Many adults eat a lot more sugar than necessary, so cutting down on sugar intake is a healthy idea for most people. Some people may want to go a step further and cut sugar from their diet completely. This no-sugar diet has been gaining popularity as people continue to search for effective ways to lose weight or to live healthily. However, with all the health benefits of a sugar-free diet, there are a few things to keep in mind.
This article discusses 8 best practices for cutting down on sugar and some of the risks to consider.
Why Cut Down On Sugar?
Cutting down on sugar can improve a person’s health. Many adults eat a lot more sugar than recommended. This sugar intake does not even contain natural sugars found in products such as milk and fruits. Excess sugar consumption is linked to several harmful conditions, including:
- Heart Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- High Cholesterol
- Elevated Blood Pressure
- Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome
- Chronic Inflammation
- Dental Plaque & Cavities
- Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
By cutting down on sugar in the diet, you can lower the risk of developing these conditions. By replacing high-sugar foods with healthy options, you can get all the essential vitamins and minerals without the extra calories. If needed, it can also help you lose weight.
Tips For Cutting Down On Sugar:
Here are 8 simple tips a person can use to help cut out sugar from their diet:
1. Take It Slow
One of the most important things to consider when modifying your diet is to change it gradually. Switching from a high-sugar diet to a no-sugar diet should be a slow process. It can be helpful to eliminate the most prominent sources of sugar first. People can easily avoid baked goods such as muffins, cakes, and brownies.
Cutting down on sugar-made products like sweets and sugary drinks is also an excellent point to start. People can also reduce the amount of sugar and cream they add to their tea or coffee until they are no longer using any. Building a sugar-free diet can help a person retrain the palate, which means they will be less likely to crave the missing sugar.
2. Read the Product Labels
Once a person has managed to eliminate the most apparent sugars from their diet, they can turn their attention to other sugar-containing products. Reading product labels can help you identify the types of sugars you want to avoid. To determine if sugar has been added to a food, check the ingredients list.
It is also important to note the order in which sugar appears on the list, as the ingredients are ranked first with the highest percentage. Sugars are hidden in many different supermarket foods. Reading the label is a must for those who are focussing on cutting down on sugar.
3. Focus on Whole Foods
Someone on a sugar-free diet should aim to eat whole foods too. Processed foods are likely to contain added sugars or refined ingredients. Diets that focus on complete and whole foods include the following options: Fruits, vegetables, poultry, lean meats, tofu, fish, whole grains, unprocessed grains or legumes, seeds, and nuts. Some people may select to keep a small number of dairy products in their diets, like plain yogurt, milk, and simple cheese.
4. Avoid Artificial Sugars
Artificial sugar is controversial in the diet industry. They are sweeter than sugar but have little or no calories. However, consuming artificial sugar can lead the body to believe that it is eating sugar. It can increase the need for sugar and make it more challenging to follow a sugar-free diet.
5. Avoid Simple Carbohydrates
Many sugar-free diets also recommend avoiding simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are white rice, white flour, and white pasta. The body quickly breaks down these simple carbohydrates into sugars. This process causes blood sugar to rise. A person can usually replace simple carbohydrates with whole grains.
6. Don’t Drink Sugars
Sugar can be easily avoided in processed foods. However, sugar-sweetened drinks are among the top sources of added sugars in your diet. These include soft drinks, specialty sweetened teas, coffees, and fruit juices. Replacing these drinks with non-sugar coffee, unsweetened herbal teas, bottled water, or plain water can help a person stay hydrated without increasing sugar intake.
7. Season With spices
The palate often lacks sugar because it has no other flavors to replace it. However, people can easily add lots of sweet-tasting herbs and spices to foods and drinks to replace sugar. Common substitutes include cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and vanilla. It can be a tasty addition to coffee, yogurt, or oatmeal.
8. Plan Meals
It is hard to stick to a diet without a plan. If a person is hungry, they are more likely to reach for a sweet snack when nutritious meals or healthy alternatives are not on hand. Many people take a day to do both shopping and preparing meals for the entire week. With healthy food ready to go, you are less tempted to reach for a bar or soft drink.
Some Risks and Considerations – when cutting down on sugar
Before adopting a sugar-free diet, a person should consider whether to eliminate natural sugars as well. Natural sugar is found in fruits and some dairy products. While supporters of some sugar-free diet plans say that it may not be the healthiest choice if someone cut out fruit. Fruit contains many essential nutrients, including fiber, antioxidants, and other healthy compounds that help protect the body against disease.
So, it will be healthy to include whole fruits in a sugar-free diet. However, if a person eats dried fruits, they should do so in moderation and look for varieties without added sugars. Cutting sugar from the diet is not a complete weight loss solution. It is part of a lifestyle change that should include regular exercise and a nutritious diet.
Anyone who is aiming for cutting down on sugar should see a doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian, especially if they have health concerns.
People who want to follow a sugar-free diet should do so gradually. Changing the diet schedule or eating sugar on special occasions can help some people cope with the diet’s loss of sweetness. Cutting down on sugar is a good idea for many people as it reduces the risk of various health conditions and can improve a person’s overall health.