Sugar: How to go sugar-free to boost your health and wellbeing 

Not all sugars are created equally as so many processed foods including ‘low-fat’ ‘fitness products’ contain hidden ‘added sugars’ which are proven to contribute towards obesity and tooth decay, not to mention how it can trigger a surge in our blood sugar levels.

Added sugar and salt can impact our gut and overall health, disrupting our endocrine system which comprises of hormones and adrenal glands where refined sugar can trigger cortisol (stress hormone) responses. Too much stress can and adrenaline can increase our chance of storing fat or not eating enough impacting our mind, body, and our energy levels to train and recover.

So how do you reduce your sugar intake?

  1. Look at reducing your intake of refined sugar; this can be challenging as it is in many processed foods and has many names, such as fructose, sucrose, dextrose, molasses. All these words are names for sugars and are often lurking in much marketed low fat, low sugar, plant-based, and gluten-free products.
  2. Smart swaps can really help, so how about replacing a takeaway with a homemade pizza from complex cauliflower bases to simple dough methods?
  3. Sugar is one of the only molecules we can’t moderate.
  4. Increase sleep and/or try Yoga Nidra to reduce blood sugar levels particularly if you struggle with sleep. At rest, you cultivate your energy and repair your cells to build muscle and boost metabolism.
  5. Swap soda with sparkling water or flavour water with cucumber, ginger, and /or even cinnamon, and lemon tastes nice.
  6. “Your diet should be based on earth-grown nutrients and organic animal products. Your foods should be unprocessed and as close to their natural state as possible.
    Include protein and vegetables at every meal, Include 2-3 servings of fruit per day and enough starchy carbs to fuel and recover from intense training sessions.
    Low carb dieting will lead to poor energy levels and workouts and in time will destroy your metabolic and hormonal health. Plus you will be in a bad mood all the time.” Explains Personal Trainer Mike Green.
  7. “Unless you’ve been told to do it ASAP by a medical professional to make one change at a time so you can still to it. So first maybe the sugar in your coffee or the sugar on your cereal. When you’re happy with each change move to the next and work on that one. The long-term goal will come more easily that way and be easier to stick to.” Jen from
  8. “Learn to read labels and try to cook from scratch so you know exactly what you are ingesting! Oh and don’t replace with sweeteners because they are as bad if not worse than refined sugars for your body.” Beyond Healing
  9. “I got sugar-free jelly for my fridge and sugar-free cans of pop so when I was struggling I had those as a treat.”
  10. ”I went keto just over a year ago, so gave up carbs and sugar …. never felt better!! I’ve lost 5 stone and have taken up the gym and running.” Nicki Scollan.
  11. Having a sense of community and support is fundamental in achieving our goals. But interestingly, this alone can lower our cortisol and increase oxytocin hormones which reduces inflammation. I’d also argue lower the risk of binge or comfort eating when we have places to escape to and people to confide in.
  12. Fruit is fine but as with any food, the most natural form of it is the best. Many sugar-free authors say to cut this out initially and then slowly reintroduce it in small quantities. Rather than reach for dried fruit for example, try to opt for fresh fruit because not only does it satisfy your hunger but it contains fibre and vitamins. Cantaloupe melons are low in sugar as are berries and contain high vitamin A content. One cup has 13 grams of natural sugars whereas a can of pop can contain nearly 40 grams of sugar without rather nutritional value.

The real issue with sugar is it is one of the only molecules which we simply can’t moderate, explains former Cosmopolitan editor and author of the sugar-free book “I Quit Sugar” Sarah Wilson.

Our addictive attitude was fine in Paleo times to know where to hunt and gather food but now we have so much at our fingertips we consciously and often unconsciously consume far too much of it.

So rather than beat ourselves up by being unable to moderate, it may be worth trying to go sugar-free for a while or making swaps such as taking a power nap rather than reaching for the biscuits or eating some berries if you want a sugary boost.

But as an ‘all or nothing person I am on a sugar detox and will slowly reintroduce natural sugars, once I have managed to stop consuming artificial sweeteners which can also be stimulants and can give us too much of a taste for sugary treats. Not to mention they can actually be sweeter than sugar itself.

Perhaps sugar isn’t too bad after all. It’s all in how it’s packaged.

“Sugar-containing foods in their natural form, whole fruit, for example, tend to be highly nutritious—nutrient-dense, high in fiber, and low in glycemic load. On the other hand, refined, concentrated sugar consumed in large amounts rapidly increases blood glucose and insulin levels, increases triglycerides, inflammatory mediators, and oxygen radicals, and with them, the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic illnesses,” Dr. Ludwig explains in the Harvard Journal.

For me, it is about learning to listen to your own body so rest, mindfulness, and Yoga can really help relax us.

Having a nutrient-dense diet can also reduce are our risks of inflammation and lower the impact the odd ‘slip up,’ may have.

Read more from Sophie at

What does ‘sugar-free’ mean?

We’re talking mainly about added sugars…

“Sugar-free to me means a diet free of refined sugar – things like processed foods and white flours, rice and bread. Packet sugar too.” Said Davina McAll.

Did you know: 

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