When we talk about reducing sugar, you might immediately think ‘uh oh, a diet!’. I know for me, the old way of thinking of ‘a diet’ always conjures up images of portion-controlled, bland grilled chicken and steamed broccoli that you live on for weeks desperately hoping to see movement on the scales. Blergh, no thank you! The whole idea just reeks of depressing deprivation.
There is no scientific support for avoiding fruits and vegetables because of their natural sugar content. These foods also provide dietary fibre (which is nature’s obstacle to overconsumption) as well as minerals and vitamins. Research also shows that consumption of fruit and vegetables helps control weight.
Over the last few years, sugar's effect on our health has been well documented in a stream of damning research. The sweet stuff is now food enemy number one and is to blame for far more than hyperactive children and tooth decay.
Changing to a low sugar diet can be challenging. It’s important to know that there’s no harm in occasionally enjoying your favorite dessert or sweet treat. But when it comes to day-to-day sweet snacks, there are a lot of options. The healthiest option is usually to swap out high sugar items like ice cream, with fresh fruit or Greek yogurt.
These days, I’m mostly surprised by how well I’ve kept it up. I’m also surprised by how completely unnecessary so much of the food I used to eat was, and how little I miss those ice-cream benders. But I’d be lying if I claimed that my sugar cravings have vanished altogether.
Don't expect that you'll be able to eat the sugar-free versions of things you like, or replace sugar-filled coffee with tea, and just go on like everything is the same. You're making a major alteration—don't fight it.
We’re told that sugar is the source of all evil, but giving it up made me grumpy, skint and antisocial.
While there is no one "official" no sugar diet, nutrition experts generally agree that the healthiest version of the eating plan cuts out added sugars by focusing on whole foods rather than simply replacing sugar with no-calorie sweeteners.
It’s important to get this out there upfront: There’s no set definition for a no-sugar diet. “There may be several variations depending on where you're getting your information from,” says Scott Keatley, R.D., co-owner of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy.
This is a little open to interpretation. “Basically, this is a diet that eliminates all added sugars, foods high in natural sugars, and sugar substitutes,” says Sonya Angelone, RD, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. But “the extreme version of the no-sugar diet also eliminates foods with natural sugars like fruit, milk, and plain yogurt,” she adds.
We take a deep dive into the sweet stuff and explain how living without it is not as hard as you think.