There are many extreme sugar-free diets, which will forbid every single food that contains sugar. These diets are often so severe, that they forbid even the natural type of foods like fruits or vegetable. When they say “no sugar”, they mean it. So not even carrots, peas or parsnips are allowed. However, if you don’t want to be too harsh on yourself, you have to know that there are some less restrictive sugar free diets, from which you can choose. This diets will allow you to consume sugary fruits and vegetables but no juices, even natural. These diets forbid any form of processed sugar or honey. The “blacklist” of these diets contains foods like: sweet snacks, biscuits, pastries, cakes, sweetened yogurt, sweeten soups or sauces.
Why should you cut the sugar from your diet?
Many nutritionists are saying that sugar is a very addictive substance, and like any addiction it must be stopped before it becomes too harmful for you. For example, every gram of sugars and/or starches, contains about 17 kilojoules. Proteins have the same value of 17 kilojoules, while alcohol has almost double (29 kilojoules/gram). The unprocessed fats are the “leaders” of this top, with about 37 kilojoules/gram. That’s why, if you follow a sugar-free diet, you will do more than just cut kilojoules from sugar. Most of the foods with added sugar, contain an impressive list of starches or fat. Biscuits, snacks, ice cream and some desserts are known to be rich in the above mentioned substances. If you follow the sugar-free diet, you will have many more indirect benefits.
What are the harmful effects of sugar excess?
Besides its good taste, sugar has no essential nutrients. In other words, it’s pointless and your body doesn’t need it at all. That would not represent a problem, but sugar can be pretty harmful for you, if consumed in large quantities. There are no studies which confirm that you should TOTALLY cut sugar from your diet but moderation is needed. The World Health Organization approached this problem multiple times and they are always advising against sugar excess. According to them, sugar must be limited to a minimum of 10% from your daily total energy. Otherwise, it will increase the chance of dental caries, obesity or even some chronic diseases. The American Heart Association are even more pessimistic and they consider that sugar should be limited to less than 5% of daily energy. This measure must be taken in order to prevent the excessive weight gain, which is an important risk factor for heart diseases.
Should I really give up sugary fruit and vegetables?
There are some nutritionists who are saying that, but there is no study to sustain this theory. Fruit and vegetables come with many beneficial vitamins and minerals, and consuming them will actually help you lose weight, by increasing your metabolism. The only problem here can be with fructose. Researches shown that fructose can be problematic, but only in high doses, which can never be reached from fruit and vegetables. However, a person who exercises regularly, will experience no problems with fructose.
How to cut down on sugar?
Sugar is not present in any official list of addictive substances. However, its sweet taste will create an increased pleasure for your taste buds and therefore, the brain will continuously ask for it. This is how any kind of addiction forms. So the following actions are needed in order to reduce the sugar intake:
– Avoid any foods that contain unnecessarily nutrients, foods like biscuits, pastries, soft drinks and confectionery.
– Limit the cakes and sugary desserts.
– Carefully read the ingredients list of any breakfast cereals, before you buy it. Don’t look at the total sugar because some of it could be natural. Instead, focus at how much artificial sugar that certain product has. Switch your existing cereals with oats or muesli.
– Take care at products like sauces or marinades and also read the ingredients list. If the sugar levels are too high, you should avoid them. Instead, prepare your own products using wine, flavored vinegar, olive oil, different herbs, condiments, garlic or onion.
– Buy only natural yogurt and add fruit in it.
The sugar-free diets are extremely beneficial and will bring a notable improvement to your general health. However, deprivation is a very dangerous factor and you should not neglect it. For example, you should allow yourself to make some exceptions at special occasions and to eat some small desserts from time to time.