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Low Sugar Diet: What Foods to Eat and What Foods to Avoid

Low Sugar Diet: What Foods to Eat and What Foods to Avoid

Going on a low sugar diet isn’t only for people with diabetes or prediabetes. In fact, anyone can go on a low sugar diet in order to improve their health and lower their risk of disease.

But what foods can you eat on this type of diet? And which foods should you need to steer clear of? Find out below.

Why Should You Go On a Low Sugar Diet

First off, we need to understand why lowering your sugar intake is a good idea. Sugar in itself isn’t “bad” for our health. In fact, our body needs sugar and uses it to provide energy that we use in our daily lives.

In the food that we eat, we get sugar from simple and complex carbohydrates1. Simple carbohydrates can be found in table sugar, fruits, and also milk, usually in the forms of sucrose, fructose, and lactose respectively. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, can be found in rice, bread, whole grains, cereals, etc.

Whenever we eat carbohydrates, our body will break it down into glucose. These are then absorbed into the bloodstream where it provides energy for the cells in our body. Simple carbohydrates are broken down more readily by the body, so they provide an instant boost of energy, and also causes our blood sugar levels to increase quickly.

Complex carbohydrates take a while to break down, so they provide a more sustained boost of energy, and doesn’t cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly.

The problem with sugar happens when we have too much simple carbohydrates. This causes the blood sugar levels in our body to increase, so in response, our pancreas release insulin to control our blood sugar. Insulin helps convert the excess sugar into fatty acids, and our body then stores these fatty acids as fat.

This is the reason why eating too much sugar can make a person fat. And this, in turn, increases their risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, high blood pressure, etc. This is why we need to regulate the amount of sugar that is in our diet.

Low Sugar Diet: What to Eat and What to Avoid

One problem with our modern diet is that a lot of foods contain simple carbohydrates. These days manufacturers tend to use high fructose corn syrup in a lot of foods. From sodas, candy, junk foods, and even fruit juice and bread, most of these contain high fructose corn syrup2. This means that eating these foods on a daily basis can gradually make your blood sugar levels go up. And over time, this can cause you to become overweight or even obese.

Here are some foods that you’ll need to avoid if you want to lower your sugar intake:

  • Soft drinks
  • Packaged, sweetened fruit juice
  • Chips
  • White bread
  • Ice cream, sweet yogurt
  • Candies, cakes, and other desserts
  • Ketchup
  • Salad dressing

Foods that are good for a low sugar diet include the following3:

  • Whole-grain bread
  • Cereals
  • Unpolished or brown rice
  • Fresh citrus fruits
  • Fresh fruit juice
  • Low-calorie or sugar-free drinks
  • Dried fruits
  • Non-starchy vegetables4
  • Nuts, seeds, and grain
  • Fatty fish such as tuna and mackerel
  • Lean meats5

Another important thing to remember is to practice portion control. It’s perfectly fine to eat sweet foods every so often, so long as you eat just the right portion. The same goes even for healthy foods; eating too much, even if it’s healthy, can cause you to gain weight.

Key Takeaways

When it comes to a low sugar diet, it’s important to know which foods have simple sugars. Taking out these foods from your diet can help make it easier for you to cut back on your sugar intake.

Learn more about Special Diets here.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources
  1. Carbohydrates and Sugar (for Parents) – Nemours Kidshealth, https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/sugar.html, Accessed September 27, 2021
  2. Low-Sugar Diet, Definition, Origins, Description, Function, https://reference.jrank.org/diets/LowSugar_Diet.html, Accessed September 27, 2021
  3. 6 ways to reduce your sugar intake – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/6-ways-to-reduce-your-sugar-intake/art-20267400, Accessed September 27, 2021
  4. Tips for Cutting Down on Sugar | American Heart Association, https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/tips-for-cutting-down-on-sugar, Accessed September 27, 2021
  5. Refined Carbs and Sugar: The Diet Saboteurs – HelpGuide.org, https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-carbs.htm, Accessed September 27, 2021
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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated 4 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza