Carbs and sugars. We all know just how negatively these two foods can affect your health when taken in excess. So maybe you want to try the no sugar no diet. You probably want to lose weight for health reasons or personal inspiration, but you don’t know what this diet entails. Contrary to public opinion, this diet doesn’t mean you won’t take all carbs. You can still eat most foodstuffs. Keep reading to find out the dos and don’ts of the no flour no sugar diet plan.
What Are No Flour No Sugar Diets?
The no sugar no flour diet has grown to be quite popular over the years, but where did it start? This weight loss program was first developed by Dr. Peter Gott, a medical practitioner, and health columnist. Dr. Gott believed that food with a lot of sugar and flour was why most Americans were unhealthy and overweight.
You can find these components in highly processed foods. He, therefore, argued that cutting down on them would lead to significant weight loss. So you can’t eat processed foods that have flour or sugar. What then can you eat? Next, we look at what foods you can and can’t eat in diets with no flour or sugar.
Foods that are forbidden in this dietary plan include:
It is necessary to cut off your wheat consumption. Processed from grain, refined wheat doesn’t have bran and germ in it. The refining process also eliminates most fiber, crucial vitamins like vitamin B complex, and minerals like iron.
While manufacturers have dramatically minimized the usage of trans fat, its traces can still be found in many processed foods. These fats introduce fatty acids into your system, raising your cholesterol levels. This may ultimately affect your heart’s health (16).
Added sugars are added in processed foods to enhance taste and flavor. These sugars do not occur naturally and, as such, are not healthy. If your no flour no sugar diet is to work, you need to stay away from added sugars.
Soft Drinks And Sodas
You consume a lot of empty non-nutritional calories when you drink a lot of soft drinks. When you’re on a sugar-free diet, water and non-sugary options must remain your drinks of choice.
With all these dietary restrictions, you may ask and rightly so whether this diet plan is ultimately safe for your health. Next, we look at the health impacts this type of diet will have on your body in the long run.
Are No Flour, No Sugar Diets Safe?
There has been a steady rise in the number of studies that support the negative implications of added sugars. This has made the WHO revise their added sugars recommendations 10% daily free sugar intake to 5%. This revision aimed to reduce the risk of contracting noncommunicable diseases in adults and children (17).
How realistic is it to achieve? We consume sugars in most foods that we eat during the day, both knowingly and unknowingly. The no flour, no sugar diet essentially wants to eliminate added sugars, not natural sugars.
The American Heart Association (AHA) argues that our bodies do not need added sugars to function correctly. They insist that added sugars contribute additional calories and zero nutrients to food. However, AHA stresses that removing added sugars in your diet is not similar to no sugar intake. The latter may be harmful to our bodies since sugar is our bodies’ preferred source of fuel (17).
So this diet is safe since it won’t be depriving your body of the much-needed natural sugars. It will, however, remove the unnecessary and potentially harmful added sugars. So are no flour no sugar diets safe? They are.
In his book, “No Flour, No Sugar Diet,” Dr. Gott explains how cutting down on flour-based, sugar-added foods reduces your calorie intake. Reduced calorie and sugar intake then create a domino of health benefits that include:
High insulin levels don’t just add pounds to your belly; they make your fat cells go into a calorie-storage overdrive (11).
When you replace refined carbs and sugar in your dietary plans with healthy fats, your insulin level stays stable. This then means few calories are stored as fat, satiety increases, metabolism is revved up, and you can potentially lose weight.
Studies show that high sugar levels in your blood create a molecular reaction called glycation. When glycation occurs, the process of repairing your skin’s collagen doesn’t happen as it should. This then means that your skin won’t look as good as it’s supposed to when you take lots of sugar (8).
Additionally, multiple studies have suggested that diets filled with sugary treats lead to premature wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity (8). Therefore, cutting down on your sugar intake becomes a brilliant way to reduce sagging and visible signs of aging.
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Lasting Energy Levels
Most sugars are just simple carbohydrates. Essentially this means that they are absorbed into your bloodstream fast hence giving you an adrenaline rush. We all know the familiar rush of sudden power and energy; that’s what sugars do.
However, once all that sugar is metabolized, you crash hard. When you take meals packed with healthy fats and proteins instead, you get a steadier supply of energy. This supply will also last longer, keeping you energized throughout the day (12).
No More Abdominal Fat
We all know that the “daily sugary soda habit” can lead to tummy fats. What most people don’t know are the potential health risks that come with abdominal fat. When there’s a sudden sugar rush in your blood, insulin production is triggered in staggering quantities. Over time, insulin will lead to these fats accumulating around your belly areas (10).
These visceral fats are the riskiest as they influence the production of adipokines and adipose hormones. The two hormones can cause inflammation in your organs and blood vessels, leading to cancer and heart diseases (10).
Simply put, cutting down on sugary desserts and sodas eliminates belly fat and the adverse health effects that are associated with it.
Reduced Risk Of Diabetes
Having less sugar keeps you off excess pounds hence protecting you from type 2 diabetes. However, when you take less sugar, the risk of getting the disease is reduced in another way. Dr. Ludwig explains that fast-digesting carbohydrates task your pancreas to produce a lot of insulin. This excess demand puts a toll on the insulin-producing cells, making them malfunction and eventually causing diabetes (5).
So when you cut your sugar intake, your pancreas is protected from over-exertion, and it’s able to work the right way. A sugar-free diet doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?
Keeping Your Cardiovascular System Strong And Healthy
A healthy heart powers you through all your activities, from your intense workout routines to your late-night work deadlines. However, keeping it fuelled up with caramel lattes and cookies won’t do your heart any good in the long run. A study done in 2014 supports this notion (14).
The study’s result was as follows: People getting 17% to 21% of their daily calories from sweet stuff had 38% higher chances of dying from heart diseases. This is in comparison to those who kept their added sugar intake at 8% of their daily calorie consumption (14).
Looking at all these health benefits, maybe you want to get in on the diet. However, perhaps you’ve never been on any dietary plans before and wonder how to start a no added sugar diet and see it through. Read the following section to find out how to go about this.
How To Start A No Added Sugar Diet?
The no flour no sugar diet can be confusing, especially when it comes to the foods you can and can’t eat. Here are some tips that will get you started on this diet.
Choose The Right Foods
The most crucial part of starting and seeing through a no flour, no sugar diet is knowing what to eat. These are some of the foodstuffs that should be on your grocery list if you’re to get the full benefits of this dietary plan.
Fruit And Vegetables
Fruits and particular vegetables contain natural sugars that are nutritious and healthy. These sugars are better as they occur naturally and are not meant to improve the taste or flavor of the product. According to a study by the University of California, foods with natural sugars provide essential nutrients like vitamins for your body (6).
Ultimately, they will provide you with lasting energy reserves and fuel your brain, keeping you active all day. However, there is a catch. Some fruits like dried fruits have higher levels of natural sugars that may interfere with the diet plan.
When you get into this diet, stick with fruits that have the least amount of natural sugars. These fruits include avocados, lemons, lime, rhubarb, grapefruits, papayas, nectarines, peaches, oranges, guavas, clementines, pineapples, and plums. You can also use berries like cranberries, strawberries, and blueberries. According to data from the USDA, these fruits have lower than 10 grams of natural sugar per 100-gram serving (1).
Vegetables with the lowest levels of natural sugars include: Spinach, yams, cauliflower, cabbages, asparagus, kales, swiss chards, broccoli, okra, cucumber, mushrooms, summer and winter squash, watercress, and endive. Nutritional data from the USDA shows that these vegetables have less than 2 grams of natural sugars per 100 grams serving (2).
Plain and raw animal protein contains no sugar or flour. Sugar and flour come in if the product has been bread or prepared with sauce. Keeping this in mind, you should avoid frozen animal products. These include Breaded fish sticks, chicken nuggets, and prepared meat like flavored sausages and crab cakes.
Alternatively, you can opt for freshly cut chicken, fish, turkey, pork, beef, lamb, and seafood. Buy these products raw and cook them at home using fresh herbs, lemon, and olive oil. Do not use bottle products like ketchup and dressings as they may contain added sugars.
Eggs are also an excellent source of lean protein, and they don’t have any natural sugars or flour. However, steer clear from dishes like quiche that have a flour crust. You can also use dairy products like plain milk and yogurt. Avoid the flavored variants which contain additives like vanilla or honey, which are meant to improve its taste.
Beans And Legumes
These products have carbs and protein, and as a result, they may have some natural sugar. However, they do not have any flour. Flavored and baked options will, however, have added sugars, so you should avoid them. Canned and plain dried beans and legumes of all kinds are an excellent source of protein. However, those with the least amount of sugars include Navy, white, kidney, pink, pinto, and black beans.
You can also use Soy-based foods like soy milk and tofu as they have less than 2 grams of sugar per 100 grams serving (4). However, you must steer clear of the flavored variants. Always remember that flavored products are equal to added sugars.
Nuts And Seeds
These two foods are excellent snacks since they’ll give you both protein and fiber, improving your satiety. They also reduce the risk of contracting heart disease and diabetes, according to this study by Harvard Health (18).
The USDA shows that most nuts have less than 10 grams of natural sugars per 100 grams serving, with no flour content. Those with the lowest amounts, however, include sunflower, flax, pumpkin, and hemp seeds. Brazil, pecan, almonds, macadamia, pistachio, and hazelnuts contain the lowest amounts of added sugars when it comes to nuts. Data from the USDA show their nutritional profile having less than 5 grams of natural sugar per 100 grams served (4).
The no flavored variants rule also applies here. Go for the raw or dry-roasted varieties.
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You need to be careful when choosing your grains. Be careful with pasta, bread made from refined flour or cereals, instead pick whole grain products. Very often gluten-free whole grain bread will be prepared with alternative flours: Brown rice, quinoa, wild rice, oats, amaranth, and sorghum.
When you’re on the no flour no sugar diet, you should read and understand what’s on the labels of food products. Sugar and wheat can be processed in different forms and, as such, may be indicated differently in labels. These sugars come with different names but are similar when it comes to the health effects they’ll have on your body.
Some of the added sugar names and ingredients to look out for and avoid when you go grocery shopping include:
- Malt sugar.
- Cereal extract.
- Cracker meal.
- Vital wheat gluten.
- Modified starch.
- Gelatinized starch.
- Wheat bran hydrolysate.
- Vegetable starch.
- Corn sugar/syrup.
- Brown sugar.
- Raw sugar.
- Turbinado sugar.
- Honey. (Honey occurs naturally but can be considered an added sugar. This is because it contains similar levels of sugar as granulated sugar and high fructose corn syrup).
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Invert sugar
Address Your Cravings
Cravings can become a serious issue when you’re on a no sugar no flour diet. If you’re not careful, you may end up ruining the whole dietary plan because of cravings. Dr. Gott gives some tips in his book on how you can tackle your cravings in the middle of this diet. Try:
Using A Diet-Friendly Substitute
In his book, Dr. Gott lists a lot of healthy substitutes for your favorite foods. They include:
- Loaves made from sprouted wheat berries instead of conventional bread
- Tomato sauce-topped polenta instead of pasta
- Use rice, potatoes, and beans for your carb intake instead of flour
So any time you feel like going back to your old diet, look for a healthier substitute.
Eat Fresh Fruits If You’re In Need Of Something Sweet
If you can’t stop thinking about sweet foods, try eating fruits. However, keep in mind that the riper the fruit is, the more concentrated its natural sugars will be. Also, if you want to bake some cake, use fruit sweeteners manufactured from concentrated fruit juice. These can also be used in your morning coffee, but do so in moderation.
Do this, and you should find yourself sailing through the diet with zero hassle. You won’t even crave sugar anymore.
What Is The Best No Sugar Diet Plan For Beginners?
This meal plan can be very confusing, especially for beginners. Most times, you’re not sure which low-sugar foods best suit your needs or whether you’re doing everything right. The No Flour, No Sugar Diet by Dr. Gutts contains many meal plans you can use for your diet. Here’s some of them:
Meal Plan 1
- Start your day by eating a crepe filled with sliced lean ham, reduced-fat cheese, and a sliced apple for breakfast.
- Your mid-morning snack should include a single celery stalk filled with reduced fat and no added sugar butter.
- For lunch, have some taco salad with spiced prawns.
- Take some spiced edamame for your afternoon snack.
- Eat curry yogurt chicken, steamed or sauteed zucchini, and steamed brown rice.
Meal Plan 2
- Have some omelet muffins and sliced fresh strawberries for breakfast.
- Eat diced cantaloupe for your mid-morning snack.
- Take greek salad for lunch.
- In the afternoon, drink some no-sugar-added yogurt.
- Eat chicken breasts in Rosemary-Dijon sauce, steamed brown rice, and spinach salad with tomato vinaigrette.
Meal Plan 3
- Start your day with some nonfat milk, fresh peach, and whole-grain cereal (with no added flour or sugar).
- Take diced pineapple for your mid-morning snack.
- Eat a green salad with water-packed tuna for lunch, with sliced tomato, shredded carrot, and no-sugar-added vinaigrette.
- Eat some spiced edamame in the afternoon.
- For dinner, take meatballs in tomato sauce and polenta with fresh corn.
If you’re looking for a good sugar-free diet, above are some of the meal plans you can try. And if they don’t work for you, there are lots of other plans you could try. Check out Dr. Gutt’s No Flour, No Sugar Diet to explore more of these plans.
Excess sugar and flour can lead to unprecedented health problems in your body. Like all calorie-adding foods, everyone should take them in moderation and with extreme caution. However, practicing moderation in sugar consumption can be difficult because it can get addictive. Who doesn’t like sweet, right?
However, sticking to natural sugars will go a long way in improving your health. This is where the no flour, no sugar diets come in. These diets are safe and could improve your health in the long run. So take that leap of faith and try out this diet today.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility.
- 111 Fruit Lowest in Sugars (n.d., myfooddata.com)
- 200 Vegetables Lowest in Sugars (n.d., myfooddata.com)
- 34 Nuts and Seeds Lowest in Sugars (n.d., myfooddata.com)
- 56 Beans and Lentils Lowest in Sugars (n.d., myfooddata.com)
- An overview of diabetes types and treatments (2020, medicalnewtoday.com)
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- Why nutritionists are crazy about nuts (2017, harvard.edu)