Cutting out sugar entirely is quite full on but if the likes of Dr. Robert Lustig and David Gillespie are to believed, it is the only way to halt the progress of the obesity epidemic.
Read on to see what you can and can't eat on a low or no sugar diet.
For sweetening or snacking:
- Stevia – a plant based sweetener, available in supermarkets
- Rice Malt syrup – harder to come by but can be used in baking
- Coconut – healthy, tasty, fills you up due to the MUFA’s (monounsaturated fatty acids, which are healthy fats) it contains.
What contains sugar (fructose) and how much can you safely eat?
- Fruit - Fruit contains stacks of fibre, so you can eat it happy in the knowledge that your body can cope with it and won’t turn it straight into fatty deposits. However, if you are trying to lose weight stick to 2-3 portions per day and try to stick to berries and citrus. Bananas, whilst nutrient rich are very sugary. Don’t drink fruit smoothies or fruit juice. The fibre has been removed by the pressing or pulping process so your insulin levels will spike and the sugar will be converted to fat.
- Drinks - Stick to milk, water, teas and coffee. Any flavoured drink will contain sugar or sweetener (which is better but not brilliant for your health)
- Stodge - Avoid all baked goods such as biscuits, cakes pastries, crisps etc or just treat yourself now and again. This depends on your willpower though. Sugar is addictive so once you start on the Hobnob you might not be able to stop at one. Plus, one of the aforementioned tasty treat contains 3.5 grams of sugar.
- Bread – Bread contains added sugar, so either swap to rye bread or look for a bread that doesn’t have added sugar (Allinson and Vogel don’t add sugar to some of their varieties). Again, if you are trying to lose weight cut back on bread altogether or just have it in the mornings.
- White pasta, rice, cous cous – all refined carbohydrates contain sugar, so cut back on these products. They are the staples of most people’s diet but they can be swapped for healthier alternatives such as quinoa, bulgar wheat, lentils, sweet potatoes, brown or wild rice. It might take a while to get used to it but your health will prosper.
Of course this strict approach to eliminating sugar isn’t for everyone. If you would rather just reduce it, then that’s fine too. Just cut out juices, sugary cereals, and sweet snacks and your body will thank you. The occasional treat is also allowed (see my post yesterday regarding scone intake) – don’t forget life is quite short and a life without the odd biscuit is not worth living.
Read more about the recommendations in The Guardian and on the BBC news website.