Are you ready to take the no sugar challenge? Cutting out added sugar from your diet could have a range of health benefits, according to the American Heart Association. In the foods you’re eating, sugar is listed with up to 50 different names. Glucose, sucrose, syrups, and more are all sugar sources and can often be replaced with healthier alternatives.
What Happens When You Stop Eating Sugar for a Month?
The no sugar challenge is popular around January when people are suffering after overindulging throughout the holiday season, but you can start it at any time. The idea is to quit added sugar for 30 days. Many people enjoy the benefits so much that they stick with a low or no sugar diet for much longer. Sugar is addictive, so taking a forced break from it can help break that addiction, leading to a long-term healthier diet.
Reported effects of a no sugar diet include:
- Better focus
- Better sleep
- More energy
- Improved mood
- Less reliance on sweet treats to de-stress or relax
- Weight loss
High sugar intake is also linked to cardiovascular disease, so there are many serious reasons to kick the sugar habit.
How to Stop Eating Sugar
As sugar is in so many of the foods you eat, having a true, no sugar diet can be pretty tough. The key is to try and say goodbye to as much artificially added sugar as possible. Examples of sugary foods that you can cut out are:
- Soda and other soft drinks
- Sweet pies, cookies, and other baked goods
- Ready meals
- Jellies and other sweet spreads
Moving to a low sugar diet means cutting out these sources of added sugar. Swap out soda for water, herbal tea, or diluted juice. Sugar-free or “diet” soda doesn’t always help, as it can, paradoxically, encourage weight gain.
Swap jelly for unsweetened, low salt nut butter, and have a go at making your own meals from scratch. That way, you can control exactly how much sugar you’re consuming. Knowing how to stop eating sugar is all about figuring out which sugary foods you really love, and what you can realistically swap them for a while maintaining a balanced diet.
Starting a no sugar diet can lead to cravings, which can make some dieters feel low and make it more challenging to complete the 30 days. Top tips include making sure you feel full by eating enough fat and protein, finding some low sugar snacks that you love and that will cheer you up, and having a good sleep routine will help stop your sugar cravings too.
Can You Lose Weight by Cutting Out Sugar?
Will I lose weight if I cut out sugar?
This is one of the most common questions about the no sugar diet. Weight loss is also a top reason people cut out sugar. Sugar is a fast energy source for the body, and it’s a simple fact that if you lower the amount of sugar in your body, your body will start to burn fat as energy instead.
Of course, the key to weight loss is a healthy diet and moving your body, so don’t kick your gym habit while kicking your sugar habit! You need to exercise and keep your heart and lungs healthy as well as burning fat through intelligent dieting.
The Best Sugar-Free Diet Plans
Here are a few ways you can try to curb your sugar cravings and feel the benefits of a low sugar diet.
The keto diet or ketogenic diet relies on a lack of sugar to promote what’s known as ketosis. This is where your body starts to burn its own internal fuel rather than sugar stores. Keto followers cut out most carbs and sugar to spark this process, lowering blood glucose levels and burning fat. The keto diet is a very low-carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet. Keto-friendly foods include lean meats, seafood, some fruits, and low carb veggies like kale and cauliflower, and fats such as avocados, nuts, olive oil, and coconut oil, to name a few.
This diet plan is not vegan-friendly, as it does demand some animal protein. This diet kicks out white potatoes, bread, and rice because those starchy foods get broken down into sugars in your body. This diet avoids the traditional “low fat, low salt” methods and instead focuses on grains and protein and a select number of fruits and veggies.
No Sugar Diet Food List
The following foods either have only naturally occurring sugars, or they are foods with no sugar at all.
Foods With Natural Sugars
- Dairy contains lactose, a naturally occurring sugar: milk, yogurt, cheese.
- Fruit contains another natural sugar, fructose: Watermelon, avocados, and kiwi are all relatively low sugar fruits.
- Many vegetables also contain sugars, but they also provide so many beneficial vitamins and minerals, making them highly nutritious.
Low Sugar Foods
- Trail mix
- Low sugar cereals
- Fruit-infused fizzy water
- Whole grain bread
- Brown rice
- Turkey and chicken
- Whitefish such as pollock
- Deli meats like pastrami, but be aware of raising your salt intake too much
- Soy protein
- Unsweetened tea or coffee
Even if you decide a no sugar diet is not for you, the World Health Organization recommends that sugar should make up only 10% or less of your daily intake of energy, with 5% being the ideal. Use the tips above to make savvy snack swaps and stay on top of your health and wellbeing.
A sugar-free diet could have a range of health benefits. Taking coffee with no sugar, switching to healthy snacks, plus checking out a sugar-free diet plan could help you lose weight and feel healthier.