Should You Adopt A “Sugar-Free” Lifestyle?

Should You Adopt A “Sugar-Free” Lifestyle?

Sugar seems as if it is everywhere, and it is one of the few pleasures that has an almost universal appeal worldwide. Perhaps your weakness is pistachio ice cream, brownies with nuts, or pancakes covered with syrup.  Many of us crave sweets—sometimes throughout the day.  Some of us may even be addicted to sugar.  The problem is, large helpings of sugary foods can lead to substantial weight gain.  But eating sugar-free does not necessarily guarantee weight loss.

A food may be sugar-free and still contain a great amount of calories and carbohydrates.  You may be thinking that you can lose weight simply by using sugar substitutes.  However, many sugar substitutes increase your intake of both calories and carbs.   For instance, the sugar substitute fructose adds calories and carbs to your daily diet.  These types of sugar substitutes are often called sugar alcohols or polyols.

The American Diabetes Association heartily endorses sugar-free diets.  The organization also recommends consuming at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day; a half-dozen servings of breads and cereals; no more than three servings of low-fat milk or yogurt,  lean meats; and a limited amount of sweets and desserts.

When you dine in restaurants, the Diabetes Association recommends that you save half your meal for the next day in order to avoid calorie overload.  You might also consider sharing a meal or dessert with someone else.  Also, you might want to substitute a salad for potatoes.  In addition, you should ask that your dressing or sauce be served on the side in order to attempt to control portions.

It is interesting to note that a food can be labeled “no sugar added” and still contain sugar.  The label refers to the fact that no table sugar is involved; however, the food could still have its share of natural sugars.   As a result, no-sugar-added food could have as many calories as other types of food.  In addition, the Diabetes Association cautions that eating protein alone will not enhance your muscles.  Rather, you need exercise to strengthen your muscles.

While eating sugar-free food can be beneficial, the Diabetes Association offers other tips for attempting to lose weight and keep it off.  In general, the guidelines call for reducing calories and fat, exercising each day, not skipping breakfast, and maintaining a food log which indicates everything you have consumed on a daily basis.

Lessening your dependence on sugar can be an important first step toward improving your diet.  But, as we have seen, simply eating sugar-free will not guarantee that you will achieve the weight loss you’re looking for.  Weight reduction takes a great deal of discipline and patience.  You did not gain all of your extra weight in a single day, so you can’t expect to be rid of it instantaneously. With dedication and hard work, you can achieve your weight loss goals.  You yourself may be astounded at your progress, once you begin a sensible diet plan.

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