Who does not like to relish sweet treats occasionally! But, do you know that excess sugar consumption can put you at an increased risk of having various medical ailments such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart diseases, to name a few. Therefore, an increasing amount of people are shifting to no-sugar diets to have healthier lives. If you are considering that too, reading this post may help you a great deal! Keep scrolling as we dissect the no-sugar diet in detail!
What Is a No-Sugar Diet?
As the name suggests, a no-sugar diet is a diet that is without sugar. But it does not mean that you can have absolutely no kind of sugar in this diet. You can include natural sugar. It is the added or artificial sugar that is a complete no-no. This means that you will have to bid adieu to sugary foods such as candies, chocolates, soda, and even the added sugar hidden in foods such as mayonnaise and pasta sauce. Some people follow stringent no-sugar diets in which they also avoid consuming natural sugar sources from vegetables and fruits. However, that is not usually considered a healthy alternative and may lead to nutritional deficiencies.
When we talk about sugary foods, it includes foods that contain added amounts of sugar. There is no doubt that calories from sugar provide energy to the body, but it does not add any nutritional quotient to the diet. Hence, calories from sugar are labeled as empty calories. When people consume foods rich in added sugar, they do not get much nutrition from it, but it’s mostly making up for excess calorie intake, leading to various kinds of health issues and obesity.
It is important to note that sugar is important but only a considerable amount and from a healthy source. People who follow a no-sugar diet remove any excess amounts of sugar from their diets, which helps keep extra weight at bay and helps them improve their overall well-being.
Does It Help to Lose Weight?
If you wish to knock off a pound or two, then going off sugar or following a sans sugar diet will be a wise thing to do. This is because extra sugar is not giving you anything nutrition-wise but mostly increasing your calorie intake. When you cut down sugar, you reduce your calorie intake, which eventually shows visible results. Opting for foods rich in natural sugar and fiber such as fruits, whole grains, etc., will give you nutrition and keep your cravings at bay.
What Foods Can You Eat On No-Sugar Diet?
Here are some foods that you can add to your no added sugar diet:
- Whole grains: barley, quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, couscous, etc.
- Dark leafy vegetables: swiss chard, spinach, kale, arugula, etc.
- Dairy products: cottage cheese, feta cheese, parmesan, milk, unsweetened yogurt, etc.
- Legumes: chickpeas, black beans, soybean, lentils, etc.
- Vegetables: bell peppers, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, eggplant, etc.
- Whole fruits: grapefruit, blackberries, raspberries, oranges, blueberries, etc.
- Lean protein: salmon, ground beef, chicken, shrimp, halibut, etc.
- Healthy fats: walnuts, avocado, chia seeds, flax seeds, olive oil, cashew nuts, coconut oil, etc.
- Eggs, tea, coffee, etc.
Pros and Cons Of No Sugar Diet Plan
If you think that a sugar-free diet plan has only pros, you have got it wrong. There are some cons that you should definitely know about. This section shares both pros and cons of a no sugar diet with you:
Here are some no sugar diet benefits:
- It is easier to follow: Unlike various fad diets, this diet, in particular, is fairly simple and easy to follow. Apart from cutting sugar out, there is nothing much that you need to do or follow. You do not have to buy any supplements, fad diet products, or do other unnecessary things. All you have to do is avoid added sugar and eat whole foods that are not processed.
- It is sustainable: Whenever we tend to follow a certain kind of diet, what eventually happens is that it becomes practically impossible to stick to them, such as the keto diet. However, in this diet, you need to cut down on sugar, and over a period of time, your body becomes accustomed to the changes and does not crave sugary foods, which makes this a sustainable diet option.
- It is adaptable and flexible: There are no rigid dietary rules that need to be followed. You can make dietary choices not only according to lifestyle but also as per your budget. As you slowly start weaning your body off sugar, your body gets used to it, and hence it becomes your way of life!
- It is more realistic and practical: This diet does not make any claims or promises of making you lose a certain amount of weight in a certain time frame, but with a no sugar diet option, you are making lifestyle choices, where you are excluding processed foods that contain added and artificial ingredients. It is not just a diet but also a lifestyle choice that will help you lose weight and sustain it for long!
There are certainly some cons to a no sugar diet. Here are some that you should be aware of:
- It can be challenging: Most of the time, you will figure out which processed foods have added sugar. However, that may not be possible every time! Sometimes you may find it challenging to establish which foods are loaded with added sugar and not.
- It can be difficult to follow: There are very few guidelines available, and in dearth of any formal diet plan, it gets difficult to sustain this diet plan. There are no clear indications of calorie intake or portion size, making this diet plan a bit tricky to follow.
- It’s taxing at first: There is no denying that eliminating sugar from your diet is highly beneficial to your health, but it may require you to plan, prepare and cook meals by keeping in mind that you do not consume added sugar foods. Sometimes this may get taxing and unrealistic for people who do not have time to plan for their meals.
Foods to Avoid
Here are some foods that you should avoid:
- Baked goods such as cookies, cakes, pastries, etc.
- Sorbets and ice creams
- Processed foods
- Grains such as rice, pasta, bread, etc.
- Baked beans
- Fruit juices
- Frozen entrees
- Anything that contains added sugar in the ingredients such as corn syrup, glucose, corn sugar, sucrose, fructose, etc.
Sample One Week Meal Plan For No-Sugar Diet
Here’s a sample one-week meal plan that you can take a cue from:
1. Day 1
Here’s what you can eat on day 1
- One toast, multigrain bread with peanut butter.
- Two eggs (in any way you like)
- 1 bowl oatmeal with 200 ml skimmed milk
- Meatballs and mixed veggies in tomato sauce
- Spinach, carrot, or any other mixed veggie soup with a small multigrain roll with some butter
- Jacket potato stuffed with sweetcorn and cottage cheese
- Salmon fillet cooked in lemon and black pepper
- A bowl of whole wheat spaghetti with some crème Fraiche
2. Day 2
Here’s what your day 2 meal plan can look like
- A serving of mini quiches made with mushroom and spinach
- Two wholewheat bread with avocado, tomato, and 2 slices of mozzarella cheese.
- Peanut butter rolls
- ¼ cup walnuts and blueberries
- Wholewheat noodles in pesto sauce with zucchini, shrimp, and avocado.
3. Day 3
Here’s what your regular day 3 diet can be
- ½ cup muesli with one glass skimmed milk
- 1 hard-boiled egg
- Granary sandwich stuffed with grapes and brie
- Baked cod
- Cheese salad with carrots and peas
- Wholewheat cracker and cheese
- Roasted mixed nuts
- 3 egg white omelet with spinach or cheese
- 1 small multigrain pizza with all veggies
4. Day 4
This is what you can include in your day 4 meal:
- 2 slices of granary toast with some butter and ¼ cup tinned tomatoes
- ½ cup porridge cooked with a glass of skimmed milk
- A tortilla veggie wrap with cold chicken salad
- ¼ cup hard cheese with celery and fruit
- 1-2 clementine
- One bowl of brown rice cooked with mixed vegetables and chili sauce.
- A bowl of lentil soup with flora and granary roll.
5. Day 5
Here are some options for day 5 of your no sugar diet plan:
- 1 wholewheat bagel with some cream cheese
- One glass of skimmed milk with 2-3 tablespoons of shredded wheat
- Oats and peanut butter energy rolls
- Two slices of cheese with some fruit
- Risotto with shrimp and salmon
- Grilled vegetables
6. Day 6
Try including the following in your day 6 diet
- Shredded wheat with 1 glass of skimmed milk and chopped almonds
- 1 poached egg with grilled tomatoes
- Stir-fried chicken breast
- Steamed mixed vegetables
- ½ bowl mixed berries
- Wholewheat cracker with some cheese
- Cauliflower steak with butter beans and almond pesto
7. Day 7
The following can be part of your day 7 diet
- Mixed veg quiche
- 2-3 egg whites with grilled tomatoes
- 1 glass skimmed milk
- Mixed vegetable curry with cottage cheese and brown rice
- Green salad
- 4-5 halves of walnut
- Oats and peanut butter energy bar
- Grilled cod with sautéed vegetables
- Carrot and mushroom soup
This is a sample no sugar meal plan that you can use as a reference to chalk out a plan that is best suited to your lifestyle and other requirements. If you wish to keep one day as a cheat day where you are allowed sugary treats in moderation, such as a slice of cake or a few cookies, you can do so!
Going off sugar may appear daunting initially because, let’s face it, giving up something entirely can be tricky business. But it is not impossible. You can start by taking baby steps in this direction, and soon you will be able to incorporate a no sugar diet into your lifestyle. Do not forget to take the advice of a professional before making any major dietary and lifestyle changes!