A No Sweets Diet

by Jessica Bruso

Americans consume sugar at a rate of about 160 lbs. per person per year, and cutting back on sugar is one of the most difficult dietary changes for most Americans to make, according to a 2006 CBS News article by Polly Leider. However, there are numerous health benefits, including weight loss, from going on a low- or no-sweets diet.

History

People with certain health conditions, such as diabetes, and those who have had weight-loss surgery are put on no-sweets diets. Not only do these diets tend to help keep blood sugar in check, they also help people lose weight. This led to a number of weight-loss diets advocating that people avoid eating sweets, including the No S Diet, which recommends avoiding sweets, snacks and seconds except on "S" days.

Rationale

For diabetics, a no-sweets diet can make it easier to regulate blood sugar. Those who have had weight-loss surgery need to get the most nutrients out of the small amount of food they can eat at one time, and since sweets are notoriously low in nutritional value and high in calories, they are told to avoid them. For those who follow the No S Diet, it is a simple way to cut calories without having to count calories.

Benefits

Cutting out sweets and added sugar can have a number of health benefits, according to Connie Bennett, author of the book "Sugar Shock." These include weight loss, more stable blood sugar, lower triglycerides, better dental health and a better nutritional status since sweets won't be taking the place of healthier foods. Foods high in sugar tend to encourage overeating since they taste good and are energy-dense, which means they have a lot of calories in a small amount of food. Thus, cutting these foods out of your diet will help you eat fewer calories.

Considerations

Although following a no-sweets diet will help you lower the amount of sugar you eat, there are also many hidden sources of sugar in the diet, according to CBS News. Condiments like ketchup and barbecue sauce have sugar in them, for example. Those who are following a no-sweets diet should allow themselves a small treat, such as a piece of dark chocolate or a serving of ketchup once in a while so they don't end up binging on sweets because they feel deprived. That is why the No S Diet allows you to have sweets on "S" days. It makes it easier to stick to the diet in the long term.

Expert Recommendations

Health practitioners have differing recommendations on how much sweets people should eat. Although it would be healthiest to avoid these foods and follow a no-sweets diet, most people eat more sweets than they should. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans sets a limit for discretionary calories, which include sweets, based on your age and how active you are. The American Health Association recommends that you use no more than half of these discretionary calories on sweets, with women eating no more than 100 calories from sweets and men eating no more than 150 calories from sweets each day.

Photo Credits:

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.