If you’re mothers-to-be and you actually are tempted by the thought: sugar free diet plan during pregnancy. You will see numerous important material on that topic, as well as tips, assistance, experiences, and answers to help questions around carrying a child, right nutrition and diet habits.
Many adults consume far more sugar than they need, so reducing added sugar intake is a healthy idea for most people. Some people may want to go further and cut sugar out of their diet completely.
The sugar-free diet has gained popularity as people continue to search for effective ways to live a healthy life or lose weight.
However, despite all the medical benefits of a sugar-free diet, there are also some things to consider.
Why eliminate sugar?
Reducing sugar intake can improve people’s health.
Many adults consume far more sugar than is recommended by authorities. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), for example, estimates that adults in the United States get about 15% of their calories from added sugar alone. This sugar intake doesn’t even include naturally occurring sugars, such as those found in products like fruits and milk.
Excessive sugar consumption is linked to a number of harmful medical conditions, including:
- obesity and metabolic syndrome
- cardiac disease
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- chronic inflammation
- nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- dental plaque and cavities
Reducing the amount of sugar in the diet may help a person reduce his or her risk of these conditions.
Replacing high-sugar foods with healthy options can help a person get all the essential vitamins and minerals without the added calories. It can also help with weight loss, if needed.
8 tips to eliminate sugar
Here are eight simple tips you can use to help eliminate sugar from your diet:
- Take it easy
One of the most important things to remember when changing your diet is to do it gradually. Going from a diet full of sugar to one with no sugar at all should be a slow process.
It can help to start by eliminating the most obvious sources of sugar. People can easily eliminate baked goods such as cakes, cupcakes, and brownies. Eliminating candy and sugary drinks is also a good start.
A person can also reduce the amount of sugar and cream they add to their coffee or tea, down to using neither. Eating a sugar-free diet can help a person’s palate readjust, which means they are less likely to crave sugar.
- Read product labels
Once a person has successfully eliminated the most obvious sugar from their diet, they can turn their attention to other products that contain sugar. Reading product labels can help identify the types of sugars to avoid.
Sugar has many names and is found in many syrups and different concentrates. There are at least 61 different names for sugar on food labels. The most common ones include:
- cane sugar
- brown sugar
- corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup
- evaporated cane juice
- inverted sugar
- beet sugar
- barley malt
- coconut sugar
- maple syrup
- agave syrup
- rice syrup
- apple or grape juice concentrate
- demerara sugar
- natural cane sugar
- panela or piloncillo
- turbinado sugar
- muscovado sugar
People should also keep in mind that any item on an ingredient list that ends in “-ose” is also a type of sugar. Examples of these ingredients include:
Sugars are hidden in many foods in the supermarket. It is very important for people who want to follow a sugar-free diet to read the label.
Products such as dressings and condiments, pasta sauce, breakfast cereals, milk, and granola bars often have sugar in their ingredient list.
- Avoid simple carbohydrates
Many sugar-free diets also recommend that people avoid simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates include white flour, white pasta, and white rice.
The body quickly converts the carbohydrates in these foods into sugar. This process causes a spike in blood sugar levels.
A person can usually replace simple carbohydrates with whole grain options.
- Avoid artificial sugars
Artificial sugars are the subject of controversy in the diet industry. They are sweeter than sugar, but contain few or no calories.
However, consuming artificial sugars can “trick” the body into thinking it is actually consuming sugar. This can intensify a person’s craving for sugar, making it more difficult to stick to a sugar-free diet.
For this reason, a person following a sugar-free diet should avoid artificial sugars such as:
- Sweet’N Low
People can also look for the chemical names of these sweeteners in ingredient lists, especially in any product on the market labeled as a low-sugar, low-calorie, or diet food.
Chemical names include:
- acesulfame K or acesulfame potassium
- Don’t take sugar
Sugar in processed foods can be easily avoided. However, sugar-sweetened beverages are among the most important sources of added sugars in the diet. These include sodas, specialty coffees, sweetened teas, and fruit juices.
Replacing these drinks with unsweetened herbal tea, unsweetened coffee, carbonated mineral water, or just water can help a person stay hydrated without increasing their sugar intake.
- Focus on whole foods.
A person following a sugar-free diet should also focus on eating whole foods. Processed foods are more likely to contain refined ingredients or added sugars.
Diets that focus on whole and complete foods include the following options:
- lean meats, poultry or tofu
- whole, unprocessed grains and legumes
- nuts and seeds
- Some people may choose to keep a small amount of dairy in their diet, such as plain yogurt, plain cheeses, and milk.
- Plan meals
It’s hard to follow a diet without a plan. When a person feels hungry, they are more likely to reach for a sugary snack if they don’t have nutritious foods and healthy alternatives on hand.
Many people take a day to shop and prepare food for the week. With healthy meals already prepared, they are less tempted to eat a sweet treat or grab a soda.
- Spice it up
The palate often misses sugar because it has no other flavors to replace it with. However, people can easily add many sweet-tasting herbs and spices to foods and beverages to replace sugar.
Common replacements include cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and vanilla. These can add flavor to coffee, cereal, or yogurt.
Eliminating added sugars and maintaining a diet rich in whole foods has many benefits for the body. Specifically, reducing sugar intake and eating a healthy diet can help people to:
- lose weight and avoid obesity, according to a 2019 article in the journal Medical Clinics of North America.
- reduce the risk of skin cancer, according to a 2014 review in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.
- avoid mood swings, as indicated by a 2017 study linking a high-sugar diet with mood swings.
- reduce inflammation, according to a 2018 review of studies
- reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, as sugar can increase the risk of obesity, which can lead to type 2 diabetes
Risks and considerations
Before adopting a sugar-free diet, a person should consider whether or not to eliminate natural sugars as well. Natural sugars are found in fruits and some dairy products.
Although proponents of some sugar-free diet plans say that a person should eliminate fruit, this may not be the healthiest decision. Fruit can provide several essential nutrients, including fiber, antioxidants, and other healthy components that help protect the body from disease.
Including whole fruits in a sugar-free diet can still be healthy. However, if a person chooses to eat nuts, they should do so in moderation and look for varieties without added sugar.
Eliminating sugar from your diet is not a complete weight loss solution. It is part of a lifestyle change that should also involve regular exercise and a nutritious diet.
Anyone trying to start a sugar-free diet should talk to a doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist, especially if they have any underlying medical conditions.
People who want to adopt a sugar-free diet plan should do so gradually.
Altering the diet plan or eating sugar on special occasions may help some people cope with the loss of sugar in the diet.
Eliminating sugar is a good idea for many people, as it helps reduce the risk of several conditions and can improve a person’s overall health.
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