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How to Keep Your No-Sugar Diet Interesting

Let’s be clear. You like sugar because it tastes good. Who doesn’t like sugar for that reason? When you consume sugar your taste buds go off like fireworks and shoot signals to your brain. Your brains says, “Heck yea! I love this stuff!” And your brain generates a feel-good chemical called dopamine.

You know the feeling. It’s the same one you get any time something good happens to you, you feel generally happy and inspired, or you see something good happen in the world around you. Sugar tastes good, and it feels good.

How do you keep things remotely interesting when your number one compadre is no longer in the picture? You need a new compadre! Or several.

If you’ve been overly dependent on sugar in your diet, then you’ve been sorely lacking in all the other elements that make food great! Consider for a few minutes that, if properly combined, the following elements can keep your no-sugar diet plenty interesting.

Salt, Fat, Acid, and Heat

Samin Nosrat, author of the book and star in the same-name Netflix docu-series, “Salt, Fat, Acid, and Heat,” reveals how—if you can master these four elements—you can master cooking. I’d argue that if you can seriously consider these elements when cooking and eating, then you can conquer sugar and keep things interesting.


Salt comes in many different forms, most prominently salt flakes or crystals or soy sauce. There are several other forms of salt in different forms of foods and spices, but these are the most common. You can use salt to enhance the flavor of any dish.

How much you use, what type, and when you use it all play a role in how the salt works with the flavor of a dish. Large versus small salt crystals require more to create the same effect. And if you add salt too soon to vegetables, your food could end up soggy.

These are all things to take into consideration when salting your food. The right addition of salt could have you going back for a second helping, no sugar needed


Fat transports the flavor of any dish from mediocre to va-va-voom! Fat comes in many different forms, and each form adds a unique angle to the flavor of the dish, which also depends on what you’re preparing with the fat.

For instance, olive oil on sweet potato makes the dish delectable. Fat adds texture, like crispiness or flakiness. Fat also makes a dish creamy or even tender and light. Whether it’s olive oil or coconut oil, add fat to pump up the flavor of any dish.


Anything that tastes sour is an acid, like lemon juice, lime juice or apple cider vinegar. Unless you’re on the unique end of the spectrum, not many people will like acid all on its own. Instead, you’ll use acid together with other foods. It adds contrast to the other foods in a dish.

Whether it’s salt, fat, or even bitterness, acid adds an opposing element. Taste of Home has a great primer on how to use acid to take a dish from bland to exciting.


What heat source you use when preparing food makes a difference in the quality of food you prepare.

When you cook something in the crockpot for several hours, you can expect a soft, tender, and juicy meal. Conversely, if you broil something or cook over an open flame, you can expect it to be finished quickly with char on the outside. The char adds flavor and texture. Likewise, a soft, juicy meal can be comforting and nourishing.

In addition, you may consider the amount of heat in your dish with regard to the spice level. Do you like kick to your food or maybe something more subtle? Spicy heat adds a different layer and element to your food that keeps it exciting and vibrant, especially if you’re also taking into consideration all of these other elements.

Food for Thought

When you’re on a no-sugar diet, chances are you’re the one at home preparing your meals. It’s nearly impossible, or at least extremely challenging, to eat out consistently and truly be sugar-free. So if you are doing the cooking at home, then consider these four elements when you prepare your food, and see how much more interesting your meals become. Well-played elements make simple foods exciting and delicious.

Related at Care2

Image via Getty Images

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