If you are anything like me, you have probably tried lots of different ways to lose weight. I have actually lost count of the number of diets I’ve followed. Some, like 21-Day Fix, have worked really well while others have been total failures!
Of all the diets I have tried, the one I have had the most successes with was also the simplest – it’s the no sugar diet and it’s the one I tend to recommend to most people when they ask me how they can lose weight.
The no sugar diet is as simple as it sounds – cut out added and refined sugar. Many unhealthy foods are loaded with added and refined sugar and by avoiding these foods, you cut calories easily and painlessly and also do lots of good things for your health.
Sugar, you see, is very bad for you. I’m not talking about natural sugars like those found in fruit or milk but sugars that don’t normally exist in large quantities in nature. Sugar is added to lots of foods – even savory ones like potato chips and soups – because they make you eat more so you buy more. Added sugar does you no good at all but helps food manufacturers make more and more money.
The problem with added and refined sugar
So what makes refined and added sugar so unhealthy? That’s a good question – let’s take a look!
- Sugar is a nutrient robber. It provides no vitamins or minerals but demands a lot of these nutrients for its’ digestion. It literally steals vitamins and minerals from your body. If you aren’t eating lots of healthy food, this means you could end up malnourished – not from a lack of calories but a lack of nutrients that are vital for your health. That’s why calories from sugar are often called empty calories.
- Sugar is inflammatory. Inflammation is a serious health problem. When you scratch your skin, you’ll often see a red, swollen line appear – that’s inflammation. Now imagine that same swelling INSIDE your body; in your blood vessels, heart, lungs and brain. That can’t be good – right?
Inflammation is the leading cause of too many diseases to list but included heart disease, Alzheimer’s’ and Parkinson’s diseases, obesity, diabetes, and some cancers. If you care about your health, the LAST thing you need is more inflammation!
- Sugar causes cravings. The more sugar you eat, the more you want. Sugar raises your blood glucose levels and your body responds by producing insulin to lower these levels back down again. However, insulin is often too good at its’ job so you end up suffering low blood glucose. This makes you want more sugar and so you eat some – say a candy bar. Again, your blood glucose goes quickly up, and then quickly down again.
As a result, you end up constantly suffering high and low blood glucose which causes cravings. The more you eat, the more weight you will gain.
- Weight gain. Sugar contains the same number of calories as protein but is much more likely to result in weight gain. Insulin, the hormone mentioned before, turns on your fat storing-ability and blocks fat burning. A high sugar diet is much more likely to cause you to gain weight than eating the same number of calories from protein or healthier carbs like vegetables and fruit.
- High sugar foods are high in calories. Junk food invariably contains a lot of sugar and therefore a lot of calories. A single can of soda will provide around 40 grams (eight teaspoons!) of sugar and 140 or more calories. Compared to plain water, tea or coffee (which are basically calorie-free) that’s a lot of unwanted energy that will soon lead to weight gain.
- Bad for your teeth. Sugar causes dental decay – period. The acids in the sugar attacks the enamel on your teeth leading to cavities. This means a) more trips to the dentist and b) more expensive dental bills.
Still not convinced ? Read my “5 Healthy Reasons to Avoid Sugar” article.
What does the no sugar diet involve?
The no sugar diet is very easy to understand – you just look at the food you eat and avoid anything containing added sugars. You’ll need to read the ingredients list and check but if a food is high in sugar (sugar is listed high up in the ingredients list) you shouldn’t eat it.
The recommended daily amount for added sugar is 25 grams for women and 37.5 grams for men. Make sure you stay below these figures.
You can still eat most of your favorite foods like pizza, fruit, vegetables, steak, pasta, rice etc. but you cannot and should not eat anything with added or refined sugars.
This can be hard at first but I’ve got lots of resources to help you…
- Looking for no-added sugar recipes? Check out my “Sugar-Free Recipes”.
- Finding it hard to identify sources of hidden sugar? Learn “The Different 61 names for sugar”
- Not sure how to read a food label? Let me help you about “How to Identify Sugar on Nutrition Labels”
- Struggling with sugar cravings? Here are “7 Ways to Fight Sugar Cravings”
My no-sugar journey
You might be thinking that you’d like to try cutting back on sugar but maybe you’re not sure where to start or are a little bit scared about giving up sugar. Don’t worry – you are not alone.
For many years I battled a sugar addiction of my own and suffered the bad effects of eating too much sugar. I was a real sugar addict and, for me, giving up sugar was anything but easy.
But, do you know what? I did a lot of reading, made a lot of plans, learnt a lot of good information and then went for it anyway!
I’ve written about my no-sugar journey, “My 20 Days No Sugar Story” so you can see how I managed it, what made me start this plan, the things I discovered along the way, and how successful it was. I called my diet “20 No-Sugar Days Challenge” but that was only the start; this is a diet you can follow forever.
You CAN do it!
So, here’s what I want you to do; read the articles, toss out any sugar-laden food you have in your home (read those food labels people!), and then pick a day to start your own no sugar diet. Plan your menu for the week, buy your healthy groceries and then just start. Stop procrastinating!
The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll break your sugar addiction and overcome your cravings, and the sooner you’ll start to lose weight and feel great.
Come on – you CAN do it – and I’m with you every step of the way!