Sugar is one of the most consumed product in the world. It tastes delicious. But unfortunately, it’s deadly for your physical and mental health. Today we’ll discuss how to quit sugar & why you should do that.
Consuming sugar can reduce your long-term quality of life. Too much sugar is linked with conditions such as heart disease, cancer, depression, and anxiety.
American Heart Association recommends no more than 9.5 teaspoons of sugar per day. But average adults consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day. This is worse when it comes to children. The average child consumes 32 teaspoons of sugar per day in the USA.
It’s important to understand what happens when you eat sugar and what happens when you stop. When you read the rest of the article, you will realize that quitting sugar is worth it.
Here is how to quit sugar & what happens when you do so:
1. Your Aging Process Slows Down
We have proteins called collagen and elastin in our skin that help it to stay youthful. Sugar causes inflammation and reduces the effectiveness of both collagen and elastin. The collagen and elastin become rigid. As a result, it becomes easier for wrinkles to form and your skin begins to look dry and old.
You can’t look youthful your whole life. But you can slow down the aging process. Quitting sugar is one of the best ways to do it.
Leiden University researchers, in a study of 600 men and women aged between fifty and seventy, found that people with higher blood sugar level constantly looked older than people with lower blood sugar level. For every extra 180 grams of glucose per liter of blood their age, as estimated by others, rose by five months.
Researchers have also found that too much sugar aggravate acne. An overview of studies in 2013 found that foods high in glycemic index have a direct impact on the severity of acne.
2. You Lose Weight
Diets high in sugar contribute to weight gain and obesity. You can lose most of your belly fat in no time by only ditching sugar.
When you eat sugary food for an extended period of time, your body starts to get resistant to insulin. As a result, your metabolism slows down and your body starts to store extra fat. Reversing this process can be difficult.
Sugar also interferes with the hormone that tells your liver what to do with the glucose stored there. This leads to weight gain around your belly area.
One four-year study found that, when eating the same amount calorie, people on a low sugar and refined carb diet lost more weight than those eating a low-fat diet.
3. You Sleep Better
Insomnia is a huge problem in America. It affects one-third of Americans. Blood sugar issue is the second leading cause of insomnia.
If you eat sugary food before sleep, your blood sugar level rises which delays sleep. After a few hours, your blood sugar level starts to drop. As a result, your body releases hormones to regulate glucose levels. This may wake you up and make it difficult to go back to sleep.
In addition, some people are sensitive to sugar. Sensitivity reactions can cause problems such as excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset, bloating, and gas which can keep you up.
So avoiding sugary foods before bedtime will result in a much better sleep. If you need to eat any snack before sleep, try whole grain carbs.
4. Your Risk Of Illness Reduces
Under certain circumstances, small amounts of inflammation can be a good thing. But when it gets out of control, you face many kinds of problem. Chronic inflammation causes conditions such allergies, asthma, stroke, heart diseases, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer.
According to Arizona Center For Advanced Medicine, a diet rich in sugar and carbohydrates is one of the main culprits of inflammation. Sugar consumption triggers chemical reactions in the body that trigger inflammation.
So cut out added sugar. Eat more fruits and vegetables. You will reduce your risk of this illness.
5. You Feel Better
A British psychiatric researcher has conducted a provocative cross-cultural analysis of the relationship between diet and mental illness. His primary finding was a strong link between high sugar consumption and the risk of both depression and schizophrenia.
A 2004 study found that a higher national dietary intake of refined sugar and dairy products predicted a worse 2-year outcome of schizophrenia.
There is two potential mechanism through which sugar affects our mental health. Firstly, we have a growth hormone called BDNF in our brain. BDNF promotes the health and maintenance of neurons. Sugar suppresses the activity of BDNF. This can trigger depression. People suffering from depression and schizophrenia have critically low levels of BDNF in their brain.
Secondly, refined sugar triggers inflammation. Inflammation is linked to a greater risk of depression and schizophrenia among other things.
So cut out sugar. You will start to feel healthier and happier.
Names Of Sugar
Hidden sugar is everywhere. You can find sugar in almost every food product you buy from the store. In fact, it’s found in 75% of packaged foods found in the USA.
You don’t always see the word “sugar” on a food label. Sometimes it goes by other names like:
- Malt syrup
- Agave nectar
- Brown rice syrup
- Evaporated cane juice
- High-fructose corn syrup
Watch out for foods that have more than 4 grams of sugar or list any form of sugar in the first few ingredients.
10 Popular Foods With Hidden Sugar
1. Ketchup: One tablespoon of ketchup contains about 4 grams sugar. This is not much but it can give you a boost. Use regular yellow mustard. One tablespoon of yellow mustard contains less than 1 gram of sugar.
2. Dried Fruits: Companies compensate for the dull flavor of dried fruits with added sugar. One and a half ounce of raisins contains more than 25 grams of sugar. On the other hand, one cup of grapes contains only 15 grapes.
3. Energy Drinks: Most of these drinks contains tons of sugar. One research shows that Red Bull, Full Throttle Original, SoBe Adrenaline Rush, and Vault average roughly 11 teaspoons of sugar per 12oz.
4. Cereals: Many popular cereals have as much as 20 grams sugar per cup. So don’t forget to read the ingredients label.
5. Salad Dressings: Switch to light homemade vinegar and oil dressings. They have around 1 gram of sugar in a 2-tablespoon serving. Sweet dressings such as French and Catalina contains 5 to 7 grams of sugar in the same amounts.
6. Oatmeal: Many fruit flavored oatmeal have 10 to 15 grams of sugar per packet. If you are trying to cut back on sugar, add apple slices to plain oatmeal. It has less than 1 gram of sugar in a packet.
7. Yogurt: Yogurt is loaded with sugar. Even low-fat flavored yogurt can have as much as 33 grams of sugar per 8-ounce servings. So switch to greek yogurt. They don’t have extreme sugar dosings.
8. Pasta Sauce: Pasta sauce has 12 grams of sugar per half-cup serving. So don’t forget to look on the ingredient label for sugar.
9. Fruit Juices: Fruit juice that you buy contains more fructose than soda. So try to make your own at home.
10. Granola Bars: Granola bars contain 8 to 12 grams of sugar per serving. So try to stay away from them as much as possible.
How To Give Up Sugar
Make small, simple changes to your diet. This way, it’s easy to keep them up. Cut out a little bit of sugar each week. After one or two months, you will be surprised at how little you miss sugar. Also –
1. Eat More Fruits And Vegetables: Fruits are jam packed with sugar. But our body treats fruit differently from refined sugar. Fruits and vegetables also have vitamins, antioxidants, water, and fiber which candy and desserts don’t have.
2. Eat More Protein and Fiber: Eating more protein and fiber is an easy way to curb sugar cravings. Protein and fiber keep you fuller longer and doesn’t make your blood sugar spike. Choose whole grains and proteins like lean chicken, eggs, nuts or beans.
3. Exercise More: Exercise can help curb sugar cravings. It is essential to your defense against sugar metabolism. Start with kind of activity you like. It can be walking, biking or swimming. Then work towards cardio training 2-3 times a week and intensity strength training 2-3 times a week.
What About Artificial Alternatives
Experts say that they don’t help you break your taste for sweet. They may leave you craving for more sugar. Studies also suggest that sugar confuse our digestive system, which leads to weight gain.
Manufacturers also sometimes sell deadly alternatives such as aspartame, agave, and stevia as healthy. So try to stay away from artificial alternatives too.
Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, you are probably consuming sugar in another form. Starchy foods like bagels, chips, french fries are complex carbs that the body breaks down into simple sugars. They can make blood sugar surge and crash like sugar. Highly refined starches like white rice, white bread, white flour, pretzels, crackers, and pasta are worst. So give them up too.
Remember that the American Heart Association recommends that men have no more than about 9 teaspoons worth of sugar per day (150 calories) and women have no more than about 6 teaspoons’ worth (100 calories) per day.
You don’t have to give up on sugar completely. Just eat below the recommended amount.
What’s the biggest problem you face when you are trying to cut back on sugar?