The easiest way to avoid sugar is to eliminate all processed foods. Opt for whole foods, like organic meat, whole milk dairy, nuts, seeds, beans, vegetables, and fruit. If you can’t avoid packaged foods, buy foods that don’t have added sugar. Look for sugar, evaporated cane juice, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, beet sugar, brown rice syrup, agave, honey, molasses, brown sugar, and fruit juice concentrates. Also check the nutrition label to find out how many grams of sugar are in the food. This may be added sugar or naturally occurring sugar, which is found in milk, plain yogurt, and fruit. Don’t worry about naturally occurring sugar as long as you eat reasonable quantities.

If the thought of eliminating sugar intake is not conceivable, begin by lowering your intake. Avoid all sweetened beverages and all other beverages that have added sugar, including diet and regular soda, tea, sports drinks, and energy drinks. There is evidence that sweetened beverages of all kinds are linked to accelerated fat gain, greater risk of obesity, diabetes, and other health problems because liquid sugars are turned into fat very quickly, and lower insulin sensitivity.

Fruit juice has none of the fiber of fruit and most fruit juices has a lot of added sugar, usually disguised as concentrated fruit juice. From  a body composition perspective, you need to avoid juice because the liquid sugar, most of which is fructose, is quickly converted into fat.

If you consume fructose, do so through the consumption of fruits. Most fruits are high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, making them an important part of your diet. Limit your intake to five to 10 grams of fructose a day if fat loss is your goal, with very active individuals maxing out at 20 grams. Lower fructose fruits and vegetables include most berries, nectarines, grapefruit, avocado and tomatoes. Bananas, apples, and pears are on the high fructose sources.

Added fructose may be the worst sugar because of how it slows metabolism and halts fat burning, there is no nutritional value in any form of sugar except possibly honey, real Canadian Maple Syrup (represent!), or molasses. For optimal body composition, avoid all sugar. Healthier sweeteners don’t exist. Agave is one of the worst sweeteners because it is almost pure liquid fructose with an even higher fructose content  than high-fructose corn syrup.

Avoid diet soda and other diet sweeteners because many are chemically derived and have been linked with severe health problems including cancer risk. Ingesting sweeteners such as aspartame, and splenda, increases your toxicicity. There is evidence that humans naturally use sweet taste to predict the caloric content of food. Eating sweet non-caloric substances may degrade this predictive relationship, leading us to eat more calories, and producing fat gain.

Controlled studies of rats have found that  feeding the animals artificially sweetened food reduces the correlation between sweet taste and the caloric content of foods, resulting in increased energy intake, fat gain, and a blunted thermic response to sweet-tasting diets. This means the rats’ bodies adapted to burn fewer calories in response to the same amount of food intake, indicating that their metabolism slowed down.

Stevia is a non-caloric sweetener that comes from the stevia bush, which is native to South America. It has been found to improve glucose tolerance and may help fight diabetes. Other studies have shown it can lower blood pressure and may convey additional health benefits. Stevia doesn’t cause an insulin release, but it does need to be metabolized by the body, which happens via a detoxification  through the liver and kidneys. It isn’t turned into fat or used as energy in the body, but it still must be processed and excreted, which means you don’t want to eat huge quantities.

Happy Lifting!

This article written and researched by Matt Taylor
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