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, I’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 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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Energy Drain
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.
5. 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.
6. Brain Functioning
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.
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.
So, tell me, are you ready? Or do you have more questions? Let me know in the comments. I’m happy to help.