Letting Go of Sugar
The consumption of sugar has numerous negative consequences, from a constant feeling of fatigue to more serious health conditions, such as obesity, insulin resistance, and fatty liver disease. While most of us already know this, many of us are hesitant to adopt a sugar free diet due to the fear of being left with a bland, unsatisfying diet. Fortunately, that's not the case. The following tips are designed to help make your sugar-free lifestyle not only easier, but much more enjoyable.
There are plenty of foods that contain natural sugar, a type of sugar that provides essential nutrients. For example, fruit and honey contain fructose, while dairy products have lactose. These sugars are acceptable when following a no sugar diet, as long as they are enjoyed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. It is suggested that you consume no more than 2 servings of fruit per day.
Refined carbohydrates are also considered a natural sugar, but they should be avoided when adhering to a sugar free diet. This includes white breads, pastas, rice, and crackers. Instead, choose healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grain bread, pasta, and rice.
FOODS TO INCLUDE
There are plenty of healthy options including whole grains, plain low-fat dairy, lean meats and seafood, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of your best options include eggs, grass fed meats, beans, popcorn, quinoa, and brown rice.
FOODS TO AVOID
You should stay away from candy, most cereals, energy drinks, granola bars, fruit juice from concentrate, jelly, corn syrup, molasses, and soft drinks.
If you are uncertain if a food contains sugar, you can easily look at the label. However, keep in mind that there are numerous terms that can be used for sugar in the ingredients list. They include dextrose, lactose, fructose, evaporated cane juice solids, beet sugar, corn sweetener, high fructose corn syrup, demara, and several other words that end with "-ose". If you see any of these ingredients in a food, you should stay away from them when following a no sugar diet.
Avoid sauces and condiments, especially ketchup, barbeque sauce, and sweet and sour sauce. Also be aware that sugar is often hidden in salad dressings, such as balsamic. Be sure to check the label carefully before you add them to your foods.
EASY CHANGES TO MAKE IN YOUR DAILY DIET
It's important to understand that it is very difficult to quit sugar cold turkey. To make the transition easier, you should cut down the amount of added sugar you consume slowly. It may take you a couple of weeks to do this, but it can be done.
- Look for foods that are labeled "unsweetened" or "no added sugar".
- Don't switch to artificial sugars, such as aspartame. Not only are they unhealthy, but they can interfere with your ability to taste naturally sweet foods.
- Use spices to add flavor to your food. Vanilla extract, vanilla powder, ginger, unsweetened cocoa, cinnamon, and nutmeg are all good choices.
- Choose low fat or fat free dairy products that have less than 3 grams of sugar per serving.
- If you cannot go without condiments, be sure to look for the sugar free varieties. Everything from pancake syrup to hot sauce and ketchup can be found sugar free.
Allow yourself the occasional treat. However, you may notice that you can only eat a small amount of super sweet foods, such as cakes, cookies, and ice cream. This is because your taste buds will have adjusted to the taste of natural sugars. As your taste buds begin to really notice the natural sweetness in fruits and veggies, you're likely to notice that they taste better than they did in the past, and your unhealthy cravings will be few and far between.