An average adult consumes more sugar than required, which does more harm to your health than it does good to your taste buds. It is best to reduce the consumption of added sugars, and sugar-free or no-sugar diets are popular because they are effective ways to stay healthy as well as lose weight.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), average American adults get 15% of their daily calories solely from added sugar, which leaves out natural sugars that are present in fruits or milk. Excess sugar intake is linked to countless health complications like obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, chronic inflammation, dental cavities and plaque, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Reducing sugar intake and replacing sweet foods with healthier options can boost overall health.
1. Foods to avoid when on a sugar-free diet
- Watermelon, pineapple, and parsnips are fruits high in sugar content, so it is best to avoid them.
- Cakes, pastries, cookies, and candies are the worst forms of sugar and should be avoided.
- Potatoes are a red flag when on a sugar-free diet.
- White rice, white flour, and white bread are not allowed.
- Baked foods, soda, and corn are restricted foods.
- Vegetables like carrots and beets should be avoided when following a sugar-free diet.
2. Artificial sugars and sweeteners
Artificial sugars are another form of added sugars that have been controversial in the food industry. They are excessively sweet, even more than sugar, but contain no calories. However, consuming artificial sugars tricks the body into believing that it is having sugar, which may increase sugar cravings, making it even more difficult to follow a sugar-free diet. When you are on a no-sugar diet, it is best to avoid the following artificial sweeteners:
- Sweet’N Low
At times, you may be tricked by the chemical names of these sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, neotame, saccharin, and acesulfame K, so keep an eye on the foods you eat.
3. Health benefits of a sugar-free diet
Eliminating sugar from your diet has several health benefits:
- Promotes weight loss
- Prevents obesity
- Improves energy levels
- Clears skin
- Reduces mood swings
- Reduces inflammation
- Lessens the risk of digestive disorders
- Lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes
4. Risk factors
Before beginning a sugar-free diet, you must consider whether you want to eliminate added sugar as well as natural sugars. Sources of natural sugars include fresh fruits and some milk products. While some diets propagate eliminating fruits, it may not be fail-proof. Fruits provide essential nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and other compounds that protect the body, so adding some whole fruits to a sugar-free diet can be healthy if you are eating fruits in moderation.
Lastly, eliminating sugar should not be considered as the ultimate weight loss solution. It is just one part of a major lifestyle shift, and it aids weight loss when combined with moderate exercise.