alternatives, while at the same time getting the needed vitamins and minerals.
By following a no-sugar diet, you are significantly decreasing your risks of these health issues.
What is a no sugar diet?
A no sugar diet is also known as a sugar-free diet. This particular eating pattern restricts the consumption of added sugar, such as sugary foods like candy and soda. However, added sugar is also hidden in savory meals like pasta sauce.
The more extreme version is completely cutting off food with added sugar and heavily relying on food with naturally occurring sugar, such as fruits and vegetables.
What experts mean by “sugary” food refers to the food that contains tons of added sugar, such as artificial sugar or any type of caloric sweetener added to food. This type of sugar does provide energy, however, it does not offer nutritional value which is why they are called “empty calories.”
Ingesting a bit of sugar is fine but the main problem with sugary food is when they are taken excessively. Food with added sugar usually doesn’t contain many vitamins and minerals, and as a result, they contribute to weight gain and health problems.
No Sugar Diet: How to Start
Like every other change in diet, it is challenging to start with. Here, we’ve rounded up helpful tips on how to start your no sugar diet.
To start, take it slow. This is one of the most important things to remember when adjusting or changing your diet. It is a slow process but with effort, patience, and discipline, your health is going to thank you in the long run.
You can start by slowly eliminating obvious sources of added sugar, such as cakes, muffins, brownies, candy, and sugary beverages. Another excellent way to slowly eliminate added sugar is by reducing the amount of sugar and cream that you add to your coffee and tea, better if you use none at all.
The main purpose of slowly eliminating added sugar instead of going on a no sugar diet on your first day is that building up a no sugar diet can help retrain the palate and then you are less likely to crave sugar.
Avoid simple carbohydrates
Many people who follow the no sugar diet recommend that you avoid simple carbohydrates, such as white flour, white pasta, and white rice. The body breaks down these carbohydrates found in these food into sugar, causing a spike in blood sugar levels.
A healthier option to replace these carbs is whole grain food.
Avoid artificial sugar
Artificial sugars are always controversial add-ons to any diet. They are sweeter than sugar but contain no or few calories and eating them tricks the body into thinking you are eating sugar, which can intensify cravings.
If you are planning to follow a no sugar diet, you should avoid artificial sugar, like:
- Sweet’N Low
Avoid sugary drinks
Just because you’ve completely restricted yourself to taking processed and food high in added sugar doesn’t mean you are 100% off the hook. Sugar-sweetened drinks are still included in one of the biggest sources of added sugars, including soda, specialty coffee, sweetened teas, and fruit juices.
For a no sugar diet, it is best to replace these drinks with unsweetened herbal tea, coffee without sugar, or just plain water to help you stay hydrated without added sugar intake.
Eyes on whole foods
For a no sugar diet, whole foods are the best way to go!
A diet that focuses on whole foods includes the following ingredients:
- Lean meats, poultry, tofu
- Whole, unprocessed grains, legumes
- Nuts, seeds