sugarless1 month sugarless
If we are talking about sugar, we are mostly referring to table sugar. The white crystals which we use in our coffee or tea or use to make a cake. If you study and can decipher the food labels on products in the supermarket, you will discover that sugar is in many products. Not only in biscuits, lolly’s, cakes and soft drink, but also in breakfast cereals, sandwich spreads, dairy drinks and light/diet products. We consume approximately 40 kilos of sugar per person per year.
For everyone! Discuss it first with one of the bbb coaches if you have certain food allergies, are in the menopause, pregnant, breastfeeding or sick.
Mainly to broaden your knowledge about healthy products and sugar. Sugarless eating allows us to see how much sugar is present in the products that we eat. It can also help you wean yourself off sugar and could make you feel healthier and more vital. Depending on your current eating pattern, you may also lose weight.
How does it work?
It is best to follow the sugarless for 1 month, but less long (or longer) is also possible. During this period you only eat food without sugar. Because you are more conscious about nutrition, you also try to take healthy products. So no packets or instant meals but vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and kernels.
Before you start on your sugarless month, we will give you some basic knowledge concerning sugar and the effects of it on your body.
Sugar and science
Sugar is not good for our body. Some nutritionists go a step further and argue that sugar is poisonous and addictive, but this has not been scientifically proven. Research also shows that sugar is sugar. So honey, agave nectar or cane sugar, it is all sugar. And sugar is especially unhealthy because it is often used in ’empty foods’. Some nutritionists claim that you feel more energetic and less tired when you stop eating sugar, but there is also no scientific prove for that.
What is sugar exactly?
Many people enjoy sugar. Sugar creates an appetite, which means you continue to eat. Food producers are aware of this and make use of it. Many food producers have scientists who do research for them regarding our desire for sweetness. They research things such as, ‘bliss point’ (the moment a product is so sweet that we can’t stop eating it) and the ‘mouth feeling’ (the way a product integrates with our mouth).
Different sorts and names of sugars
The most important sources of sugar were always cane and beet. Due to inflated prices of these in the 1970’s, research resulted in the discovery of fructose corn syrup. This was cheaper and more fluid which meant it could be more easily used in products. Over the years, sugar has developed many names. Below is a summary, in alphabetical order, of what you may come across on different labels but really just means: sugar.
Different names of sugar
Agave nectar, apple juice concentrate, apple syrup, brown sugar, burnt sugar, cane sugar (syrup), caramel, caramelised sugar, cassonade, castor sugar, cinnamon sugar, concentrated fruit juices, corn syrup, crystal sugar, date syrup, Demerara sugar, dextrose, fructose (syrup), glucose, glucose-fructose syrup, grape juice concentrate, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), honey, invert sugar, jam sugar, lactose, malt, malt syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, maple syrup, molasses (syrup), panela, powdered milk, raw cane sugar, rice syrup, rock sugar, sacharose, spelt syrup, sucranat, sucrose, vanilla syrup, wheat syrup.
The above list may raise some questions as agave nectar, date syrup, honey, maple syrup, panela and raw cane sugar (in italics) are all natural products. During the sugarless we also don’t consume any form of natural sugar. It’s also sugar.
What contains sugar?
Sugar is present in many jars and packets so read all the labels well and use the above list. Even when you don’t expect it. A jar of organic carrots, for example, from Ekoplaza even has cane sugar added to it and the organic beetroot from Demeter are sweetened with agave syrup. Read all the labels from all the products before you purchase them and don’t forget to check the labels on the food products in your kitchen cupboard.
How do you read labels?
There is a difference between the ingredients and the nutritional value. If, by ingredients, one of the above names of sugar is mentioned, then sugar has been added. By the nutritional value the amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates and how many grams of sugar is listed. This label doesn’t differentiate between the sugar being present from nature or if it was added. You don’t need to concern yourself with this.
Sugar is also present in products without labels, such as, bread, milk, meat and fruit. So what do you need to watch out for?
Fruit is healthy. It is, however, packed with fruit sugars. You may, though, consume fresh fruit during the sugarless. The sugars present are less concentrated and fruit contains a lot of fibres, vitamins and minerals. The many fibres make sure that your blood sugar level doesn’t rise too quickly. Eat every day a minimum of 2 pieces. Preferably fresh and organic. Tinned fruit often has added sugars.
You can also choose, sometimes, for dried fruit. Dried fruit is actually fruit without liquid. Because of this the level of fructose is quite high. Further, it is full of fibres, vitamins and minerals. Dried fruit is therefore allowed during the sugarless but don’t exaggerate. Fresh fruit juice has the vitamins and minerals but not the fibres. The sugars are, therefore, more quickly absorbed in the blood. Try to limit your consumption of fresh fruit juices during the sugarless or leave them out all together. A good option is fresh vegetable juices and you can also add a bit of fruit to them. 100% coconut juice is also allowed.
Sugar is also present in bread so this is also not allowed during the bbb Sugarless. Did you know that a brown sandwich without spread contains about half a cube of sugar? If you do want to eat bread there is also sugar free bread. Ask for it at the bakery or health food shop. Rice cakes or crackers (read the labels first) are allowed.
Meat & meat substitutes
Meat and meat substitutes have often had dextrose (=sugar) added to them, such as certain sorts of pate, chicken and (vegetarian) mince from the supermarkt.
Milk sugars or lactose are naturally present in milk, just like fruit sugars are naturally present in fruit. Some milk products and milk substitutes have had sugar added. Read carefully the labels of oat-, soya-, almond- and rice milk and other dairy drinks.
Cheese has virtually no sugar added. Leave the light cheese spreads as these often have sugar added.
Fresh or plantbased yoghurt has sometimes added sugar. Read the label.
Butter and oil
Choose products such as plantbased butter, coconut butter and olive oil. Liquid butters are highly processed and often contain some form of sugar to get a nice crispy layer on the baked product.
You may eat as many vegetables as you want. Try and choose fresh and organic. You can also make vegetable juice or a smoothie. If you do choose for vegetables from a jar or tin, check that there has been no sugar added.
Sweeteners and artificial sugar replacements are not a healthy alternative for sugar. This is because you trick your body with these products. After consuming them your body gives a signal that sugar is coming, your body then produces insulin but no sugar arrives. This results in a hungry feeling so that you eat more and the extra insulin insures that more fat is stored.
Which sugar replacements exist?
Aspartame, acesulfame K, cyclamate, coconut sugar, erythritol, isomalt, lacitol, lucuma powder, malitol, mannitol, mesquite powder, palm sugar, sucralose, splenda, stevia, sorbitol, yacon (syrup), xylitol.
The substitutes printed in italics are natural varieties. This means that there is no chemical process involved and that they have maintained most of their nutrients. The natural substitutes are therefore better than the artificial ones. Still try, however, to not use these during the bbb Sugarless as your desire for sweet then won’t diminish.
Delicious sugar free products
Once you have focused on sugar free eating, the supermarket becomes a jungle. We have listed a few products without added sugars that we like to eat. This list is nowhere near complete but is handy to use as inspiration. Most of the products are available in the organic supermarket.
- Oatly bio havermilk (oat milk).
- Provamel soy milk.
Bread (substitutes), grains and flour
- Ekoplaza zonnebloemroggebrood, Fries roggebrood en volkoren roggebrood (rye breads).
- Natine ‘mijn toastjes’ gierst.
- Joannusmolen boekweitmeel and kikkererwtenmeel (buckwheat flour and chickpea flour, good for making pancakes).
- Pure Greek green olive tapenade and kalamata olive tapenade.
- Horizon amandelpasta, cashewpasta, hazelnootpasta and zonnebloempitpasta (nut pastes).
- Ekoplaza champignon pate (mushroom pate).
- Bionova Sandwich spread.
- Healthy planet mierikswortelspread and kruidenspread (horseradish and herb spread).
- Zwergenweiss spreads based on sunflower seeds in various flavours (cucumber-dill, basil and capsicum).
- Jam made from grape juice.
- Cenovis bouillon (stock).
- Tons belze majoneis (mayonnaise).
- Ekoland diksap (syrup you mix with plenty of water).
- Wine from Italy, Spain and Australia are always sugar free. Wine from other countries may have sugar added and this doesn’t have to be mentioned on the label.
.Virtually always sugar free (check the label!)
- Legumes, olives from jar or tin.
- Rice crackers and crackers.
- Unroasted and unsalted nuts.
- Dried fruit
Sugarless in a nutshell:
- Do not eat products that have sugar or sugar substitutes added.
- Do not eat light/diet products and also no chewing gum or mint lolly’s.
- Avoid ‘white’ grain products: white pasta, rice and bread. They fill but don’t feed.
- Limit the amount of potatoes and bread that you eat. These raise the blood sugar level quite quickly.
- Limit (fresh) fruit juices. If you do drink them, dilute them down with water.
- Drink little if no alcohol and coffee.
- Go for ‘real’ food. Be creative, challenge yourself and try new recipes.
- Depending on how much sugar you used, you may suffer from headaches, nausea or tiredness. Drink extra water and try and plan in some moments of rest. You will find that the symptoms usually disappear.
- During difficult times it may be difficult to stay loyal to the sugarless. Not a problem. Remind yourself every time why you do this and have faith!EXAMPLE OF A DAILY PROGRAM
Make a choice out of the following options:
1. Oatmeal porridge with oat milk or homemade almond milk
2. Plantbased milk with muesli, nuts, fruits, seeds and superfoods.
3. Rice cake(s) or crackers with spread.
Raw vegetables, fruit, vegetable juice or vegetable smoothie.
Make a choice out of the following options:
1. A few slices of sugar free bread (rye, spelt, wholemeal, sour dough) or rice cakes with sugar free spread (nut paste, avocado, vegetable spread, tomato, cucumber). Add to this a large portion of raw vegetables (tomato, cucumber, alfalfa, sprouts, carrot sticks, radishes), either on your sandwich or next to it.
2. Salad sandwich: use lettuce leaves instead of slices of bread. Choose a spread of your own choice such as grilled zucchini, eggplant, cucumber, tomato, grated carrot, avocado.
3. Homemade soup.
4. Salad with plenty of vegetables.
Raw vegetables or if really hungry a handful of nuts, some olives or half an avocado.
A meal with lots of vegetables. Check the recipes in our web-app.
Water (possibly with a flavour such as cucumber, mint or lemon), herbal tea, fresh vegetable juices/smoothies and 100% coconut juice.