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Neither caffeine nor sugar offer any nutritional value. Omitting sugar from your diet may help you save calories for weight loss, while eliminating caffeine may help you sleep better. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
Sugar and Health
Sugar is found naturally in foods such as fruit and milk, but it's also added to foods such as soda and cake for sweetness. When you're trying to improve your diet by eliminating sugar, you don't want to eliminate the natural sources. These foods provide vitamins, minerals and other health-promoting nutrients your body needs.
It's the foods that contain the added sugars you want to omit. Getting too much added sugar in your diet may increase your overall calorie intake without adding any benefits to your health and may lead to weight gain, compounding your health issues.
- Sugar is found naturally in foods such as fruit and milk, but it's also added to foods such as soda and cake for sweetness.
- When you're trying to improve your diet by eliminating sugar, you don't want to eliminate the natural sources.
Sources of Added Sugar
10 Surprising Health Hacks
Consider, too, that sugar is added to foods you wouldn't consider "sweets," such as ketchup and salad dressing.
Caffeine and Health
Like sugar, caffeine is naturally found in some foods and added to others. Its effects are the same no matter how you get it, however. As a stimulant, caffeine perks you up so you feel less tired. Some people who consume caffeine, however, experience ill effects, such as:
Natural sources of caffeine include tea, coffee and cocoa beans. It's also found in cola, chocolate products and energy drinks.
- Like sugar, caffeine is naturally found in some foods and added to others.
- As a stimulant, caffeine perks you up so you feel less tired.
Sample Sugar-Free, Caffeine-Free Meal Plan
Caffeine Free Soft Drinks
Breakfast on your sugar- and caffeine-free meal plan might include a bowl of oatmeal naturally sweetened with sliced strawberries and bananas with a cup of milk. At lunch you might enjoy mixed greens topped with grilled tuna or garbanzo beans, pecans, balsamic vinegar and oil served with a fresh orange and whole-grain crackers. For a midafternoon snack, try plain Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries. A healthy sugar- and caffeine-free dinner might include a stir-fry made with tofu or chicken, broccoli, carrots and snow peas sauteed in low-sodium soy sauce and sesame oil and served with brown rice.
- Breakfast on your sugar- and caffeine-free meal plan might include a bowl of oatmeal naturally sweetened with sliced strawberries and bananas with a cup of milk.
- A healthy sugar- and caffeine-free dinner might include a stir-fry made with tofu or chicken, broccoli, carrots and snow peas sauteed in low-sodium soy sauce and sesame oil and served with brown rice.
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Caffeine Free Soft Drinks
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- American Heart Association: Added Sugars
- MedlinePlus: Caffeine in the Diet
- Rippe JM, Angelopoulos TJ. Sucrose, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, and Fructose, Their Metabolism and Potential Health Effects: What Do We Really Know? Adv Nutr. 2013;4(2):236-245. doi:10.3945/an.112.002824
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. Cut Down on Added Sugars. 2016.
- Rampersaud GC, Kim H, Gao Z, House LA. Knowledge, perceptions, and behaviors of adults concerning nonalcoholic beverages suggest some lack of comprehension related to sugars. Nutr Res. 2014;34(2):134-142. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2013.11.004
- Tandel KR. Sugar substitutes: Health controversy over perceived benefits. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2011;2(4):236-243. doi:10.4103/0976-500X.85936
- Bray GA. Energy and Fructose From Beverages Sweetened With Sugar or High-Fructose Corn Syrup Pose a Health Risk for Some People. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(2):220-225. doi:10.3945/an.112.002816
- American Dental Association. American Dental Association Encouraged by Soda Makers’ Pledge to Promote Smaller Sizes, Less Sugar. 2014.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. 2015.
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.