Read on for tips on how to get started, foods to look for, candy substitutes to try, and more. Start gradually. Learn the code names of sugar. Add more flavor without adding sugar.
A sugar-free diet, also known as a sugar-free diet, restricts added sugar. This restriction includes obviously sugary foods, such as candies and soft drinks, but you can also find added sugar in salty foods, such as pasta sauce. More extreme versions of a sugar-free diet may also limit foods with natural sugar, such as fruits and vegetables, but this is not usually recommended as part of a healthy, balanced diet. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 100 calories from added sugar for women (6 teaspoons) and 150 calories for men (9 teaspoons).
People with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes may need to monitor their glucose and have other blood tests. If you're prediabetic or concerned about your blood sugar levels, you can ask your doctor to check your A1C levels. Most people should include at least 1 or 2 spoonfuls of healthy fats with meals to get a sufficient amount. The jury is still out on whether or not it's a good idea to use sugar alternatives instead of simply reducing sugar consumption or stopping consuming sugar at 100%.
It's up to you to stop consuming it 100% or to take small steps. Either way, you're likely to see health benefits from reducing your consumption of sugary foods. Many low-carb eating plans also limit sugar intake, so these plans may resemble a sugar-free diet in some ways. A diet with no sugar or low in added sugar may be especially helpful for people who have problems with blood sugar levels or have systemic inflammation.
A sugar-free diet is more restrictive and may refer to a diet in which even natural foods that contain higher amounts of sugar are avoided. Over time, following a sugar-free lifestyle can become a matter of course and not a temporary or short-term diet. For example, people on low-carb diets, such as ketogenic diets, can avoid most fruits and many complex carbohydrates, which can still be included in other variants of a sugar-free eating plan. I also didn't recognize the hidden sources of sugar that were incorporated into my diet, and I didn't add unnecessary calories.
Many low-carb diets also limit sugar intake, and a vegetarian or vegan diet can easily be a sugar-free diet as well. Artificial sweeteners may offer an alternative to sugar, as they contain few or no calories, but there is a lot of controversy surrounding sugar substitutes. Soft drinks, lemonade, sweetened iced tea, and many sports and energy drinks contain added sugars and are therefore not allowed on a sugar-free diet. If you don't have diabetes or prediabetes, but you still want to control your blood sugar and inflammation, try reducing your intake of added sugar and see if your symptoms and blood markers improve.
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. A sugar-free diet emphasizes whole fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains, and eliminates foods that contain added sugar. What you eat on a sugar-free diet may depend on whether you have a health problem or if you have specific weight loss goals.