Sugar is a component that is very present in most foods , naturally or artificially. We very generally know sugar as sucrose, a natural sweetener, yet there are other variants such as fructose , maltose and lactose, which have the same active ingredient.
Its excessive consumption can have broad consequences for the health of individuals, so reducing and limiting its consumption within our diet is an alternative for a better quality of life.
In the following article we will talk about a sugar-free diet, mentioning the factors to take into account to be able to carry it out, its benefits and potential risks.
What is a sugar-free diet?
A sugar-free diet is understood as one where the consumption of this component is reduced or totally limited in order to take care of health, take care of metabolism or lose weight effectively.
To highlight: It is important to highlight that the sugars that are truly harmful to health are the processed ones, while those of natural origin have a lesser counterproductive effect, as long as they are not consumed in excess. (1)
How do you do a sugar-free diet?
Starting a sugar-free diet is not an easy task , especially because of how heavily these substances are involved in our diet. We will mention below some factors or recommendations that must be taken into account in order to achieve the objectives:
1. Reduce consumption gradually
Reducing consumption gradually is much more effective than eliminating it from one moment to the next, mainly seeking to avoid withdrawal symptoms. We also avoid the fact that it becomes somewhat more complicated than it naturally is, so reducing the amounts and eliminating foods rich in sugar is the key to starting the process properly.
2. Eat natural, low-glycemic foods
The consumption of natural foods, avoiding processed products, will allow the inclusion of better quality sugars in our body and will reduce the risk of side effects and adverse effects on our health.
Low glycemic index foods are also ideal due to their slow and low rise in blood sugar levels. Here are some examples:
- Fruits like grapes, banana, pineapple and apple.
- Vegetables like carrots, corn and eggplant.
- Legumes like chickpeas , lentils, and beans.
- Cereals such as oats , wheat and rice.
3. Consume protein, fiber and healthy fats
It is important, in order to maintain a correct balance in the diet, to preserve the consumption of foods that are sources of protein, fiber and healthy fats, thus becoming the main forms of obtaining energy for our body. These foods can be the following:
- Meats , chicken and fish.
- Fruits, vegetables, legumes and cereals.
- Dairy products, eggs and sausages.
- Nuts , vegetable oils and seeds.
4. Avoid the consumption of processed foods and artificial sweeteners
As we mentioned previously, to achieve a sugar-free diet it is very important to reduce and avoid the consumption of processed foods. The foods that should be avoided the most are:
- Snacks, cookies, processed and commercial cereals
- Sodas, energy drinks, juices and industrialized coffee.
- Sweets and candies, cakes, ice creams.
- Fast foods, canned goods and food bars.
5. Consume water, infusions and natural drinks
It is recommended an increase in the consumption of water, infusions and natural drinks that allow obtaining their benefits and reducing the consumption of processed products, such as :
- Natural juices, fruit juices.
- Tea (black, green, infusions, among others), preferably without the addition of sugar.
- Drink water, approximately 2.5 liters per day on average.
6. Avoid low-fat foods
Skimmed foods are those that are processed to reduce or eliminate their fat content. It is important to keep in mind that losing fat intake affects the integration of vitamins A, D and E (2) . They are usually used since they do not contain natural sugars, but they do contain artificial ones, which becomes an obstacle. Such skimmed foods are the following:
- Skimmed milk, skimmed yogurt.
- Types of cheeses such as cottage cheese, cottage cheese, and Oaxaca cheese.
- Skimmed powdered milk and drinks with lactobacilli.
7. Pay attention to product labels
Once foods with added sugar have been eliminated from the diet, it is important to recognize well the products that include sugar in their composition, which should be avoided.
You should know: It is important to recognize that any component included in the nutritional labels that contain the ose suffix is sweetener in nature, sucrose, fructose, dextrose, maltose and lactose being a clear example.
8. Rest properly
An adequate period of sleep, respecting the corresponding hours, allows a rest that will not affect the performance of the body, especially when facing a decrease in calories that are usually a product of energy.
What are the benefits of a sugar-free diet?
The application of a diet without sugar, allows obtaining a large number of benefits in the health of the consumer. They will be mentioned below to allow their recognition and use:
1. Promotes cardiovascular health
A sugar-free diet is synonymous with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, mainly because there is a lower probability of developing obesity and diseases such as diabetes, which greatly protects the functionality of our entire circulatory and cardiovascular system.
2. Lowers the risk of diabetes
Diabetes is a metabolic disease, characterized mainly by high blood glucose levels, so a sugar-free diet preserves health in patients and reduces the risk of suffering from this disease in subjects with a predisposition or vulnerability.
3. Reduces inflammation
When there is an excessive consumption of sugar, one of the body’s responses is to produce inflammation, either as a response to insulin resistance or increased intestinal permeability.
Important: A sugar-free diet reduces the chances of this type of response in our body, maintaining a proper balance. (3)
4. Contributes to weight loss
The sugar-free diet has a history of improvements in the health of the individual, among which weight loss stands out. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended reducing the consumption of calories of this nature in order to reduce the risk of overweight and obesity. (4)
5. Increases physical energy and mood
It happens that although sugar is a source of calories, it makes us quite slow and discouraged depending on activities and physical efforts. Therefore, a correct diet, with sources of protein and healthy fats will allow obtaining better quality energy.
6. Avoid cavities and dental conditions
The sugar together with the bacteria found in the mouth, produce an acid that allows the formation of cavities. Therefore, an increased consumption will cause a greater production of acid and therefore a chain production of dental conditions.
7. Promotes skin health
It happens that the metabolism of sugar can affect collagen molecules in the process , which prevents proper recovery from skin injuries and hasty aging.
To highlight: A diet without sugar will greatly favor the health of the skin and its quality.
8. Reduces the risk of cancer
Sugar works as a fuel in the cells of our body, so the same could happen in the presence of cancer cells. A reduction in the consumption of sugars can reduce the risk of suffering from cancer or at least irreparably reproducing it. (5)
What risks does a sugar-free diet have?
It is important that the reduction of sugars in a sugar-free diet is not drastic or extreme, especially with sugars of natural origin. The use of sweetener substitutes is not the correct solution, so it is necessary to recognize what our needs and objectives are.
However, it is important to note that a new diet must have medical supervision and approval, especially when there is no intolerance or allergy that supports the complete elimination of a substance.
Note: All food substances are an important part of our diet, what we should always avoid are excesses.
- Sugar is a component of natural or artificial origin that is usually intended to sweeten food.
- A sugar-free diet must preserve important sources of protein, healthy fats and hydration , so as not to unbalance our metabolism.
- The benefits of a sugar-free diet focus on reducing inflammation, promoting health, and reducing the risk of obesity and diabetes.
- The elimination of sugar in our diet must be progressive and preferably supervised and approved by a medical professional.