Updated: Mar 20, 2020
It’s true that small amounts of natural sugar in a healthy active person’s diet won’t cause outrageous outcomes in terms of weight gain or health problems, but a little higher-than-usual intakes of sugar can cause unwanted unhealthy results in the body.
Diabetes, Heart disease, weight gain and fatty liver disease are some of the health complications that could potentially be caused by a diet with excess amounts of sugar once it turns into fat deposits.
Even though the benefits of starting a low sugar diet are very clear, sometimes actually getting started can feel overwhelming and complicated. Many people might feel obligated to turn to this way of eating to solve health complications, it’s true. But the low sugar diet should be thought of as an act-now type of lifestyle change for most people. Natural sugars are perfectly healthy in moderation, but added sugars from processed foods can be detrimental. In this article, I will show you a little more of how I turned my diet into a Low-Sugar diet and what were the pros/cons I found, as well as the tips I can give you to make it a smooth transition knowing that it can be hard to go full 180 degrees on it all at once.
Like I mentioned earlier, a low sugar diet might be an obligated change for people with certain health conditions (diabetes/heart diseases) but it is certainly beneficial to all. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate that adults in the United States get around 15% of their calories from added sugars alone, not including natural sugars, such as those in products such as fruit and milk.
Not only that, but the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men (or 100 and 150 calories, respectively). But in reality, we eat way more — nearly 12 teaspoon per day for women and more than 17 teaspoons for men, according to a 2016 study. That means that we are consuming over 2x the minimum recommended amount of sugar daily.
When I first decided to change and start watching my diet more closely, I must confess I didn’t go too deep into research. As a professional athlete I worked closely with a professional nutritionist since the age of 12. Around that time I admit that my nutritionist never strip me from much, he actually advised me to not be too worried. I was swimming at a high intensity around 3-4hours/day and all the food in the world didn’t seem enough so I was super skinny yet still hungry at all times.
As the years went by and I started gaining more muscle, the conversation started to change. We started developing a better strategy as my results as a professional athlete started to ‘’matter’’ more and I now I didn’t have an extreme need to gain more weight/muscle. It was when I was around 15-16 that I started paying close attention to natural foods and low sugar products.
Even though I was burning through 2000-2500 calories/day I couldn’t just go around eating whatever I saw in front of me anymore because I started noticing that quality matters and I needed to make sure my body was recovering at its maximum capacity so I was ready for battle the next day too.
As I mentioned in this article, I started small by quitting t