For most people a no sugar diet is typically hard to follow because so many foods and beverages contain sugar. Here are some guidelines from health experts that will help you follow a no sugar diet.
Glucose is the simplest form of sugar. When you eat sugar, it’s rapidly absorbed by your body into the bloodstream, which causes weight gain and other symptoms such as energy followed by fatigue.
The body breaks down all forms of carbohydrates like sugar or glucose for its primary source of energy. The speed used for the entry of glucose into the blood is called the glycemic index. The higher the glycemic index of foods, the quicker they enter the blood stream. Foods that contain a lot of sugar like candy, cakes, sweetened sodas and drinks, sweetened cereals, sweetened muffins, and white precessed foods are high on the glycemic index. To eat a no sugar or low sugar diet, be sure to eat mostly foods on the lower end of the glycemic index.
Foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans tend to have a lower glycemic index, so these foods do not cause weight gain or blood sugar fluctuations. Many of these foods contain healthy natural sugar that won’t spike blood sugar levels.
Beware of These Sugar Terms
Glucose or sugar is also referred to as dextrose.
Fructose is the main sugar found in fruits and vegetables. It’s absorbed a little more slowly into the bloodstream.
Sucrose consists of one molecule glucose and one molecule fructose. It typically consists of sugar beets or sugar cane.
Lactose is the primary sugar found in milk. People who are lactose intolerant do not produce enough lactase in their intestine.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup is produced from corn. Many food and beverage products consist of high fructose corn syrup. It extends the shelf life of these products, and research has associated it with the increase of obesity and diabetes in the United States.
Brown sugar simply consists of white sugar with a small amount of blackstrap molasses.
How to follow a no sugar diet
The best way to lose weight and follow a no sugar diet is to educate yourself about the terms in the ingredients of products masquerading as sugar. Here are the most common:
- High fructose corn syrup or corn syrup
If any of these three words are listed in the first three to four ingredients, you can be assured there is a lot of sugar in the product.
There are healthier alternatives to assuage a sweet tooth:
Stevia is completely natural. It’s derived from a plant in Central and South America. It has few to no calories and can be found in most health stores in powdered or liquid form. Some complain stevia has bitter taste, but it’s widely used to sweeten some coffees, teas and baked goods.
Agave nectar is derived from the Mexican agave plant. It’s low on the glycemic index and has virtually no effect on blood sugar levels, which makes it an excellent product for diabetics.
Sugar alcohols or polyols such as maltitol, sorbitol, isomalt contain fewer calories than sugar; however, they are not completely absorbed by the body and may have side effects such as bloating, upset stomach, gas and diarrhea.
Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) and cyclamate (Sweet ‘N Low, Sugar Twin) may cause side effects. Some research suggests that aspartame may cause headaches, depression and stomach upset. Cyclamate may speed the formation of cancer cells.
Other artificial sweeteners like sucralose (Splenda) and acesulfame potassium Ace K (Sunett) require more research to determine their safety.
Best Way to Lose Weight
Avoiding sugar and foods high on the glycemic index is one of the best ways to lose weight. Be especially careful about the beverages you choose to drink each day. In general, people get about 1/5 of their daily calories from beverages. Opt for plain water, organic unsweetened teas or unsweetened carbonated water like Perrier.
Tips for Breaking the Sugar Habit
The following tips will help you stick to a no sugar diet:
- Avoid salt. Salt will make your body crave sugar.
- Eat more vegetables. Not only will they help improve your health and appearance, you’ll also find they taste much better after you stop eating a lot of sugar.
- Eat whole grains like brown rice. They’ll help keep your blood levels stable, which will keep sugar cravings away.
- Choose fruit over processed and sugary foods. There are many fruits that are low on the glycemic index such as cantaloupes and rhubarb. Avoid fruit juices, which usually have a high concentration of sugar.
- Be sure to get enough rest and relaxation every day. Research shows that people who don’t get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night tend to be heavier than those who do get enough rest.
Consuming too much sugar has been attributed to health conditions like depression, cancer, sinus problems, skin problems and a host of other diseases. By avoiding sugar, you’ll not only drop extra pounds, you’ll look and feel much better.
No Sugar Vegan Weight Loss
You may even consider going vegan and adopting a whole-foods plant-based diet. Many people have lost weight fast by avoiding sugar, white flour, meat and dairy. There are also many health benefits associated with vegan weight loss.
In the documentary Forks Over Knives, medical experts who have done extensive research on the consumption of processed foods, meat and dairy argue that a whole-foods plant-based diet is the best way to fight obesity, heart disease, certain cancers and several other health maladies. The Forks Over Knives diet is recommended by two of the main health experts in the film: Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr.
Dr. Campbell is famous for his research in The China Study, and Dr. Esselstyn is famous for his Heart Attack Proof Diet.
Here are two books that may interest you. The first one is Dr. Esselstyn’s famous book about preventing heart attacks, and the second one is about the Forks Over Knives Diet.
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Shulman, Joey, “The Facts on Sugar: Don’t Be Bowled Over.” Alive. May 2010, Issue 331, p146-150.
Wolff, Meg. “Seven Tips to Help Kick the Sugar Habit. LILIPOH. Summer2011, Vol. 16 Issue 64, p55-56.
No Sugar Diet Tips