If you go on a sugar free diet, the first thing you need to do is find out which foods are without sugar and okay to eat, which foods you should avoid and which foods you can eat in moderation. This useful sugar free food list shows you exactly which products are safe to consume during your diet or sugar detox.
A list of foods without sugar
We have listed all foods that don’t contain sugar and can be eaten when you go on a sugar free diet or try a sugar detox. Be sure to print out this list and put it on your kitchen wall or fridge. In general, never trust that a product is completely sugar free. It might surprise you to learn which products contain hidden sugars that you thought were zero sugar.
You can (and should!) eat all vegetables when you are on a sugar free diet. Many vegetables do contain marginal amounts of natural sugars, but they are also usually very high in fibre. Vegetables are the cornerstone of a healthy diet. Examples of vegetables are spinach, kale, pumpkin, squash, avocado, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini/courgette, eggplant/aubergine, cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts, radish, sweet potato, tomato, fennel. Be careful with normal potato. This should be eaten in moderation.
Meat, fish and seafood
All meat, fish and seafood is generally safe to eat when you are on a sugar free diet. They are very nutritious and important sources of protein, vitamin and minerals. If you are on a low carb diet or diabetic diet, these foods can also be a good choice, because they provide energy and calories without providing you with carbs. Make sure that you double check meat bought from the supermarket and cured or dried meats to see if they are really sugar free. Sometimes fresh meat from the supermarket is injected with water and sugar to maximize profits and improve taste. Fish might be sold in sauces or condiments with sugar. Examples of sugar free foods: chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork, salmon, mackerel, trout, clams, shrimps, crab, sardines.
Whole grains and flours
Whole grains are an important and healthy source of carbohydrates. Some people might want to limit their intake of whole grains. If you are diabetic or prediabetic, you might benefit from a low carb diet which doesn’t include grains at all. Also, leaving whole grains for a while might be a good way to lose weight. For all others, whole grains and flours are an important part of a sugar free diet. However, never just go by the name of a product without checking the label. Some whole grain bread, for example, contains only small amounts of whole grain flour, and it might also contain added sugars. Foods that you can eat on your sugar free diet: whole wheat flour, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, millet, whole grain spelt, whole grain barley, oats, teff, buckwheat.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are awesome low carb snacks that contain many vitamins and minerals and good fats. Their many health benefits make that nuts and seeds should really be part of any diet. They can be eaten as part of a sugar free cake, on your morning oatmeal or just as a snack to satisfy your appetite. Nuts and seeds you can eat on a sugar free diet: almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, peanuts, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, macademia.
Low GI fruits
Fruits contain many vitamins and should be part of every healthy diet. Fruits are also high in fructose. Some fruits are relatively low in fibre and high in sugar, which is why they should be eaten in moderation or avoided altogether. All other fruits with a lower glycemic index are part of a healthy, sugar free diet. Examples include raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, apples, kiwis, peaches, pears, plums and oranges. Be careful with fruit juice – it’s not the same as eating a real fruit.
Beans and legumes
Other healthy sources of carbohydrates, besides whole grains, include beans and legumes. These are generally also great sources of protein and many minerals and vitamins. You can also use beans and legumes in sugar free cakes, in veggie burgers or to substitute grains. Some examples include lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, adzuki beans, mung beans, black beans, broad beans.
Eggs, tofu and tempeh
Eggs, tofu and tempeh are great healthy, sources of protein. They are low in carbohydrates and have a low glycemic index. You might want to limit your intake of these foods for other reasons, for example in relation to concerns over your cholesterol or the consumption of soy. Eggs, tofu and tempeh also make an excellent breakfast.
Condiments, dressings, oils
It is safe to use oils and vinegars as a condiment for your salad or other dishes. Especially olive oil is a healthy source of fatty acids. Regular vinegar, red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar are also safe to consume. Be careful however with balsamic vinegar as this often contains added sugars.
All spices are generally safe to eat. So enjoy your cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, turmeric and curry spices.
When you are on a sugar free diet, you can put water, tea, black coffee, and unsweetened soy milk and nut milk on your sugar free food list. Watch out with real milk, oat milk and rice milk. Real milk contains lactose which is milk sugar. Oat milk and rice milk generally contain high amounts of natural sugars and low amounts of fiber which is a good reason to avoid them as much as you can.
If you are on a sugar free diet, you can enjoy sugar substitutes and sweeteners such as erythritol, xylitol and stevia. It is important to be careful with these products at first and test your own reaction to them as some people are sensitive to them. Especially xylitol is known to cause bowel issues for some.