Low Sugar Diet Food List: What to Eat & Avoid : NUTRABAY™

Low Sugar Diet Food List: What to Eat & Avoid

A low-sugar diet refers to a diet that involves reducing the intake of foods containing artificial or natural sugars. Low-sugar diets came into existence in response to the current high added sugar intake trends. The primary aim of a low-sugar diet is to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. 

Sugar consumption is increasing globally. Recent national surveys revealed that an average Indian eats almost 18 kg of sugar per head consumption with approximately ten spoons per day per head consumption of sugar per day. The prevalence of obesity and overweight has climbed nearly four times in the last 15 years. 

In addition, all of us consume considerable amounts of sugar in hidden forms from different processed food items, which has been shown to contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, increased inflammation, and tooth decay. 

A low-sugar diet can help check total sugar intake and satisfy sugar cravings while eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight. Low-sugar diets are comparatively easier to follow than no-sugar diets in which fruits and vegetables containing naturally occurring sugars are also restricted. They are specifically beneficial for people that aim to lose weight or are diagnosed with diabetes.

Low-sugar diet food list.

One can easily include the below-mentioned foods in a low-sugar diet. 

  • Fruits: Apple, berries, avocado, peach, plum, melons, pomegranate, orange, guava and kiwi.
  • Vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, capsicum, bell peppers, sweet potato, mustard leaves, bathua, bottle gourd (ghia), ridge gourd (tori), bitter gourd (karela), brinjal, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, zucchini, green peas, green beans and ladyfinger.
  • Herbs and Spices: Ginger, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, saunf or fennel, allspice, chilli, cumin, turmeric, rosemary, thyme and asafoetida or hing, basil, oregano, bay leaf, black pepper and cardamom.
  • Whole grains and Cereals: Whole wheat, rice, quinoa, oats, millets, barley and buckwheat.
  • Dairy: Milk, curd, Greek yoghurt, cheese and cottage cheese (paneer).
  • Non-Dairy Milk: Coconut milk, kefir, oat milk, soy milk, almond and cashew milk.
  • Protein-rich foods: Whole pulses, legumes, beans, eggs, fish, chicken, tofu and lean meat. 
  • Fats and Oils: Olive oil, mustard oil, avocado oil, cold-pressed vegetable oils, desi ghee and coconut oil.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, melon seeds, pistachios, hemp seeds, peanut butter, walnut butter and almond butter.

Foods to avoid in a low-sugar diet.

  • Foods containing refined flour (maida) like cakes, pastries, cookies, biscuits and bread.
  • Sugary drinks like sodas, canned fruit juices, sweetened mocktails, sugary shakes and smoothies.
  • Sugar loaded desserts, muffins and pies.
  • Packaged and ready to eat snack foods like sweetened breakfast cereals.
  • Alcohol.

Tips for reducing added sugars from your diet.

If you plan to follow a low-sugar diet, these tips might help to slash added sugars from your diet. 

  1. Swap sugary beverages with naturally low sugar beverages like water, coconut water, buttermilk, green tea, herbal teas, lemon water and unsweetened sparkling water.
  2. If you crave sugary desserts and sweets, try better alternatives that are low in sugar and still satisfy the cravings, like homemade fruit yoghurt, fresh fruits, dark chocolate (more than 70% cocoa), dates and high-protein bars.
  3. Replace sugary spreads and sauces with low-sugar substitutes with herbs and spices like mustard sauce, hummus, avocado spread, unsweetened nut butter and ricotta cheese.
  4. Eat a protein-rich diet and include protein-rich food in every meal as studies support that protein intake directly reduces food cravings.
  5. Read nutrition labels and ingredient lists carefully. Before you add any packaged food to your cart to buy, check for the added sugar content in the nutrition table. The product may also contain sugar in other forms like high fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, dextrose, molasses, caramel, cane juice and maltose.
  6. Avoid canned fruits and vegetables that are soaked in sugary syrups. But if you prefer having them due to the convenience, choose the ones labelled as ‘no added sugar’.
  7. A poor sleep schedule has been shown to alter hunger hormone balance and increase the cravings for foods high in sugar and fat. If you struggle to stop making high sugar food choices, getting adequate sleep may help you regain some control. 

To conclude, the low sugar diets encourage fresh, unprocessed food with the idea that this way of eating can effortlessly become a long-term lifestyle. Low-sugar diets are easy to follow and support your weight loss goals. Currently, there are no known health risks associated with low-sugar diets. However, if you plan to begin with a low-sugar diet, it is advisable to plan carefully based on your daily calories and other nutrient needs.

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