Most people intake more sugar per day than needed or even useful for the body. This unnecessary intake of sugar has negative effects on the body, these effects might not be seen immediately but can appear later in a person’s lifetime. As painful as this may be, a lot of sugar isn’t good for you. This means all those donuts, ice creams and other fizzy drinks that we all know and love, out the window if you’re going to adopt this diet. Sad isn’t it? To be fair though, after you read through this blog, cutting down on sugar won’t seem like such a bad idea.
What is sugar? How does it affect the body?
In most atomic definitions, the basic composition of sugar is C12H22O11. When this is consumed, it is broken down into its simplest form, which is glucose. Glucose is important for most, if not all processes within the body. The glucose is then respired by the cells to produce ATP, or adenosine triphosphate.
Where glucose is necessary for the body’s normal functioning; excessive intake will lead to stress on the body. When the blood sugar increases more than the body’s requirement, the pancreas releases insulin to convert all the extra glucose to glycogen, which is then stored in the liver. However, if your body’s blood sugar remains consistently high, the insulin released by the pancreas will become useless as the cells in the body become insulin resistant.
Insulin resistance can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer and even increase the chances of cardiac arrests and strokes.
In short, too much sugar is a big no!
So how do you reduce your sugar intake?
Do not, we repeat, do not change your diet from junk food to healthy eating immediately! You won’t be able to do it and your body may not be able to handle the drastic change, as you might feel tired, dizzy, or even hungry if you stop it completely.
Baby steps are the place to start. Start with the most unhealthy item in your diet. Do you drink too many drinks? Reduce them. If you drink two bottles every day, try cutting it down to one a day. Eat too many chocolates? Reduce it or opt for dark chocolate instead! Start slowly and steadily getting rid of the most obvious perpetrators, like cakes, brownies, muffins.
After a week of cutting out all the obviously sugary foods in your diet, start getting rid of the basic carbs: white bread, white rice, and kinds of pasta. These basic carbs breakdown into glucose in your body almost instantly.
Start paying more attention
Make sure you stay a mile away from anything that has sugar in its ingredients; though sometimes the word “sugar” isn’t exactly used every time, even if the item does have sugar in it. Here is a list of ingredients you need to steer clear from if you’re planning to commit to this lifestyle.
- Rice syrup
- Fruit concentrate
Also, anything that has the suffix ‘ose” is also a sugar:
Also, make sure to read the ingredients of even those foods that you least suspect to have sugar. Sugar hides in almost everything, crisps, salad dressings and so on.
Are artificial sweeteners okay?
I don’t want to sugar coat it for you guys (no pun intended), but the simple answer: no they are not!
Though artificial sweeteners may seem harmless, they can be far more dangerous than regular sweeteners. The thing with artificial sweeteners is that they fool the body into thinking that it is actually getting real sugar however unlike regular sugars they have little to no calories, so the body produces insulin for absolutely no reason whatsoever. This can further worsen sugar cravings.
Can I have my Pepsi?
You might want to avoid that bottle of Pepsi you had before class, that is if you want to stay in line with your no sugar diet. So avoid all forms of sugary drinks.
Instead, you can substitute them with black tea, black coffee, and green tea. These won’t only be good for you but will also make you feel better.
Eat those whole foods
Eat as many whole foods as you can since they take longer for your body to break down and provide your body with a larger range of nutrients, complex carbs, proteins, and roughage. Following are some examples of great whole foods that provide nutritional value:
- Brown bread/multigrain bread
- Brown or black rice
- Root vegetables
Fruits can be consumed, but since they have natural sugars in them, keep it to a minimum.
A small portion of milk and dairy is also fine. However, make sure not to drink sugary milkshakes.
Have a meal plan
Since you won’t be eating anything that has anything to do with sugar, eating out and fast food is out of the question. You’ll have to eat as many homemade meals as possible. So make a chart with your meals for each day and the ingredients you used in it. This way you won’t have to eat the same thing every week.
If you want to spice things up, try using things like vanilla to sweeten your coffee or cinnamon to sprinkle on your breakfast oats.
What am I getting out of doing this?
A no-sugar diet has several health benefits; not only for your body but also on your brain. People who eat less sugar have been known to be more active, happy, have more control over their emotions, tend to be less irritable and more energized.
Some of the physical benefits include:
- Weight loss/control
- Tighter skin
- Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
- Reduces inflammation
- Clearer skin (acne won’t bother you as much)
- Healthy digestive system
All these benefits just from quitting sugar seem like a fair trade-off if you ask me.
Key Takeaway On No Sugar Diet
A no-sugar diet maybe all trendy and seem like the answer to all your weight loss problems, but the sad truth is that although it may be good for your health, it is not the ultimate solution.
Many people reduce their fruit intake but fruits are a very important source of vitamins and antioxidants which are absolutely essential for our diet. To be fair, there is no diet in the world that can be the answer to all your needs but it ultimately depends on your goal.
If the sugar diet isn’t for you, check out the SQUATWOLF blog to find diet plans that are perfect for you.