Let’s put our cards on the table: is it possible to live without sugar? It’s up to you to find out with our challenge by following a sugar-free diet for 5 days!
Eating without sugar, we’d like to get there!
But what does “sugar-free” mean? For some, it means avoiding industrial refined sugar, for others “sugar-free” is taken literally, i.e. avoiding all forms of sugar. When everyone has their own definition, it is not easy to define the concept of “sugar-free”.
All the more so because even though sugar has many names, that’s not why it’s different. To help you find your way around the supermarket, here’s a list of the most common names for sugar:
- Brown sugar or brown sugar
- Table sugar/sucrose
- Invert sugar
- Corn syrup, also known as isoglucose
- Malt sugar, or maltose
- Sorbitol, or glucitol
- Glucose, or dextrose
- Cane sugar
- White sugar
If you want to eat less sugar, then this list should help you choose your unsweetened foods wisely.
Living Sugar Free
Despite a healthy diet, it is very easy to end the day with a daily sugar intake higher than we need, without even realizing it. We often forget that sugar is really hiding everywhere. So the problem is that we eat sweet foods without knowing it. It’s time to clear things up! By spending 5 days saying no to sugar, you’ll learn to recognize sweet foods – even hidden ones – and this will make you more aware of your sugar intake.
Let’s go for 5 sugar-free days with us
How many grams of sugar per day
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily intake of free sugars limited to 10% of total energy intake. If your daily intake is around 2000 kcal, then your free sugar intake should be around 200 kcal. Free sugars are monosaccharides, such as glucose and fructose, and disaccharides, such as sucrose and industrial sugar. When these different sugars are added to a food by a manufacturer, a cook or a consumer, then they will be free sugars. Honey, syrup, fruit juices and concentrates may also contain free sugars. Of course, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as milk are not included since they contain natural sugars that do not have an adverse effect on health according to the WHO.
Sugar is naturally present in many foods: in fruit in the form of fructose, or in milk in the form of lactose. That’s why it is almost impossible to eat completely without sugar. With our 5-day sugar-free challenge, we want to prevent you from eating too much sugar, too fast. Sometimes you get really surprised where sugar hides, especially in foods where you wouldn’t expect it at all.
Top 5 trap foods
Whether it comes out of the bakery or an industrial package, a glance at the ingredient list of the bread will suffice to see that it often contains added free sugars. Malt extract, malt syrup or caramel syrup are sometimes used to make wholemeal breads look healthier. This is because the bread will have a darker, more pronounced colour to make it look healthier than a traditional white bread made with wheat flour.
Industrial mueslis are small sugar traps. Behind mentions such as “wholemeal muesli” or “crispy muesli” there is a large amount of sugar. If you look at the ingredients, you can see that in addition to wholemeal oat flakes, there are often free sugars in the form of fructose.
The initiative to take a fruit yoghurt instead of a chocolate mousse is respectable, but unfortunately it is not a low sugar alternative. Once again, if you look at the ingredients, you can see that sugar is often added to what would appear to be a healthy fruit yogurt. Yes, added fructose counts as added sugar.
A healthy product because this little peanut contains a lot of protein and fibre. Yes, it does. Except that many commercially available peanut butters contain added sugars, even if they are organic.
Rather than drinking very sweet sodas, we often tend to fall back on tea-based drinks such as green tea since it is generally good for our health. This is true. But some industrial tea-based drinks are confusing: they often have added sugar, most often honey.
Challenge taken up – 5 days of sugar-free dieting
A healthy and balanced diet with sufficient protein and good fats should be the basis of any form of nutrition. To achieve this, it is almost impossible to eat completely without sugar. Yes, even fruit and vegetables contain sugar in natural form. Because of the high consumption of sugary foods, we often exceed our daily requirement. This has become almost a habit for most of us. Avoiding free sugars responsibly for a little while can make us more aware of our sugar intake. Thanks to our Sugar Free 5 Day Challenge, you’ll have all the information and menus to get started.
Sugar-free diet for 5 days: our conclusion
- A completely sugar-free diet is almost impossible due to the fact that fruits and vegetables contain sugar in natural form.
- The WHO recommends a free sugar intake of 10% of the daily energy balance.
- Sugar has different names. We sometimes eat products containing sugar without being aware of it.
- Consciously reducing your sugar intake makes you more aware of sweet foods.