Is there too much sugar in your diet? The consumption of refined sugar, iodized salt, and bad fat has become a big problem around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 8.5% (2014) of the world has diabetes. One option is to reduce your daily sugar consumption. If you want to use an extreme diet you can eliminate every single grain of the white granules via the no-sugar diet. This might seem tough and especially since you’ll have to read the ingredients label of many pre-packaged foods you buy at the supermarket. However, it’s the best option if you want to lower blood sugar levels.
This no-sugar diet is strict but can provide several benefits. The main ones include lower blood sugar levels and risk of diabetes. If you already have diabetes then this is an excellent way to combat it. White sugar-like other refined grains cause blood sugar to spike. There are better options like raw sugar but if you’re already battling pre-diabetes or diabetes then it’s better to cut all sugar from your diet. This includes raw, dark, light, and white varieties. It’s better to quit cold turkey. You can also go with natural substitutes like Stevia, and honey or maple syrup if allowed.
What’s the No Sugar Diet?
As the name suggests this diet eliminates all sugar from your diet. However, this is different from a low-sugar diet. This one eliminates all types of sweet stuff whether it’s table sugar or added sugar in products ranging from caramel popcorn to chocolate chip cookies, and from jelly-filled donuts to regular Coke.
One of the toughest parts of this diet is removing “hidden sugar” from your diet. For example, some processed foods might not seem to have any sugar because they’re not super-sweet. However, if you check out the ingredients list it includes the white stuff.
One big question is whether “natural sugars” are included in the diet. For example, apples, oranges, and white rice contain “sugars” but not from sugarcane plants. However, this is more like a “sugar detox” that focuses on the blood sugar itself instead of processed sugar.
That said, there’s some leeway with this diet just like there are different types of vegetarians. What’s most important is the ultimate goal of getting healthier by reducing sweeteners from your diet.
One of the keys of this diet is to know that sugar isn’t always listed as such in the ingredients list. For example, you might see it listed as beet or palm sugar. You also might see it labeled as syrup like maple or rice.
One of the most common (and unhealthiest) types of sugar is something called high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Americans consume an average of 35 pounds of HFCS per year. One of the main dangers is it turns to fat faster and can result in a fatty liver.
The worst part of refined sugar is it provides no nutritional value. It’s actually a chemical that’s removed from plants and isn’t a food group. It could be said it’s not even food! The only “benefit” is tastier morsels.
Mechanics and Benefits
It’s important to know what you can’t eat on a sugar-free diet. Here are some of the foods that are off the table:
- Refined carbs (e.g. white flour and rice)
- High-sugar fruits/vegetables
- Caffeine (high amounts)
As noted, there’s some leeway about whether or not you include refined grains or fruits/veggies that are high in natural sugars. One key issue to consider is your current health condition. If you already have diabetes then you might want to ditch not only table/added sugar but also foods high in natural sugars since they can cause spikes in blood sugar.
Here are foods that get a thumbs up for this diet:
- Whole grains
- Low-sugar fruits/veggies
- Low-fat dairy
If you follow this diet and the above-mentioned food lists you can enjoy multiple benefits including:
1. Easy to follow
One of the main benefits of this diet is it’s very basic. You just cut all sugar and possibly high-sugar fruits, vegetables, and grains.
It’s worth noting what this diet DOESN’T include. You don’t have to:
- Count calories (Weight Watchers)
- Fast for 18+ hours a day (Intermittent Fasting)
- Eat one meal a day (OMAD)
- Go low carb (Atkins)
- Go low-carb/high-fat (Keto)
- Eat like cavemen (Paleo)
There’s a grey area about what “sugar” is but this I more about the diet’s version instead of how difficult it is to follow.
There’s a book/e-book so you should consider getting it. However, you won’t need special ingredients or dietary supplements. This makes it cheaper and easier to follow the diet vs. others on the market.
3. High in nutrients/fiber
This sugarless diet isn’t just about what you can’t eat but also what you can. For example, you’ll be swapping out beer and high amounts of caffeine. In addition, you’ll be getting lots of fiber through fruit/vegetable skins, whole grains, etc.
Tips to Get Started
If you’re just starting with this diet here are some helpful tips to get the (sugarless) ball rolling:
1. Read ingredient labels
This will help to eliminate processed food with “hidden” sugar. Sometimes you might be surprised that certain products contain sugar not to mention lots of it.
A related issue is what to look for. There are the obvious cane/brown/white types of sugar. However, there’s also corn syrup, cane juice, beet/coconut sugar, and specific names like muscovado/turbinado.
2. Watch out for high-sugar drinks
These are actually some of the most common sources of the stuff. The most obvious ones are sodas and energy/sports drinks. However, you might be surprised how much is in store-bought coffee/tea drinks and fruit juices.
What should you drink? Water, brewed coffee, and green tea are great options. DIY fruit juices/smoothies with zero sugar are also good options.
3. Skip artificial sweeteners
These are not only unnatural but might be worse than the real deal. That’s because they “trick” people’s minds into thinking they’re eating sugar.
4. Eliminate simple carbs
This might or might not be required in the no-sugar diet you follow. This includes foods like white rice/pasta/flour. Even if it’s not required in your diet it’s a good idea to ditch these foods. They cause your blood sugar to spike and have fewer nutrients than whole-grain foods.
5. Do it gradually
The process is like ditching other stuff like fast food, cigarettes, or alcohol. You could quit cold turkey but it’s better to ease into it. You could start with high-sugar items like sodas, candy, and cookies.
Another method is to slowly phase out sugar in your drinks like coffee, tea, and juice. For example, if you like a few spoons of the white grains in your coffee you could cut ½ spoon at a time. Eventually, your coffee will have zilch white granules in the no-sugar diet.