Sugar is sneaky since you can find it in the vast majority of foods, and yes, that includes savory dishes. Going on a no sugar diet is not your typical diet, but a change in your lifestyle.
Over 30 percent of Americans are obese. An average person's daily intake is around 17 spoons, while it's recommended not to eat over 8. Sugar consumption is at an all-time high.
To keep your health and get to an ideal weight, you shouldn't starve yourself. It's all about finding balance and knowing how to avoid "Five Deadly Whites:"
Refined or white oils
Once you start your no sugar diet, it will be easier to be more mindful about other food choices. But, what's so bad about sugar in the first place?
No sugar diet might save your life
A sugar-free diet involves reducing or completely excluding simple carbohydrates and added sugar from your diet.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, sugar is responsible for numerous diseases that often lead to premature deaths. Among these medical conditions are:
Type 2 diabetes
High blood pressure
Dental plaque and cavity
Cutting sugar may also reduce anxiety, boost energy levels, reduce cravings, improve your sleep and your looks. Going on a no sugar diet will do wonders, but the first steps are always the hardest.
Starting with a no sugar diet
Instead of thinking you're on a diet, plan your meals in advance and think of it as a new eating pattern. Our minds don't respond well to the word diet, and that's why it's better to use something more motivated, as a lifestyle change.
The second issue is sugar itself. It's quite addictive, and you need to gradually and mindfully take the sugar out of your eating regime. In the first few weeks, your cravings will get tempted and hear yourself saying. "well, one chocolate bar can't hurt."
While it's the truth that one chocolate won't kill you, it will send your mind a signal that you're already failing. So, in addition to everything you've learned so far, take your no sugar diet as a challenge, a competition between your cravings and your determination to live a healthier life.
Fibers and proteins are your friends. Empty calories and unhealthy sugars (carbs) are the exact opposite. Keep your table colorful, and prepare to dive into more homemade recipes.
How to cut sugar gradually
Instead of drinking soda, squeeze an orange, and you'll get a healthier option to shut down your cravings. Replace flavored with regular yogurt. If you need a snack, turn to nuts. They are healthful and full of beneficial nutrients.
Cutting sugar gradually means recognizing sugars and replacing them with better options.
Don't fall for substitutes or artificial sweeteners. Some of these are from 200 to 13,000 times sweeter than real sugar!
Artificial sweeteners also are known as:
Sweet 'N Low
It's good to learn to read the labels during your first days of a sugar-free diet. Ingredients such as saccharin, aspartame, neotame, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium are just fancy names for sugar.
The tricky part is that you can find them in products labeled as no-sugar, low-sugar, or low-calorie.
Going ultimately sugar-free is not for everyone, but limiting sugar intake is not that difficult.
Foods with Zero (or Low) Sugar
In case you needed a shopping list for your sugar-free diet, here are some of the most common ingredients with little to no sugar at all:
Unrefined oils (virgin avocado, coconut, olive oil)
Whole milk (or make your almond milk)
Dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa)
Adding spices and herbs is up to you and your preferences. But, there's no excuse for excessive sugar intake when you have so many wonderful combinations right in front of you.
With dark chocolate and fruits and nuts, you can make fantastic desserts, but keep in mind that while it's healthy, eat it in moderation.
Saying goodbye to sugar
Start your day with proteins. Granolas are just as bad donuts. Instead, make a toast with avocado and boil an egg. Or, prepare oatmeal, add some almonds and cinnamon, and you are ready to tackle the day.
Your morning coffee has to change as well. No, we're not talking about ditching caffeine. If you can't drink plain coffee, add nutmeg or cinnamon to get that delicious, rich taste.
Apart from water and more natural coffee options, you can have a glass of fresh juice. That is until you decide whether you can go on a full no sugar diet or you merely want to cut the sugar intake.
Skip salad dressings, and focus all your attention on the veggies. Fish, veggies, olive oils, pecans, turkey, Greek yogurt should always be in your fridge.
Even bread is full of nasty sugars, so try to find the ones with zero sugar, like Ezekiel.
Barbecue sauce and ketchup, for example, are loaded with sugar. Replace them with tomatoes and herbs, and spices. Cayenne, garlic, oregano, rosemary, or turmeric will turn every bland veggie and meat dish into a culinary delight.
There's no real comfort in comfort food. While you're learning that lesson, keep yourself busy by exploring the farmer's market and trying out new recipes.
Breaking up is never easy. Giving up on sugar will make you feel as if you're losing a person, but don't worry. Once the cravings are gone, you will already notice positive changes.
Is the no sugar diet safe?
Once you start paying more attention to labels and all the sneaky ways sugar's hiding in your favorite foods and drinks, you might ask yourself: what about fruits?
If you want to cut the sugar from your life completely, you should know that natural sugars cannot be easily replaced. Fruits and some dairy products do more good than harm.
Instead, you should cut sugars from late-night snacks or dinners. You can make oatmeal with fresh fruits and some homemade peanut butter. That will keep you energized and full.
Saying no to processed sugars is indeed a lifestyle change. With proper exercise, your body and mind are on a path to becoming a better version of yourself.
Some diets, including keto, imply that you should avoid all sugars at all costs. While it's good for losing weight faster, you're risking complications. So, if you're thinking of ultimately going sugar-free, you should do blood tests and talk to a nutritionist.
Weight-loss diets are dangerous, and their effects are rarely long-lasting. But changing your lifestyle towards healthier choices is a sign of self-respect.
Foods and drink to avoid in no sugar diet
Clearly, you're giving up muffins and cakes. Well, you can have a slice if you're at a birthday party.
But, giving up sugar means giving up on processed foods, tacos, crackers, and more. Here's a list of all things that you shouldn't eat to keep your body free from all but natural sugars:
Pastries, like muffins, coffee cakes, or croissants
Baked goods, mostly cookies and cakes
Ice cream and sorbet
Grains such as bread, rice, and pasta
Products with added sugar on the nutrition facts label
Tonic water (try lemon water instead)
Fruit juices (unless you made them from fresh fruits)
Flavored coffee, milk, tea
Other sugar-sweetened beverages
While it seems like a long list, remember that there's a healthier option for each item. Most importantly, read labels, compare them and choose products with the lowest content of added sugars and learn all the fancy names for sugar.
You won't ruin your diet if you have a scoop of ice cream. But try to avoid empty calories, and even when you want to give yourself more freedom, moderation is always the key.
Final thoughts on living a sugar-free life
Since honey is natural sweetener, you can use it unless you're on a strict no sugar diet.
You need fibers and proteins and just a hint of natural sugars to get a balanced, healthy diet. With all the veggies, oils, herbs, and fish, you won't need any supplements.
Clean eating encourages people to eat more homemade meals and to choose foods that are packed with helpful nutrients. There are many choices, and by changing your diet you will notice that you're changing more than eating habits.
You'll start paying more attention to what you put on your face, where you shop, and how much time you spend sitting on a couch for no reason.
There's no need to starve. In fact, starving, just like overeating, are the opposite of healthy. We all want to look good and it truly starts from the inside. Meaning, you are really what you eat!