From eating fruit to simply adding more whole foods to your diet, it's actually not that hard to live without sugar. However, if you're panicking about eliminating sugar from your diet, you may need to see a therapist who can help you emotionally detach yourself from sugar. Many adults consume much more sugar than the authorities recommend. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), for example, estimates that adults in the United States get about 15% of their calories from added sugar alone.
This sugar intake doesn't even include natural sugars, such as those from products such as fruit and milk. Many sugar-free diets also recommend that people avoid simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates include white flour, white pasta, and white rice. Sugar isn't a necessary nutrient and we all eat too much.
In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than 9 teaspoons or 150 calories a day of added sugar; women should not eat less than 6 teaspoons or 100 calories a day. However, most Americans consume two to three times that amount (19.5 teaspoons or 312 calories) per day, according to the UCSF. The diet doesn't necessarily have a time limit, but many people find that avoiding all foods with sugar (including those that contain natural sugar) is simply not sustainable. Once a person has succeeded in eliminating the most obvious sugar from their diet, they can turn their attention to other products that contain sugar.
However, as you adjust to your new routine, you can also eliminate foods that are high in natural sugar from your diet. If you feel like taking on the challenge, 30 days without added sugar can help you recover your sugar cravings. For example, since the challenge ended, I have tried to eat almost sugar-free, opting for more natural sources and balancing my intake of added sugar more evenly. You can also try to avoid refined sugars and reintroduce natural sugars, such as those from fruits, into your diet.
Slowly add sugar back to your diet (if you want to); if you eat too much so soon, it will come as a shock to your body. As your knowledge base grows, you should start making small changes to your diet to reduce your sugar intake. I also didn't recognize the hidden sources of sugar that were incorporated into my diet, and I didn't add unnecessary calories. Many adults consume much more sugar than they need, so reducing their intake of added sugar is a healthy idea for most people.
Before you begin, familiarize yourself with other sugar names so you can more quickly identify sugar in the lists. Adopting a sugar-free diet can help a person regain their taste buds, which means they are less likely to crave the missing sugar. Whether you avoid added sugar altogether or reduce your intake, reading labels can help you find hidden sugars and eliminate common sources of sugar from your diet. Keep in mind that some foods with naturally occurring sugar are often nutrient-rich, fiber-rich, and can be part of a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Alternating the diet plan or consuming sugar on special occasions can help some people cope with the loss of the sweet taste of the diet. However, “the extreme version of the sugar-free diet also eliminates foods with natural sugars, such as fruit, milk and natural yogurt,” he adds.