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No-sugar Diet – benefits and challenges. Where to start?

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A tasty scoop of ice cream after a tiring day, a lovely movie evening with homemade biscuits and hot chocolate, a friendly cafe talk with a piece of a cake and cappuccino, doesn’t it sound cozy and sweet ? It brings good memories, warm feelings, and …a lot of extra sugar to our bodies. Do you constantly need to eat something sweet because you’re low on energy? Then you probably need to consider a sugar free diet, or days, to start with. Sugar isn’t only about your weight; it’s about diseases it can provoke when in excess. A zero sugar diet is a challenge that offers you lots of benefits.

Starting a no sugar diet weight loss program, you will be surprised to see how many positive changes happen to your body and mood. Le’s get started.

What Is A No-Sugar Diet?

No-sugar diet is more of a challenge that will grow into a lifestyle. It means cutting down on processed, packaged food that contains lots of hidden sugar and artificial ingredients. According to the National Salt and Sugar Reduction Initiative research [1], reducing 20 percent of sugar from packaged foods and 40 percent from beverages could prevent cardiovascular diseases and diabetes cases over an average person’s lifetime.

Why Cut Out Sugar?

A Dietary Guideline for Americans, 2020-2025 [2] limits added sugars to less than 10 percent of daily calories. Foods and beverages high in calories from added sugars should be limited to achieve a healthy calorie intake.

Consuming too much added sugar can raise blood pressure and provoke chronic inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. Excess consumption of sugary beverages contributes to weight gain turning off its appetite-control system because liquid calories are not as satisfying as calories from solid foods.

Are No–Sugar Diets Healthy?

This is a harmless diet if followed correctly. In a nutshell, just switch to healthy foods, avoid fast food, and don’t drink fizzy drinks – follow the most simple menu. When doing so, you will:

  • reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases,
  • put away the risk of type 2 diabetes,
  • have clearer skin and better hair condition,
  • lose extra weight even without workouts,
  • feel the real taste of food.

What Does A No–Sugar Diet Do To Your Body?

A no sugar diet benefits your health; however, quitting is always challenging, be ready for it. You will have days when you decide to stop and moments when everything looks useless. It can happen because you expect quick results, which is pretty impossible, and you lose motivation. A sugar-free diet benefits your emotional and physical state; however, give it time to do its job, and be patient. So, no added sugar diet benefits are the following:

1. Better Weight Management – by reducing added sugar intake from your diet, your weight loss progress will become noticeable sooner, and you won’t have the moments when “I gain weight just by breathing.”

2. Increased Energy – sugar foods give you a sudden energy boost, evaporating quite soon, and you need other sweet power sources again. Following a no-sugar diet, you will have a gradual rise and fall in energy.

3. Decreased Inflammation – sugar increases inflammation in the body’s soft tissue, which is the reason for aches and pains in the joints and a poor immune system.

4. Better Heart Health – cardiovascular health is directly linked to your nutrition. Sugar can also contribute to increasing bad cholesterol and decreasing good cholesterol.

5. A Healthier Liver – too much refined sugar can lead to a fatty buildup in the liver, which then causes liver disease. Some experts believe too much sugar is bad for the liver as alcohol.

6. Reduced Cravings – when a person eats sugar, the brain releases a massive amount of dopamine (similar to how the brain reacts to ingesting drug substances), which can make you crave for more, making you dependent.

 How To Start A No–Sugar Diet?

Start by actually starting your added sugar free life, but don’t get too hard on yourself at the beginning. . You need to understand the reasons behind your new life and stick to them on your way to success; the most important things to do are:

  • Don’t eliminate all the sugar from your diet at once, be moderate. Come up with a plan for a gradual reduction of added sugar intake. Aggressive approaches don’t work effectively; they mainly demotivate.
  • Sugar free diet is about reducing added, not natural sugars, like fruits; they help to get essential nutrients and fiber, which help you better your health markers. Be aware of the added hidden sugar of processed foods.
  • Avoid simple carbohydrates, which give you, basically, only empty calories. They are found in white bread, white flour, pasta, and white rice. These carbs quickly convert to sugar in your body and cause blood sugar spikes and make you energized. Find the alternatives like brown rice, whole-grain flour, and pasta, brown sugar. They are more complex and have a good nutritional value.
  • To avoid breaks from a sugar detox diet, have some free 1-2 free days a week. You may eat some pastry or drink a cup of hot chocolate but don’t cut loose.
  • Don’t feed your stress and emotions because you’ll get into weight loss depression. If you feel low, try doing physical exercises. They help you unwind and, as a bonus, burn extra calories (extra cup of a latte).
  • Avoid zero-fat foods. They give you a false feeling of security. You feel you lowered your calorie intake and can eat an extra piece of the pie. You fill up your stomach, but you don’t feel full and want to eat more as a result. Besides, check the nutrition facts label; low-fat foods typically contain more sugar and artificial sweeteners. Full-fat food like olive oil and avocado can help you reduce hunger yearnings and succeed with your weight loss plan.
  • Add more protein to your diet. High-protein diets (like keto diet) help you control your hunger and feel full longer. Whereas high-carbs diets stipulate lots of calories and you still want to eat. Consume significant amounts of healthy proteins such as fish, chicken, turkey, cottage cheese, or tofu.

 Foods To Avoid On A No-Sugar Diet

Avoid the foods like candy and soda, the majority of pastries, ice cream, milk and white chocolate, biscuits, sweets, butter and chocolate spreads, processed and frozen food.

Check the nutrition facts label – the high amount of sugar should stop you from buying the product.

Drinks To Avoid

Reducing sugar intake eliminates all the fizzy sweet drinks on your list. If you drink 2 liters of lemonade in 1-2 hours, you cover 1/2 part of your calorie intake needs per day.

Avoid alcohol, flavored and sweetened tea, coffee, and cocktails – they just fill you with empty calories and nothing else.

 Some Tips On How To Survive No-Sugar Diet

1. Add more fresh fruits to your dishes instead of sugar. Pancakes with cherries are a better option than with Nutella. Check the ingredients in ready-to-eat breakfasts – granolas, cereals, and cornflakes; they are high in sugar and have few benefits for your health;

2. Add nuts to your menu – hazelnuts, almonds, and cashews contain a lot of protein and omega-3 fatty acids (essential for our body). It’s a good topping for your home-cooked oatmeal and healthy snack during the day.

3. If you feel like giving up because your cravings don’t stop, use some sweeteners as a substitution (temporarily). Stevia has no calories but positively affects your blood sugar levels. Erythritol and xylitol are also acceptable options, as they are natural. However, keep in mind – it’s a temporary measure, don’t get used to it.

4. Not get tired of drinking water; add some lemon juice and mint leaves to it. You may also drink some fresh juices but control the amount. Though being rich in nutrients, they have a doubled amount of sugar.

5. Add spices to your foods; ginger and cinnamon will make the dish flavored enough, not adding extra calories.

6. Add some dried fruits to your menu. They are good at fighting hunger, but keep track of the amount – they contain more sugar than fresh ones.

7. Practice mindful eating – take your time, with no rush, see what you eat, and taste the foods you eat, not just gulping up because you’re short of time.

Keep In Mind

  • Before placing something into your shop basket, check the food labels, and don’t take the ones with a high number of carbs and added sugar.
  • 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon of it. Check the packaging to be sure you don’t buy extra sugar with your cereal.

Code Names For Sugar

There are different names related to sugar, be sure to check for them and avoid buying: cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sweetener, fructose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, invert sugar, lactose, malt sugar and syrup, maple syrup, sucrose.

Check everything you eat and eliminate it from your list if it contains such ingredients. Better sweeten your food at home; it will undoubtedly be less than the manufacturer’s amounts.

What To Eat On A No-Sugar Diet?

A well-balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, whole grains, protein, and dairy products is one of the best ways to help your body decrease sugar levels and get all essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

Keep the balance while eating, and stop when you’re full.

Low-Sugar Diet Food List (No Added Sugar)

A short list of products to eat while following the weight loss no sugar diet:

Here is a short list of sugar-free foods that you can include in your diet:

  • Avocado, vegetable oils, olive oil, butter
  • Beef, chicken, turkey, fish
  • Eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, radish, kale, celery, broccoli, bell pepper, asparagus, and tomatoes.
  • Coffee, tea – not sweetened
  • Watermelon, lemons/limes, berries
  • Whole milk

 No–Sugar Diet Meal Plan

This is a very approximate no added sugar diet plan. You need to include the alternatives that are available for you. Check if you have any food allergies, otherwise, a sugar detox may not be beneficial.

Monday

  • Breakfast: 2 eggs+Spinach+piece of cheese 30 gr.
  • Snack: raisings and raw almonds
  • Lunch: green salad+tuna + oil and vinegar
  • Dinner: Veggies Stir Fry

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: tomatoes + egg scramble
  • Snack: Cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes.
  • Lunch: Baked veggies with hummus
  • Dinner: 200 gr of yogurt with berries.

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with nuts
  • Snack: Hazelnuts with raisings
  • Lunch: Avocado+shredded chicken
  • Dinner: Salmon+lemon and vegetables

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Omelet with vegetables
  • Snack: apple or passion fruit
  • Lunch: Wraps with hummus
  • Dinner: Baked chicken +lettuce.

Friday

  • Breakfast: 2 Hard-Boiled eggs with mustard and a piece of cheese (30 gr)
  • Snack: apple+almond butter
  • Lunch: fruit salad
  • Dinner: Steak + baked tomatoes

Saturday

  • Breakfast: 150 gr of cottage cheese + strawberries
  • Snack: dried fruits
  • Lunch: Tuna+cucumbers
  • Dinner: vegetable soup

Sunday

  • Breakfast: Scrambled egg with bacon
  • Snack: berries
  • Lunch: Porridge with vegetables
  • Dinner: cabbage wraps with meat.

For drinks, go for pure water, tea or coffee without added sugar; no soda or energy drinks.

No-Sugar Diet Snacks

A snack can help you when you are outside and feel hungry, but there’s no way you can have a proper meal. Healthy snacks are dried fruits and nuts, apples, yogurts, vegetables, fruits, and berries. They will help you reduce your hunger and make your daily menu healthier.

Be aware of the snacks that are sold in shops. Their carbohydrates are too high, and food labels contain many artificial sweeteners and fats. Such meals are sources of empty calories and can ruin your weight loss plans. They are nothing but another type of candy.

The Symptoms Of Sugar Withdrawal

If sweet things make 30% and more of your daily menu, there’s a high chance of having withdrawal symptoms when you cut out added sugar from your diet. They can last up to 3 weeks, and you must keep holding on. This time is crucial. If you make it, you’ll continue your journey and be proud of yourself.

The symptom may vary from person to person: headaches, dizziness, fatigue, lack of energy, insomnia, etc.

How To Reduce The Side Effects?

Side effects are a part a parcel of a no sugar added diet plan; however, there are ways to survive:

  • Eat More Protein

Protein gives you a feeling of satiety so that you won’t look for a snack half an hour after lunch. Beans, meat, and cheese are the first to choose for a menu.

  • Increase Your Dietary Fiber

Fiber improves your bowel health, lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels (it slows down the absorption of sugar). Include foods such as broccoli, carrots, peas, nuts, avocados, and lentils to your no added sugar diet food list to create a diverse menu.

  • Drink Plenty Of Pure Water

Water is essential for our well-being and proper functioning. It improves digestion, balances our blood pressure and sugar levels.

The regular water intake must be at least 1,5 – 2 liters per day.

  • Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners sound safe cause they don’t give calories, but at the same time, they make you eat more and increase your sugar cravings. Give preference to the food with simple ingredients; the fewer, the better.

  • Avoid Stressful Situations

So many things already mentioned about it. Stress makes us anxious, and we start looking for comfort. Sweets are the easiest yet a pretty dangerous way to do it; they give you a moment of pleasure but make you dependent and add extra pounds.

  • Work Out On A Regular Basis

No added sugar diet results can be impressive in terms of lost pounds, but your body requires shaping. Add physical activities to strengthen your muscles and body. Depending on the place where you accumulate fat, you may choose the appropriate exercises – for saddle bags, love handles, belly fat, chest fat, knee fat, etc.

  • Get Enough Sleep

Sleeping is a must-do on your list. If you don’t sleep continuously for 7-9 hours, you’re about to start a domino effect: not enough sleep – constant tiredness – exhaustion – depression – emotional hunger feed – extra weight – depression…You are the one who needs to stop this vicious cycle. Sleep enough to function and live on the full.

Bottom line

Sugar free diet benefits your health – physical and mental; it helps to prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, mood swings, and helps to lose weight – the list is endless; just try and see yourself.

Apart from that, the economic benefits of reducing sugar are quite noticeable – alcohol, snacks, pastries, etc., are pretty expensive. Go for simple food – save your health and money; and enjoy the best version of yourself.

🍴Does No–Sugar Diet Include Fruits❓

🍴Yes, they are a healthy source of natural sugar and fiber. They provide our body with nutrients and vitamins, making us strong. If people want to eliminate all sugars on the food list, the limits will become too extreme, leading to health risk for some people.

🍴Does No–Sugar Diet Help Lose Weight❓

🍴As long as you reduce sugar consumption gradually, you will set a slow but steady process for weight loss. But the results depend on your whole lifestyle and eating behavior. If you have only foods with no sugar but greasy, then what's the point? Be moderate and keep the balance.

🍴What’s The Difference Between Natural And Refined Sugars❓

🍴Sugar is a simple carbohydrate; it gives our body energy. Natural sugars are found in fruits and dairy products. Natural sugar is vital for our overall health as it provides essential nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins. Refined sugar, hidden in packaged foods, dips, salad dressings, crackers, tomato sauces, etc., comes from sugar cane or beets, which are processed to extract the sugar. Refined sugars lead to severe health problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease; fat storages also result from our excessive consumption of refined carbs.

Useful Links:

1. Sugar Reduction Targets

2. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025

 

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