By: Jessica Mattern
Reasons to Cut Sugar from your Diet
We have talked about ways to beat sugar cravings, and signs your body is addicted to sugar, along with some fun recipes included in those posts. If you missed them, go back and check them out!
Added sugar has become one of the most widely discussed health and wellness topics these days, and for the right reason. The growing number of studies concerning the adverse effects of sugar consumption on your health has proven it to be a prime candidate for the title of public enemy No.1. In this post, we'll share with you several great reasons to cut sugar from your diet.
Back in the day, refined sugar was only added to a few sweet food items. But food manufacturers have been increasingly adding it to just about everything. So, don’t be alarmed if I tell you that your spaghetti sauce, ketchup, or crackers contain sugar. You’ll be amazed to know how many of your favorite foods and drinks have sugar lurking in them.
Because added sugar is in so much of what we consume and because of all the health risks, it’s crucial you know about the dangers of overconsuming added sugar. Let’s start with one of the more common reasons.
Poor Nutritional Value
One teaspoon of sugar carries 16 calories, and a single can of soda contains around 10 teaspoons of sugar. These calories have no nutritional value, and you gain no health benefits from them. In fact, that added sugar strips your body of its essential minerals, like potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium.
Compare that to fruits that have natural sugars, even the ones with high fructose. They are rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and fiber that your body needs to function. Fruits are fine for those who have healthy immune systems. If the immune system is compromised in any way, fruit sugar will be an issue as well.
But…white sugar is pointless. Zero nutritional value whatsoever.
Hindrance to Weight Loss
If you’re striving to lose weight, be mindful of foods with high sugar content and a high glycemic level. They cause your body to produce an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase. This enzyme promotes the storage of fat cells in the body.
Also, foods with a high glycemic index lack fiber that fills you up and helps prevent binge eating. As a result, you just keep eating and end up increasing your risk of obesity.
Choose whole foods, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables low on the the glycemic index.
Premature Signs of Aging
Excessive sugar consumption has been linked to premature signs of aging, such as wrinkles, discoloration, dullness, and even blemishes. In simple terms, sugar attaches to proteins and lipids in your bloodstream in a process called glycation. Glycation creates harmful compounds, advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which can build up in your body.
The excessive presence of AGEs targets and damages collagen and elastin in your skin. Collagen and elastin are responsible for keeping your skin firm, smooth, and youthful. But when they become damaged, your skin’s natural defense system against free radicals is weakened, leaving it more vulnerable to signs of aging.
Keep your skin healthy and young from the inside out by consuming less sugar.
One of the most petrifying side effects of consuming excess sugar is a decline in higher brain functions, such as memory and receptiveness. A study conducted by UCLA suggested that a high-fructose diet can have a negative impact on your learning and memory.
High levels of blood sugar cause insulin resistance, which delays communication between brain cells and leads to slower brain activity. If you’re having memory troubles like forgetting where you put your car keys or if you left your straightening iron plugged in, reconsider your diet.
Sugar consumption = brain fog!
High Cholesterol Level
Foods with a high glycemic index are known to lower the level of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) in your body and HDL is responsible for removing LDL (bad cholesterol) from the arteries.
High glycemic index foods also increase the level of triglycerides, or blood fats, in the body. Increased levels of LDL and triglycerides clog arteries and blood vessels and pose a higher risk for coronary diseases.
It’s not the fats we should fear…it’s the sugar!
Ever wonder why you feel sleepy and tired in the morning, even after having a good eight hours of sleep? Well, the reason might be your breakfast cereals with high sugar content. Sugar has been shown to decrease the activity of orexin cells which are responsible for keeping us alert, energized, and moving. Reduced activity of these cells leads to sluggishness and inactivity.
Additionally, foods with added sugar are generally low in fiber. This combination of high sugar with little fiber can cause a sudden spike in energy followed by a crash.
Eating sugar wrecks the metabolism and causes hormones to go off-balance by feeding immune system issues. Eating sugar starts a domino effect of ill-health than leads to feeling awful!
Sugar Feeds Bugs
Microorganisms including parasites, fungus, and bacteria feed on sugar. Eating sugar feeds the bugs! Without sugar, the bugs will not be able reproduce and the terrain of the body will become unfriendly to them.
We are one part us and nine parts microorganism. When the nine parts microorganism tries to take over the one part that is us, that’s a problem. We will cover all of this in another post, but don’t feed the bugs!
There are plenty more reasons to cut sugar from your diet. Now that you know more about the negative effects of sugar overconsumption, are you convinced?
Let’s face it, it may seem hard to cut down your sugar intake at first because who doesn’t love a delectable dessert after dinner. But as soon as you start seeing and feeling the benefits of giving up sugar on your mental and physical health, you wouldn’t want to go back to your old lifestyle.
You can do it. Focus on the positive effects of your low glycemic diet to stay committed and indulge yourself with a sweet treat once in a while!
Check out our Facebook page to find over 1,000 low carb/Keto recipes. From breakfast to dessert and everything in between!
About Dr. Hill
Dr. Lester (Ted) Hill is a licensed Osteopathic physician, an advanced clinical Nutrition Response Testing® practitioner, and the founder of East Liverpool Family Practice.