Sugar is often seen as our health’s enemy. After all, too many sweet treats can damage your teeth and make you gain weight. According to a February 2023 study published on the National Library of Medicine, eating too much sugar has been implicated in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders. So, keeping cookies, pastries, brownies, cakes, ice cream, doughnuts and toffee away is a wise thing to do. Still, there are other ways to get sugar in your body. There’s tea and other beverages that you have on a daily basis. How about you go for 30 days with no sugar?
Health Shots reached out to Ekta Singhwal, Dietician, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, to know what will happen to your body if you stop eating sugar for a month.
Benefits of a no sugar diet for 30 days
Cutting out sugar or for that matter any food group from your diet is not healthy. The right way to achieving a balanced diet is portion control and avoiding any one thing in excess. Singhwal says sugar provides calories, but lacks essential nutrients. Among various things, eating sugary foods can lead to overeating and a lack of important vitamins and minerals. Here are some benefits of not eating sugar for a month:
1. Weight loss
Reducing sugar intake or not eating it for a month can lead to weight loss as it eliminates empty calories and reduces the likelihood of overeating, says Singhwal.
2. Improved blood sugar levels
Cutting out sugar for 30 days can help to stabilise blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
3. Enhanced energy levels
Without blood sugar spikes and crashes, energy levels tend to become more stable throughout the day.
4. Better dental health
Avoiding sugar can lead to improved oral health and a reduced risk of cavities and gum disease.
5. Reduced risk of chronic diseases
Lowering sugar intake may lower the risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, says the expert.
6. Clearer skin
Some people may experience improvements in their skin health, as high sugar intake has been linked to acne and other skin issues.
7. Improved mood and mental clarity
Stable blood sugar levels can positively affect mood, reducing mood swings and improving mental clarity.
8. Healthier gut
High sugar intake can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, reducing sugar can help promote a healthier gut environment.
Tips to remove sugar from meals for 30 days
There are some fruits like mango, pineapple and strawberry that are pretty sweet. Singhwal says fruits do not need to be completely removed from your no sugar diet. While fruits contain natural sugars, they also provide essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that are beneficial for health.
From a health expert’s perspective, moderate fruit consumption is generally encouraged. The expert says the sugars found in whole fruits are all natural, and the fiber content in them helps to slow down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. This in turn, reduces the impact on blood sugar levels. Also, the nutrients in fruits offer many health benefits. They promote heart health, help the immune system and aid in digestion.
However, watch out for the portion sizes and avoid having too much of fruit juices and dried fruits. These are concentrated sources of sugar without the fiber content found in whole fruits.
Here’s how to reduce sugar intake
1. Read labels
Check the food labels and avoid products that say “added sugars”. Look for ingredients like sucrose, high fructose, corn syrup and other sugar derivatives.
2. Choose whole foods
Focus on whole and unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats, suggests the expert.
3. Avoid sweetened beverages
Cut out sugary drinks like soda, fruit juices and sweetened tea or coffee. Instead, opt for water, herbal tea or plain coffee.
4. Cook at home
Prepare your meals at home, so you have control over the ingredients and can avoid hidden sugars.
5. Snack wisely
Choose healthier snacks like nuts, seeds, yogurt, or fresh fruits instead of sugary snacks.
Just be mindful of your food choices and any potential hidden sources of sugar, especially while you are eating out or having packaged foods.