Most people at least once heard about “the danger that sugar possesses to our body and health.” However, is this carbohydrate that bad? And the answer is no, at least not all sugars.
The sugar we get from fruits and berries isn’t harmful. However, refined sugar is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart diseases. This type of sugar, including high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and table sugar, can be found in cookies, candies, pastries, cakes, salad dressings, pasta, bread, sugary beverages, etc.
The Sugar Busters diet restricts the consumption of added sugars, refined carbohydrates, and foods with a high glycemic index. Instead, this diet focuses on vegetables and fruits high in fiber, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
The Sugar Busters diet may benefit people with diabetes or insulin resistance, improve heart health, and reduce inflammation in the body. In addition, cutting off refined sugars and carbs promotes weight loss and may help people with obesity.
General guidelines for the Sugar Busters diet include getting 40% of your daily calories from carbs, 30% from proteins, and 30% from fats. To be more accurate, you should eat fiber-rich carbohydrates with a low glycemic index (GI value of 55 or less), healthy unsaturated fats, and lean proteins while following this nutritional approach.
Foods with a high glycemic index (ones you should avoid following the Sugar Busters diet) include:
- sugar and products with added sugar
- honey and syrups
- salad dressings (not all of them)
- sauces (ketchup, BBQ, teriyaki, sriracha, etc.)
- refined carbohydrates (including white flour, white bread, white rice, refined pasta, crackers, beer, etc.)
- some fruits (bananas and pineapples)
- root vegetables and products made from them (potatoes, beets, potato chips)
- processed meats (ham, bacon, sausages, breaded fish and meat)
Pregnant and breastfeeding women and children should avoid the Sugar Busters diet. In addition, people taking medications or patients with a condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease should discuss this diet with the healthcare provider before following it.
Since the Sugar Busters diet is relatively restrictive, it may lead to unhealthy relationships with food.
How to avoid possible nutritional deficiencies
People following the Sugar Busters diet may experience deficiencies in some vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, and iron.
To ensure that you get enough of the listed compounds, try to include into your diet some of the following:
- vitamin D: egg yolk, salmon, canned tuna, sardines, cod liver oil, fortified foods;
- vitamin E: almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, wheat germ oil, spinach, avocado, mango, asparagus, red bell pepper;
- calcium: milk and dairy products, almonds, salmon, canned sardines, winter squash, edamame, leafy greens;
- iron: spinach, broccoli, turkey, red meat, beef liver, black beans, pumpkin seeds, quinoa;
Some people find it challenging to fulfill the body’s nutrient requirement with the food alone. In this case, supplements can be taken to get enough specific vitamins or minerals. Talk with your doctor or nutritionist to be advised on particular supplements you may need.
Tips on improving your dieting experience
Eliminating sugar and refined carbs from the diet sounds like a challenging restriction for many people. For some individuals, the transition to a sugar-free diet seems almost impossible. Here are some tips that can help decrease your sugar cravings:
- start gradually
- eat a well-balanced diet and don’t over restrict your calorie intake
- get enough sleep
- make sure you stay hydrated
- enjoy eating fruits and berries as sweet treats
- learn stress managing techniques
- go for a walk and exercise to boost your serotonin levels
Overall, the Sugar Busters diet may be beneficial for some people. However, it can be an unhealthy choice for others at the same time. Though it promotes eliminating sugar and refined carbs while focusing on whole foods, this diet restricts some good sources of dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, the restrictiveness of the Sugar Busters diet may lead to unhealthy relationships with foods.
You may consider trying Mideterrenian or Nordic diets that encourage focusing on food quality instead of eliminating food groups.