Sugar is often considered the enemy of our health. After all, too many sugary treats can damage your teeth and cause you to gain weight. According to a February 2023 study published on the National Library of Medicine, eating too much sugar is implicated in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders. So it’s a good idea to save cookies, pastries, brownies, cakes, ice cream, donuts and caramel. Yet there are other ways to get sugar into your body. There are tea and other drinks that you drink daily. What if you went 30 days without sugar?
Health Shots contacted Ekta Singhwal, Registered Dietitian at Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, to find out what will happen to your body if you stop eating sugar for a month.
Benefits of a 30 day sugar free diet
Removing sugar or any other food group from your diet is not healthy. The right way to have a balanced diet is to control portions and avoid excess. Singhwal claims that sugar provides calories, but lacks essential nutrients. Among other things, the consumption of 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 because it eliminates empty calories and reduces the risk of overeating, Singhwal says.
2. Improved Blood Sugar
Quitting sugar for 30 days can help stabilize blood sugar, reducing the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
3. Improved Energy Levels
Without spikes or drops in blood sugar, energy levels tend to become more stable throughout the day.
4. Better dental health
Avoiding sugar can improve oral health and reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease.
5. Reduced risk of chronic diseases
Reducing sugar intake can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, says the expert.
6. Clearer skin
Some people may see an improvement in their skin health, as high sugar intake has been linked to acne and other skin problems.
7. Improved mood and mental clarity
Stable blood sugar levels can positively affect mood, reducing mood swings and improving mental clarity.
8. A healthier gut
High sugar intake can upset the balance of gut bacteria, while reducing sugar can help promote a healthier gut environment.
Tips for cutting sugar from meals for 30 days
Some fruits like mango, pineapple and strawberry are quite sweet. Singhwal says fruits don’t need to be completely cut out of your sugar-free diet. Although fruits contain natural sugars, they also provide essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that are beneficial to health.
From a health expert’s perspective, moderate fruit consumption is generally encouraged. The expert says that the sugars found in whole fruits are all natural and their fiber content helps slow the absorption of sugar into the blood. This in turn reduces the impact on blood sugar. Plus, the nutrients in fruits provide many health benefits. They promote heart health, help the immune system and aid digestion.
However, pay attention to the size of the portions and avoid consuming too many fruit juices and dried fruits. They are concentrated sources of sugar without the fiber content found in whole fruits.
Here’s how to reduce your sugar intake
1. Read labels
Check food labels and avoid products that say “added sugars.” Look for ingredients like sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, and other sugar derivatives.
2. Choose whole foods
Focus on whole, unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats, suggests the expert.
3. Avoid sugary drinks
Avoid sugary drinks like sodas, fruit juices, and sweetened tea or coffee. Opt instead for water, herbal tea or plain coffee.
4. Cook at home
Prepare meals at home to control ingredients and avoid hidden sugars.
5. Snack wisely
Choose healthier snacks like nuts, seeds, yogurt, or fresh fruit over sugary snacks.
Just be mindful of your food choices and any potential hidden sources of sugar, especially when eating out or eating packaged foods.