Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez garnered media attention several years ago for quitting sweets. Since then, posts promoting a sugar-free diet have appeared at random on social media. Furthermore, given the apparent longevity of this diet, it is sense to have some curiosity about the no-sugar diet’s components.
What precisely is a sugar-free diet? Can you actually follow a no-sugar diet? Fruits are fine, but should we exclude anything sweet? Nutritionists dissect everything.
What is a free sugar diet?
It’s crucial to state the obvious: A no-sugar diet has no definite definition. According to the source of your information, there may be a number of differences, says Scott Keatley, R.D., Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy’s co-owner.
Some sugar-free diets, according to Keatley, “ask for the elimination of all added sugar, sugar from fruit, as well as milk sugars.” The most typical variation, he notes, is to completely eliminate added sugar from your diet. If you’re not familiar with the term, added sugar is sugar that is added to foods rather than sugar that is naturally present in them.
What advantages does a sugar-free diet have?
So why do people continue to do this? There are numerous different explanations. According to Jessica Cording, R.D., C.D.N., a dietitian and health coach who is also the author of The Little Book of Game-Changers, “We have so much evidence that demonstrates sugar is a pro-inflammatory meal, and inflammation is a root cause of many different health disorders.” In order to be healthier as a result, several people eliminated sugar from their diets.
According to Keri Gans, M.S., R.D., author of The Small Change Diet, “you could perhaps lower your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and some malignancies.”
Others gave up sugar in an effort to reduce weight. People frequently lose weight when they limit additional sugar, according to Cording. “A lot of extremely appealing manufactured and packaged meals typically have added sugar, so avoiding them will help you consume less unnecessary calories.”
What are the disadvantages of a sugar-free diet?
Depending on how far you want to go with this. You are “losing out on critical elements your body needs to work at its optimum” if you cut out all types of sugar (even naturally occurring sugars) and exclude items like fruits from your diet, according to Gans.
A sugar-free diet is extremely challenging to adhere to. Sugar feels wonderful and can give you a dopamine rush, so it’s difficult to get the added sugar number to zero, according to Keatley. Therefore, cutting off added sugar abruptly could make you feel down more frequently and frustrated by the amount of reading you have to do on packaged or restaurant items.
What foods are allowed on a sugar-free diet?
You can consume any complete food, explains Keatley. He identifies the staple items for this diet as being fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, legumes, nuts, meats, and more.
“You need to scrutinise the food label when you start dipping into things that have been modified,” he advises. Keatley advises avoiding goods that include any of the following:
- brown sugar
- corn sugar
- corn syrup
- high-fructose corn syrup
- raw sugar
- sugar syrup
- turbinado sugar
Do you need a starting point to get you going? Gans provides the following as an illustration of a no-added-sugar diet day:
a dish of oats with unsweetened milk or cow’s milk, a tiny banana, and a tablespoon of natural peanut butter
a sizable salad of mixed greens with grilled chicken, avocado, and chickpeas on top that has been dressed with olive oil and vinegar
a cup of strawberry-topped Greek yoghurt is served.
Salmon that’s been grilled, served with roasted Brussels sprouts and a tiny baked potato that’s been topped with butter or sour cream.
Is it okay to follow a sugar-free diet?
If you concentrate on added sugars and not all sugar-containing meals, Keatley claims that this can be safe. In order to maintain your energy levels, satisfy your taste buds, and achieve your nutritional goals, he advises eating entire foods instead of sugary beverages.
Gans concurs. “It would 100% be safe to do if your diet now contains a big quantity of added sugar and you are now restricting these things,” she explains. “However, if you start to go too far with this, it might be unhealthy. Any restricted diet can have an emotional toll on its user that can influence daily living in addition to denying vital nutrients your body requires.
Overall, doctors advise seeking to reduce your intake of added sugar rather than trying to completely eliminate it. Eliminate the concept of elimination, advises Keatley. “Aim to balance the grammes of added sugar with the grammes of dietary fibre instead of trying to reduce your intake of added sugar to zero. This will result in a diet that is more maintainable and provides advantages besides just lowering sugar intake.