The zero sugar diet is a diet that drastically reduces - or completely excludes - simple carbohydrates and added sugars. Even before a method to lose weight, it is therefore a healthy decision, since sugars are responsible for numerous problems, and even for a reduction in average life.
The zero sugar diet has become incredibly popular in recent years, such as the ketogenic diet, when more and more people have decided to find a solution to change their lifestyle by adopting a more conscious one. In fact, people are increasingly informed about the negative impact of elements such as an excessive use of sugars in their daily diet.
If you too are among these, you've come to the right place: in this article we'll tell you everything you need to know about your new lifestyle!
Why cut sugar?
Today, national and international health agencies recommend limiting sugars to less than 10% of total calories ingested. The reason is obvious: several studies have shown that the abuse of sugars is not only responsible for diabetes, but also for obesity, high blood pressure, excess cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, chronic inflammation, dental caries.
By reducing your sugar intake, therefore, you not only lose weight, but you actively take care of your health. The advice is to replace sugar-rich foods with healthy solutions that provide vitamins and minerals without increasing caloric intake.
The zero sugar diet: how does it work?
Let's start by saying that the zero sugar diet will bring you significant benefits. Not only weight reduction but also clearer skin (and reduced risk of skin cancer), prevention of mood swings and reduction of chronic inflammation, among the other benefits we have already listed.
But that's not all, because by adopting the zero sugar diet your energy and concentration levels will rise, you will look more beautiful, you will sleep better, you will feel less anxious and you will have healthier teeth.
How to start a zero sugar diet?
We recognize that it can be difficult to change your lifestyle from one day to the next, which is why it is advisable to start the diet gradually. One of the most difficult challenges people face when starting a diet is coping with hunger pangs and cravings for junk food. So here are some little tricks to help you start your zero sugar diet.
First, try limiting, but not completely eliminating, your sugar intake. For the first few weeks, therefore, do not eliminate sugar completely from your diet. This will help you reduce hunger pangs. So try to make a gradual detox plan from sugars, and try to follow it. Don't throw in the towel and don't be discouraged if you eat a chocolate for once, but hold on and get back on track immediately.
Your diet can include natural sugars like fruit so your body gets essential nutrients and fiber. Some fruits may contain more sugar than others, but that's okay, no fruit is ever as dangerous as processed foods. The less you pay attention to the sugar content in fruit, the more calm you will be able to stay and your path to losing weight will be easier.
In the meantime, you can cut out simple carbohydrates, for example by excluding all products with added sugars, such as biscuits and snacks. Furthermore, you can eliminate the sugars contained in all products, even salty ones, contained in products based on white flour and white rice. The problem with these carbohydrates is that they quickly convert into sugar in our bodies, causing insulin spikes. What do you have to do? Simply replace them with complex carbohydrate products: brown bread, brown rice, etc.
Also, if you want to treat yourself to something sweet, do it when you're in a good mood, never when you're stressed or depressed, because you could create an emotional connection with food by using it to compensate for your mood. Sticking to the zero sugar diet will also help you fight nervous hunger, because you'll have to focus on other activities to combat stress, maybe going for a walk.
Again, an excellent help is not to take dietary products. It may seem a contradiction, but when you buy a product that says "x% less fat" you need to know that those fats have been replaced with carbohydrates and sugars. Therefore, choosing foods that are not deprived of fat paradoxically turns out to be the healthiest choice. Naturally read the label, because without fat the sugar content could still be too high.
Eat more protein: Foods that are high in fat and protein help you keep your blood sugar in check. This means that you won't have the classic hunger attacks that push you to consume "quick" snacks that are usually high in sugar.
Foods you need to avoid on a zero sugar diet
All baked goods, ice cream and sorbets, crackers and bread sticks, but also tacos, white rice, puff pastry pizzas and other types of finger food appetizers, processed foods and anything containing added sugars (help yourself by reading the label ). Processed fruit juices, hot chocolate, sodas and spirits, especially cocktails.
As you can see, this is not an overly restrictive regimen, and following it can help you shed excess pounds and stay healthy. But be careful: consider the fact that even with a zero sugar diet you could take in too many calories, so always consider the portions and all the nutritional values in general, and not just the sugar content.
How to make the zero sugar diet easier
There are some small tricks that can make your diet easier to follow. For example, if you used to have a sweet breakfast, you can add fruit to your yogurt to improve its flavour. Also add dried fruit which will not only give a pleasant crunch to everything, but will also help keep blood sugar low.
You can do the same thing with drinks: if you don't like drinking plain water, you can add mint, lemon or cucumber. In short, make your own drink! You can also do it with carbonated water, for an extra twist. Another idea is to add spices where you previously used sugar. For example, cinnamon is an excellent sweetener, as are plant milks (be careful to buy those with no added sugar).
How to find sugars on labels
When we read the nutritional values it is easy to discover sugars and carbohydrates, but this is not always the case. Sugar can hide in the ingredients list under names we can't always identify.
Any examples? Sucrose, maltose, brown sugar, corn sugar, honey, fructose, grape juice, agave, caramel, maltol, glucose, syrup.
What can you eat on a zero sugar diet?
Now that we've listed all the things you can't do, let's see how to fill your shopping list. Allowed: avocado, olive oil, butter, beef, chicken, pork, eggplant, fish and seafood, soy, vegetables in general, mustard, lemon and lime, whole milk.
Let's take the example of a week without sugar:
The Monday you could eat eggs and spinach for breakfast, almonds as a snack, tuna seasoned with oil and vinegar for lunch, and steak with boiled vegetables for dinner.
The Tuesday Start the day with scrambled eggs and veggies, a cucumber with guacamole midmorning, and roast veggies with hummus for lunch. For dinner you will then treat yourself to potatoes with cheese and vegetables.
The Wednesday prepare a nice vegetable smoothie for breakfast, to which you will add nuts in the middle of the morning. For lunch a chicken fillet with avocado, and for dinner salmon and vegetables.
And it already is Thursday! Celebrate with a vegetable omelet, mid-morning coffee with whole milk, hummus with cucumbers for lunch, and chicken salad for dinner.
Start on weekend, it's Friday morning, and you're rewarding yourself with hard-boiled eggs for breakfast. Midmorning an apple with peanut butter, while at lunch you have a large vegetable salad, and at lunch a steak with a roast potato.
Did you like the green smoothie? Well! Saturday you can prepare another one for breakfast, to accompany the dried fruit that you will eat in the middle of the morning. For lunch, then, a nice tuna fillet with vegetables, while for dinner quinoa in chicken broth.
And here you have completed the week. AND Sunday morning, and the smell of bacon and eggs wafts through your kitchen. In the middle of the morning vegetables, while for lunch quinoa with vegetables, and for lunch lettuce leaves and steak.
And if you have a hunger attack?
The zero sugar diet doesn't ask you to endure hunger pangs, quite the contrary. During the day you can eat a little bit of everything: nuts, cheese, oats, popcorn, eggs, peanut butter, milk, tuna, hummus, but also Greek yogurt and avocado. The only thing you have to do is pay attention to the portions, because with snacks people tend to let themselves go.
Our final advice: fight the side effects
When we follow a zero sugar diet we can't really talk about side effects. Rather, they are normal consequences of the fact that the body has to adapt to the new diet and, in particular, to receive less sugar. So if you feel tired or have a headache, don't be scared and above all don't interrupt the diet, because the symptoms should disappear in a few days.
In the meantime, you can help yourself by increasing your fiber and protein intake which will help you feel full. But also drink lots of water, add whole milk to coffee, and prepare fruit smoothies for the first few days. Also try to exercise and sleep regularly. In a short time your body will thank you!