There are a lot of reasons to follow a sugar-free diet. It can help with weight loss, for example, and it may help lower blood sugar and improve other health outcomes. Here are some benefits of a sugar-free diet and some tips for following one. Netrition has all kinds of foods to help you if you go that route.
Weight Loss and a Sugar-Free Diet
Sugar has 4 calories per gram, so eating a lot of sugar adds a lot of calories to your day. Consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain, while eliminating excess calories from sugar can help you lose weight.
There are other reasons why high-sugar foods and beverages can contribute to weight gain, and why avoiding them can help you lose weight. One reason is that added sugars tend to be in foods with excess calories from starch or fat. For example, cookies, muffins, and donuts are high in fat and starch as well as sugar.
Another reason why sugary foods can be high in calories is that they often come in oversized portions. A 32-ounce soda and large caramel iced coffee, for example, can each have 400 calories, and a slice of pie can have 500 calories. Limiting these choices can help you lose weight.
There’s even more to say when it comes to a sugar-free diet and weight loss. High-sugar foods are often not very filling. For one thing, they spike blood sugar, and then let blood sugar drop. That can leave you feeling hungry and craving more sugar. Plus, sugary foods that are low in nutrients such as fiber and protein may not leave you feeling full for long. That can lead you to eat more.
Health Benefits of a Sugar-Free Diet
Added sugars can lead to a wealth of health problems, and eliminating added sugar may help reverse these issues.
Lower Blood Sugar
People with high blood sugar can sometimes lower their levels by following a sugar-free diet. Those blood sugar spikes that sugar causes aren’t just bad for weight. They also contribute to insulin resistance, which causes high blood sugar and conditions such as prediabetes and diabetes. You’ll want to talk to your doctor before making dramatic changes to your carb intake, especially if you have diabetes.
Too much sugar can contribute to high triglycerides, or too much fat in your blood. It can also cause chronic inflammation and atherosclerosis. These are risk factors for heart disease.
Lower Risk for Tooth Decay
Intuitively, you probably know that eating candy is bad for teeth. Indeed, research shows that excessive sugar consumption is linked to tooth decay. Limiting sugar consumption, especially between meals, can help support healthier teeth. You can also avoid sugary beverages, since drinking them is like rinsing your teeth with sugar.
Avoiding sugar can help steer you towards healthier choices every day. For example, skipping sugar-sweetened flavored oatmeal might lead you to try plain oatmeal with cinnamon and walnuts. Or, skipping chocolate cake might enable you to try 100% dark chocolate to satisfy your chocolate craving.
Tips for a Sugar-Free Diet
Here are some tips for a sugar-free diet.
Packaged foods usually come with labels. Labels can be super useful! Here are some parts of the label to check.
- Claims such as “sugar-free”
- The list of ingredients to make sure there is no sugar, honey, fructose, or any other form of sugar
- The nutrition label, which shows how much sugar is in the food
Understand natural and added sugars.
Added sugars, such as white sugar, brown sugar, molasses, honey, and agave syrup aren’t the only sugars in town. Some nutritious foods have natural sugars.
- Most of the calories in fruit are from fructose, which is a sugar.
- Dairy products have lactose, which is a sugar.
- Beans and vegetables have sugars in them.
However, each of these foods is linked to better weight control and other health benefits. It’s impossible to have an entirely “sugar-free” diet, so don’t even try. Instead, the realistic goal is to avoid added sugars and to be aware of sugars from fruit.
Look for low-carb and keto foods.
Sugar is a type of carb. When you choose low-carb foods, there’s a good chance you’re choosing low-sugar foods. Netrition has all kinds of low-carb and keto foods that are suitable for a sugar-free diet. Keto Granola, Keto Cookies, and Low-Carb Pasta Sauce are just a few examples.
Cook, bake, and prepare foods with sugar-free ingredients.
Common ingredients can be high in sugar. Some are obvious, such as sugar and baking mixes. Others may be sneakier, such as many condiments. Netrition has many sugar-free alternatives, such as the following.
- Calorie-Free and Sugar-Free Sugar Substitutes
- Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce, Teriyaki Sauce, and Pasta Sauce
- Sugar-Free Salad Dressing
- Sugar-Free Jams and Fruit Spreads
- Sugar-Free Nut Spreads
- Sugar-Free Baking Mixes
Your meals can be just as delicious but without as much sugar.
Be careful about sugary drinks.
Drinking water is one option, but not everyone loves water. Even if you do, you might appreciate an alternative sometimes, want a change sometimes, or miss favorite beverages such as coffee drinks.
These are some ways to enjoy a variety of drinks without sugar.
- Use Sugar-Free Flavoring Syrups and Creamers in coffee.
- Drink Sugar-Free Smoothies and Fruit Drinks to get the taste of fruit without the sugar.
- Sip on Protein Hot Cocoa instead of regular hot chocolate to give yourself a treat without a sugar high.
A sugar-free diet can help you lose weight and lower blood sugar if yours is high. It can also guide you towards eating healthier foods and improving health in other ways. With support from Netrition, you can avoid most sugar and still enjoy the foods you love. Just be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new diet or weight loss plan.