Sugar-free diet: the pros and cons of 0 sugar menus!

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

Over the years, sugar-free diets have come and gone in different forms. Atkins, Paleo, and other ketogenic diets all promise effective weight loss with a simple plan, but few people talk about the other things you might suffer from reducing your carb intake. These nutrients are the body’s natural source of energy, so it stands to reason that eliminating them will have side effects, some good and some bad. So, what are the arguments, “for” and “against”, of each sugar-free diet?

Before reading on

I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.

The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.

What is a sugar-free diet?

By definition, diets without sugar are all diets that encourage low consumption of hydrocarbon compounds. Over the years, numerous health studies have shown that eating sugar-free has a positive effect on weight loss and health.

Right now, there are a variety of zero sugar diets. In general, they differ mainly in the degree of restriction of carbohydrate consumption. For example, some diets recommend cutting back on foods high in unhealthy sugars, such as sugary drinks, junk foods, pastries, bread, white rice, and pasta.

More restrictive sugar-free diets even recommend limiting the consumption of certain vegetables, fruits and legumes. Furthermore, in extreme cases, a very limited amount of vegetables and fruits is allowed in the diet.

According to experts, the amount of carbohydrates ingested is also a determining factor. According to dietary recommendations, carbohydrates should provide approximately 45% to 65% of a person’s total daily calorie intake. The most relaxed form of zero sugar menus often goes hand in hand with a content of 45% of calories ingested per day. For more strict menus, the daily calorie consumption can be up to 10%.

Besides carb restriction, another main difference between all sugar-free diets is calorie constraint. On one end of the spectrum, some menus have no rules regarding calorie intake. Those who follow this type of diet are allowed to consume as many calories as they want. And on the other end of the spectrum, a very limited amount of daily calories are allowed for those who want to eat sugar-free?

Some diets disapprove of bread, for example.

Who shouldn’t follow a sugar-free diet?

In the opinion of nutritionists, most healthy people can follow a relatively low-carb diet. Sugar-free diets are not suitable for people who:

  • suffer from liver and/or kidney disease,
  • have a family history of liver and/or kidney problems,
  • want to conceive in the near future,
  • are currently pregnant or breastfeeding,
  • have certain health conditions that predispose them to ketosis,
  • tend to have low blood glucose levels,
  • suffer from certain metabolic diseases,
  • suffer from severe high blood pressure,
  • are taking certain medications that affect blood sugar levels,

Even if you are healthy, it is best to consult a doctor and get checked before starting your sugar-free diet.

Stone sugar
Sugar-free diets have advantages…. and disadvantages!

What is the ketogenic diet?

Ketogenic diets are a special type of zero sugar diet. The goal of a ketogenic diet is to keep hydrate intake at a minimal level, so that the body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. In this state, stored fat is metabolized into ketones and used as a primary source of energy.


Ketogenic diets have been shown to be extremely beneficial in treating certain diseases and disorders such as epilepsy, bipolar disorder, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Many who follow this diet can quickly see the change in their physical appearance and weight loss. And aside from carbohydrates, individuals are allowed to consume a wide variety of foods, especially meat and fat.


Diet rules can be extremely unforgiving. For people who follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, it can be difficult to find sources of protein and fat that don’t come from animal sources. Even then, it remains unclear whether the plant protein and fat source can provide all daily nutrient requirements.

Also, the diet is not suitable for everyone. In the opinion of professionals, people who have a family or medical history of cardiovascular diseases, liver and/or kidney problems can do more harm to their body by following this consumption pattern. Additionally, women who want to conceive or are already pregnant may harm their babies by severely limiting their carbohydrate intake.

Before you can reap the benefits, you may have to deal with the initial side effects of reducing your carb intake. These may include fatigue, bad breath, mood changes, dehydration and headache.

Once your body adapts to your new way of eating, these side effects will gradually fade away.

The paleo diet: what does it consist of?

Following the Paleo diet means you’re adopting caveman eating methods to lose weight. As a result, no processed foods are allowed in the diet. These foods include butter, margarine, dairy products, sugar (including all sugar substitutes), cereals, salty foods, canned foods, and honey. Instead, the diet recommends lean proteins, non-starchy vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and plant-based oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, oil grapeseed and walnut oil.


This is a great eating plan for those who want healthier foods with less unhealthy fats and sodium. It’s also a great way to remove preservatives, chemicals and additives from your diet.


There is still doubt about the longevity of cavemen, as there is no scientific evidence behind this theory. At the same time, even though legumes are not processed foods, the Paleo diet suggests avoiding this food group because they were not accessible to Paleolithic humans and they would be difficult to digest.

Although there are less strict versions of the Paleo diet, limiting legumes can increase the risk of nutrient deficiency. Legumes contain, in fact, many nutrients that can compete with the protein sources of meat.

The paleo diet is not friendly to vegetarians and vegans. Besides legumes, soy milk, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and hummus, any type of food containing beans is excluded from the list of edible products. Even if you take plenty of vitamins and supplements to maintain your nutrient intake, you won’t get enough protein to nourish your body. Additionally, you may run into budgetary issues as these ingredients can be expensive.

Butter and the paleo diet
The use of butter is incompatible with the paleo diet

The Atkins diet

You’ve probably heard about this high-protein, low-fat, low-sugar diet over the past few years on different social media platforms. This diet to lose weight mainly consists of eliminating all carbohydrates and eating only meat. The program is divided into 4 stages:

  • phase 1 or induction phase: it lasts 2 weeks. The patient should limit their daily carbohydrate intake to less than 20 grams.
  • phase 2 or balancing phase: the patient gradually reintroduces non-starchy vegetables, fruits and nuts into their diet.
  • phase 3 or focus phase: Once the patient has achieved their weight loss goal, they increase their carbohydrate intake until they reach a point where they still see weight loss, but at a slower rate.
  • phase 4 or maintenance phase: the patient respects his limit by eating more balanced choices. This way he can eat carbohydrates without gaining weight.

What advantages?

People who follow the Atkins diet seem to see rapid results within the first two weeks. This is a great way for meat lovers to lose weight because they can eat a lot of meat and avoid vegetables and fruits for the first few weeks.

What are the disadvantages

Consuming large amounts of high-fat foods can be fatal for people with a medical and family history of cardiovascular disease, stroke or heart attack. Those who suffer from kidney and liver problems may also do themselves more harm than good by following this diet. For healthy people, eliminating fiber from your diet for the first two weeks can lead to digestion problems and painful constipation.

Atkins diet, for carnivores
The Atkins diet is particularly suitable for meat lovers

What are the main benefits of a sugar-free diet?

Weight loss is the most notable benefit of consuming low-carb fuels. But how does it work, exactly? And what are the other positive effects?

Better health profile

A big benefit of eating sugar-free is of course insulin management. Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar and influences the storage of macronutrients in the body. However, in excessive amounts, it also acts as an aging hormone. Insulin production is primarily stimulated by carbohydrates, and chronically high insulin levels result in:

  • high blood sugar
  • high levels of glycated hemoglobin
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol and triglycerides
  • a high risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer and coronary heart disease

Lower inflammation reduction

A high-carbohydrate diet can precipitate inflammation. Therefore, most clients with joint pain notice significant improvement when they embark on a sugar-free, carbohydrate-free diet. Their aches and pains disappear. Indeed, increased insulin levels are associated with greater production of C-reactive protein, or CRP. CRP is the main marker of inflammation in the body.

Improved advantageous muscle tissue/adipose tissue ratio

A sugar-free diet allows you to have more muscle and less fat. This is partly due to greater protein intake and, in addition, to improved insulin sensitivity. This is why it is recommended that beginners lose weight first to facilitate later muscle mass gains.


As mentioned above, weight loss is the main benefit and the most popular reason why people choose to eat sugar-free. Here’s a brief explanation of how it works. Carbohydrates are our body’s main source of energy. When we eat them, they are converted into glucose, which our body uses for fuel.

If your body has more glucose than it can use, the excess is stored as fat. However, if your glucose level is low, it will use fats instead. So, to summarize, the less carbs you eat, the more fat your body will use for energy, which will reduce weight.

Sugar-free diet and weight loss
One of the most sought-after benefits of a sugar-free diet is often weight loss.

Regulation of insulin and blood sugar

Carbohydrates are one of the main stimulants of insulin release. Therefore, by reducing your carbohydrate intake, you are also helping your body reduce insulin levels. Now, it’s important to note that reduced insulin levels can also be a downside if they’re too low, but low-carb diets generally don’t lower them that low. They just bring things down to a more reasonable level.

Insulin regulation is beneficial for several reasons. First, it helps a little more with weight loss. Insulin is the main hormone that retains fat in the body. Therefore, by reducing the level of carbohydrates, you also encourage your body to stop storing fat. Second, it also helps manage blood sugar levels. This can be particularly helpful for diabetics. In fact, some people have successfully reversed diabetes with a 0 sugar diet.

Reduced hunger and cravings

Many of us know what it feels like to suddenly crave a certain type of food. Whether it’s a bite of ice cream or a slice of pizza, both are bad news for our health. Zero sugar diets tend to eliminate these cravings because your body will have lower glucose levels.

What are the disadvantages of no-carb diets?

Although many people make carbs this horrible evil that should be avoided at all costs, carbs are our friends and there are actually several downsides to a 0 sugar diet.

Need to fundamentally change your lifestyle

Zero sugar nutrition requires you to make some adjustments to be successful. You will find that you will have to shop differently and spend more time preparing food. You will also have to relearn how to cook without certain ingredients. It will also be necessary to adjust some recipes so that they contain fewer carbohydrates. As a result, you will avoid eating bland and tasteless foods all the time.

Obligation to consciously eat more varied foods

The average person goes through life eating between 7 and 17 different foods, and that’s it. Some of the people who opt for this type of nutrition don’t know what to eat. This is why some people may suffer from different nutritional deficiencies. The average person thinks that carrots, celery and lettuce are the only vegetables. Adding new colors to your basket is a simple trick to ensure more complete nutrition. Purple, yellow, red, etc. are rarely found in most people’s shopping baskets.

By varying the colors of your food basket, you will improve your chances of getting enough vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Therefore, make sure to modify them regularly.

Need to go through an induction period

When you take away the body’s natural source of energy, it takes a little time to adjust. During the first week, many people experience flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea and more. For most people, these symptoms disappear by the end of the first week as the body learns to adapt to its new energy-burning state. However, this is not the case for everyone.

Reduced performance

When it comes to morning runs or workouts at the gym, your body typically relies on the glucose in carbohydrates to provide it with enough energy to endure. If glucose is in limited supply, then your body turns to fat for more energy.

Performance levels affect everyone differently. Some report no change in their physical abilities on a low-carb diet, but others experience fatigue and general sluggishness more quickly throughout the day. Supplements may be a good answer to the problem if you are in the latter group.

Morning jogging
Be careful, a sugar-free diet can penalize your physical performance

Cramps, constipation and bad breath

There are minor side effects that you may not be able to escape. Cramps, constipation, gas and bad breath are all examples of these minor effects as your body tries to get used to its new nutritional intake. For some people, these effects are limited or disappear over time, but others are not so lucky.

To discover the Yogurt diet, consult this article: