What is the Zero sugar diet?
Cutting out sugar is a popular diet trend. Some ‘zero sugar’ diets eliminate all types of sugars, including naturally occurring sugars, as well as added sugars. Other diets recommend eliminating one type of sugar, such as fructose (found in fruit and honey or added to some processed foods), or sucrose (table sugar). The problem with eliminating all ‘sugars’ is that it would mean eliminating some healthy nutrient-rich foods, like fruit and yoghurt. If the focus is only on removing fructose, with no restriction on other simple sugars, then you might mistakenly think you can eat or drink as much of these other “sugars” as you like – and end up with a high kilojoule intake.
What the diet says you can eat?
On most 'zero sugar' diets you can eat a variety of fresh foods, just not any that contain sugar. Promotion of fresh food over processed is a priority on these diets.
What are the potential benefits of the 'zero sugar' diet?
It is recommended that you choose fresh produce over processed foods.
What are the downsides and risks of 'zero sugar' diet?
- Restrictive: foods such as dairy and fruit which contain important micronutrients are not consumed on this diet.
- Some still allow particular sugars which can lead to over consumption of sugars such as glucose which can still be stored as fat if not used for energy
- Unsupported by current scientific evidence. There is currently no literature that can validate the health benefits associated with a zero sugar diet. This is a restrictive, hard to follow diet that may result in nutritional deficiencies and that has no proven scientific benefits.
- Potential side effects: including fatigue, nausea, changes in sleep patterns, headaches.
The bottom line:
DO NOT follow this diet.
Although there is a promotion of fresh food over processed foods, this diet is very difficult to adhere to in the long term and restricts key food groups such as fruit and dairy which are important for health. There is no scientific evidence to support this type of diet.
To find out if your diet is healthy check out our Healthy Eating Quiz.