Here’s How To Start A No
- First, keep a sugar log for a week to figure out where your sugar is coming from.
- Now cut or make swaps! For the items on your sugar log that are the biggest culprits, buy no-sweetener versions and/or look for foods that give you the same vibe, without the added sugar. For example, if you’ve been buying sweetened applesauce, opt for an unsweetened version without added sugar or high fructose corn syrup, or try making your own!
- Next, work on shifting your mindset from an “I love and need sugar!” one to an “I can survive without it” one. Making lifestyle changes that support a low-sugar mentality can help, says Blatner, such as eating three balanced meals a day to keep you satisfied, getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night, drinking plenty of water throughout the day, and getting at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity
- Now it’s time to focus on what you’re adding, not subtracting, from your diet. Enjoy the process of finding natural or no sugar swaps instead of ruminating about what you’re not allowed to eat, and be curious enough to try new things with an open mind, Blatner saysthis is the power of positive psychology!
How Does Sugar Affect Your Body
First of all, lets explain what sugar is. When people hear the word, they immediately think of the white grains in a bowl on the breakfast table. But sugar, technically speaking, is the most basic building block of carbohydrate. With the exception of fiber, all forms of carbs are made up of what are known as simple sugarsglucose, fructose, and galactose. Simple sugars are found in fruits and sweets, for example, and when they bond with each other, they can form complex carbs, such as those in potatoes and grains. But no matter what kind of carbs youre talking about, when they digest in the body, theyre all broken down into glucose.
Sugar is absorbed primarily through the small intestine and into the bloodstream, says Ashley Ortega, Wellness Manager and nutritionist for Victory Medical, a clinic in Austin, TX. Once in the bloodstream, the pancreas is prompted to release insulin, which allows glucose to be taken into the cells so that it may be utilized to produce ATP moleculesthe energy source that we use to do everything from thinking to lifting weights.
Generally speaking, simple sugars digest very quickly and therefore raise blood sugar levels very sharply, promoting a strong insulin response. Complex carbs take longer to be broken down, and so they raise blood sugar less quickly, providing a longer, steadier supply of energy.
Its when you eat processed foods that have sugars added to them by manufacturers that you get into trouble.
If You Do Decide To Do A No
Theoretically, following a no-sugar diet could help you shed pounds because many sugary foods are also high in empty calories. By decreasing your intake of added sugar, youll be cutting out a substantial amount of calories and therefore may see a decline in your weight. Choosing more nutritious carbohydrate sources that are filled with fiber, such as fruits and whole grains, can provide nutrition and satiety for a fraction of the calories of those sugary foods.
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Best Foods Without Sugar
Whether you’re trying to get leaner or eat better overall, you can choose from hundreds of foods without sugar. Vegetables, meat, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts and seeds are all healthy choices. Unprocessed meats, fish and seafood contain no sugar or carbs. Another good choice is avocado, which has only 0.4 grams of sugar per serving .
Salmon sugar content, for example, is zero. Not to mention that you’ll get more than 21 grams of protein and just 155 calories per serving . The same goes for steak â one serving has slightly more than 200 calories, over 24 grams of quality protein, 14 grams of fat and no carbs or sugars.
When it comes to the sugar in cheese and other dairy foods, things get a little bit tricky. Milk and its derivatives, including cheese, contain lactose, a natural sugar. Food manufacturers may also add this ingredient to cereals, lunch meat, bread and other canned or boxed products.
Whole milk, for example, provides 11 grams of sugars per cup. The same amount of fat-free skim milk contains 12.4 grams of sugars. Low-fat cottage cheese boasts 3 grams of sugar per serving . Other types of cheese, such as Camembert, Brie, Gruyere and soft goat cheese are sugar-free.
Replacing White Sugar With Honey Or Brown Sugar Wont Offer Health Benefits
Is the sugar in natural food better than the sugar in processed food then?
Well no, not exactly. Sugar is sugar.
The sugar molecules themselves arent necessarily any different. For example, the sugar in fruits like bananas and grapes are a 50:50 mix of glucose and fructose, which is the same as table sugar .
These sugar molecules arent inherently bad unless consumed in excess , and what makes natural sources of sugar more healthful is the nutrients they come packaged along with not the simple fact that theyre naturally occurring.
So dont go kidding yourself by thinking that drizzling tablespoons of honey, maple sugar, or agave nectar in your coffee is far healthier that table sugar.
So you should take a more holistic approach to your nutritional intake and not look at foods or ingredients in isolation its the package and diet as a whole that counts.
With all that said, many of us in the modern world are consuming too much added sugar and could do with making strides towards a less sugary diet. This doesnt necessarily mean attempting to detox yourself from the white stuff Rather, a more balanced, healthy, and sustainable approach thats actually supported by scientific evidence and government recommendations would most likely lead to better results .
I wish I had known this myself back in my no sugar diet days, and taking a less extreme approach would have saved me a lot of time, effort, and mental energy used up resisting the sugary temptations of Ben and Jerrys.
Read Also: Whether Banana Is Good For Diabetes
I Spent A Lot Of Time Getting Cozy With Ingredient Lists
As someone who’s covered health and nutrition for years, I knew that I was going to have to avoid more than just candy and cookies since many foods that don’t taste sweet secretly pack sugar. Still, I had to brush up on all of the different names for added sugar and spend a lot of time googling ingredients I didn’t recognize.
At restaurants, I was the annoying person who asked if there was a menu listing all of the ingredients in each dish. But these steps were so necessary.
Name a food, and you can probably find a packaged or restaurant version that contains added sugarincluding soups, sauces, salad dressings, sandwich bread, even roasted veggies at health-food restaurants . In fact, sometimes it was nearly impossible to find convenience foods that didn’t contain “evaporated cane juice” or “maltose” .
I wish I could say there were some foods I was surprised that I could eat, but…there just weren’t. I did find a few packaged foods that were okay . But I literally had to make my own bread each week to be able to eat the goodness that is carbs. Which brings me to my next point…
No Sugar Challenge Friendly Drinks:
Most people are drinking sugar and not even realize it. I used to LOVE drinking sugary drinks.. now I cant stand it.
My advice: You just have to go cold turkey on this one.
I promise you will survive without a teaspoon of sugar or your daily stevia.. eventually, youll grow to like the taste of coffee with out the sweetness!
Say good bye to diet sodas, artificial sweeteners, and even juice you dont need it!
FOR DAY 3:
In short Sorry for the tough love, but youre a big girl/boy. Its time to say bye bye to sugar in your coffee. Its only 7 days, and you can definitely survive with out it!
FOR DAY 4:
Read Also: How To Reduce Diabetes Instantly
What Is The Best Way To Cut Sugar From My Diet
If you currently eat sugar with the rapaciousness of the average American, start by cutting back gradually, and with the most decadent and obvious sources of added sugar. You dont necessarily need to follow a low-carb diet yet start by following a low-crap diet.
Roussell offers a hierarchy of carbohydrates to use as a guide. Its based on the fact that since not all carbs are created equal, there is a spectrum in which you can restrict them, he says. The following is a list of all the major sugar-containing foods. The sugariest among them is at the top, and the sugar content drops the further down you go. The ones at the top are also the most dense in calories while containing fewer nutrients, and, as you approach the bottom of the list, the nutritional content improves while calories and carbs drop off.
Start by decreasing or eliminating your consumption of the foods in the first category, and work your way down slowly as your sweet tooth lessens.
Sugar Free January Meal Planning Tips
Okay! Here are a few lil tipsters for your meal planning during Sugar Free January if you decide to go the meal plan template route.
- You dont have to make something different every day. Batch your easy meals, like breakfast and lunch. I dont mind eating the same food a few days in a row as long as its really, really good.
- Leave space for leftovers and eating out. If I make one pasta recipe that serves 6-8 people, and theres only 2 adults in the house we should be able to eat that 3-4 times. Leave space for your leftovers and for any nights or weekends you might be eating out.
- Limit to one fancy or new recipe per week. Try doing an EASY meal prep style recipe on the weekend so that it can carry you through the week for lunch, and then just pick one or two fancy recipes to make for dinner throughout the week.
This month , we are LOADING YOU UP ON RECIPES so you have lots of yummy things to choose from as you decide what you want to eat during this challenge.
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From The Bottle And Can
Beverages are one of the biggest sources of added sugars in our diets.
Eliminate soda from your regular diet. Just get rid of it. If you must, drink diet soda. Ideally, though, you should get rid of diet soda, too.
That may sound extreme, but sweetened beverages are by far the biggest source of added sugar in the American diet 47 percent, according to the federal government. Soda along with sweetened sports drinks, energy drinks and iced teas is essentially flavored, liquefied sugar that pumps calories into your body without filling you up. Among all foods and beverages, says Kelly Brownell, an obesity expert and dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke, the science is most robust and most convincing on the link between soft drinks and negative health outcomes.
Get this: A single 16-ounce bottle of Coke has 52 grams of sugar. Thats more added sugar than most adults should consume in an entire day.
As for diet soda, researchers arent yet sure whether theyre damaging or harmless. Some scientists think diet soda is perfectly fine. Others, like the Yale cardiologist Dr. Harlan Krumholz, think it may be damaging. Dr. Krumholz recently announced that after years of pounding diet sodas, he was giving them up. There is reason to believe, he wrote, that the artificial sweeteners they contain lead to weight gain and metabolic abnormalities.
Wait You Can Keep Dark Chocolate
Sure! Going sugar free can mean whatever you want it to mean. For us, it has meant figuring out how to cut out the sugar that doesnt make us feel good without dreading meals, feeling deprived, or setting ourselves up to fail.
To help with this process, you can create a Sugar Free Plan that is specific and unique to YOU.
What you can think about:
- What will help me feel my best?
- What sweet foods can I enjoy that will also provide nutritional benefit?
- What will make this a sustainable, realistic, and happy experience for me?
For example: sushi rice is made with sugar but maybe you decide that a Friday night spicy tuna roll is something that feels good to you, so you eat it.
Another example: maybe eating a lot of bread just makes you crave more sugar, so you watch out for bread for the month in addition to other sugars.
Its easy to want someone else to make the rules for a challenge like this, but we really dont want to do that with Sugar Free January. Instead, it is about thinking about your sugar consumption what feels good, what doesnt and getting back to the foods that really bring out your best AND bring you joy. Remember, at the end of the day: make your own choices.
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Control Portions And Timing
The amount of food you eat impacts your blood glucose levels. Eating bigger portions causes your blood sugar levels to rise more than eating smaller portions, according to University of Illinois Extension. Timing of meals and snacks also impacts blood sugar levels. University of Illinois suggests that eating three meals and one or two snacks at the same time every day helps keep your blood glucose levels more consistent.
No Sugar Diet Meal Plan
Learn how to follow a no sugar diet, with information about how going sugar-free can benefit your health. This post also includes a no sugar meal plan, including snack ideas.
If youre worried about what you can eat when on a sugar free diet, dont worry! Ill share tips and meal ideas on a no sugar diet. First, lets talk about why sugar is a problem.
Sugar consumption is at an all-time high. The average American consumes at least 17 teaspoons of sugar a day, when the recommended amount is ideally less than 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
If youre following a standard American diet, chances are that youll find sugar in nearly everything you eat. Sugar is sneaky, making its way into even savory foodsyou likely have no idea how much youre actually consuming.
Sugar harms our health by sabotaging weight management, increasing inflammation, and leading to addiction.
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The Hierarchy Of Carbs From Worst To Best
1. Foods containing added sugar. Sweets such as candy, pastries, sweetened drinks , sweetened foods .
2. Refined grains. White bread , white rice, pasta, crackers, bagels, baked goods.
3. Whole grains/starches. Brown rice, oats, whole-grain bread, quinoa.
4. Fruit. Apples, bananas, peaches, pineapples, pears, berries, etc.
5. Starchy vegetables. Carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, beets, etc.
6. Green vegetables. Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, Brussels sprouts, etc.
Eliminating sugary foods doesnt have to mean cutting out all snacks and desserts. You can swap foods from the lower levels of the spectrum in for the ones on the higher rungs to avoid hunger and ease temptation. For example, start substituting strawberries for Starbursts. If you usually eat cheeseburgers and drink soda at lunch, try switching to burgers in whole-grain buns or lettuce wraps and sip on sparkling water.
Never remove a carb group from your diet if you are still eating foods from a group above it. For example, dont cut out apples if you are still gorging on bagels. Apples have plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that bagels dont, so eliminating them before you do white dough makes no sense.
Two More Recommendations For Your Vegan Journey
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