If I could suggest just one SUPER SIMPLE CHANGE to someone’s diet, it’s this: “Stop eating foods with high amounts of sugar!”
This one change can be dramatic in its effects on observable body composition and cellular health within the body. Decrease your risk for Diabetes, Overweight/Obesity, Heart Disease (Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease, AHA Scientific Statement), common headaches, AND drop a pant size. Talk about efficient! Instead of putting so much money towards supplements and drugs to lose fat, look better, and actually be healthier on the inside, just cut this one awful ingredient from your food.
Now, if your diet is already sweet-free, and you don’t have the results you want, then you’ll need to take the next step. There are always other factors involved and this is just one big one.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
If, however, your diet is sweeter than an Oompa Loompa’s, keep reading…
Your No Sugar Diet Plan
1. Sugar You Add Yourself
Easy. Stop adding MORE fuel to the fire. Stop it. Stop it now.
Included in this category are:
– White/Brown Sugar (Perhaps you bake, drink sweetened coffee or tea?)
– Honey (It’s still sugar.)
– Maple Syrup (Would you put this on anything healthy anyways?)
– Sauces/Dressings: Ketchup, Barbecue, Honey Mustard, Marinades, Raspberry Vinaigrette (Don’t ruin a nutritious piece of meat or a salad with these sugar-hiding toppings)
2. Liquid Sugar
Sugary drinks are nooooo good! Regardless of what else is in them, a bottle of drink “X” with 20-30 grams of sugar provides a harmful dose of short-term, insulin-producing energy and 80-120 low-nutrient calories.
The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than 150 calories (or about 38g) of added sugar per day. For women that number is only 100 calories (or 25g).
Yea, that’s low. Don’t get scared off if you run your numbers. Just remember: Lower is much, much better.
Specific sport endeavors require exceptions to this rule. For most, though, removing any and all sports drinks, sodas, fruit juices, and yes, even vegetable juices, can make a large difference in daily sugar intake.
3. Sweet Junk Food
This includes Candy, Pastries, Cereals, Cakes, Cookies, Doughnuts, Ice Cream and all the other things you KNOW aren’t helping you toward your goals. These foods are especially high in the dreaded High Fructose Corn Syrup! Ahhhh! Run away!
Seriously though, it’s not good for you.
*** Special consideration to granola, granola bars, protein bars, and other supposedly “healthy” alternatives. When in doubt, check the label. You can be sold only as much as you allow.
There are better ingredients you can use yourself to make far less sugary indulgences at home. But if you buy it from the store, odds aren’t in your favor.
1. Whole Fruits & Vegetables
Yes, fruits have sugar. But unlike the other man-made, processed stuff, fruit has truly natural ingredients and nutrients. If this is your only source of sugar, then I cannot rightly recommend that you worry. Also, note that I’ve specified “whole” fruit. So not fruit cups, canned fruit or fruit-flavored this or that. Nor does it mean that a few berries on your cheesecake make it all ok.
And then there are the veggies. In fact, many of these are technically fruits (If it has seeds!), but your classic vegetables are neither sugar-heavy nor can they possibly be considered bad for you. So long as they’re in their whole form, raw or cooked, without sweet extras, then you my friend are good to go. Eat up!
2. Unrefined Nuts and Nut Butters
Unprocessed nuts of any kind are not only nearly sugar-free, but they’ve got the “Big Three” insulin-negating nutrients: Fat, Fiber, and Protein. Magical ay?
Be careful not to pair these with jellies, fluff, or other spreads (like that one everyone loves. You know, rhymes with rutella?).
Beans. Lentils. Peas. And the surprise member, Peanuts!
These things are just as great as nuts in that they are high in both fiber and protein, helping to curb the insulin response (i.e. low glycemic), and they aren’t high in fat. Between these and nuts, your diet can be tailored to meet your macronutrient needs, keep you full, and help to deter any of those nasty sugar cravings.
By no means is this list exhaustive. But cover the basics outlined here and you’ll be on your way to a more sexy and svelte version of you. Think of it this way, if you can eliminate any one “bad” thing for some other “good’ thing, then you’ll hit the proverbial two birds with just the one stone.
2. Frequently Asked Questions About Sugar, www.Heart.org; American Heart Association; updated May 19, 2014; accessed Aug. 1, 2014; http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Frequently-Asked-Questions-About-Sugar_UCM_306725_Article.jsp