Sugar is everywhere and you might be surprised that it’s not just in sweets and in those packets for your tea and coffee. It’s also in random stuff you would’ve have normally questioned; salad dressing, ketchup, tortillas, etc. So, there’s sugar in our food – that’s not a bad thing right? Can it really affect us all that much? Actually, yes. It’s bad and more than you realize. Here’s a list of reasons to get rid of that sweet stuff from your diet.
Not ALL sugar is dangerous. Sugar in its natural form is a necessary carbohydrate that helps our bodies function. You can find it in veggies, fruits, and dairy – this is called fructose or lactose. The kind that we need to avoid is the sugar that’s added to our food during processing.
So without further delay, here are the 12 reasons to cut sugar…
1. Shake Off That Depression
Our brains rely on a continuous supply of chemicals. When we put sugar (glucose) into our body, insulin opens cell doors allowing sugar into our cells. When our body experiences a constant stream of sugar from cold cereal to our after dinner deserts, the insulin becomes more immune and doesn’t function as effectively. This can lead to anxiety and depression.
2. Youthful, Clear Skin
In a process called glycation, sugar in the bloodstream attaches to proteins to form advanced glycation end products (AGEs – yes, that’s the acronym) AGEs damage elastin and collagen. These are the protein fibers the help skin stay firm and elastic. When these fibers are damaged your skin begins to wrinkle and sag. Unfortunately, that’s not all. With sugar your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes are “turned off” which opens your skin up to sun damage.
3. Be Energized
You know that “naptime” feeling that hits in the afternoon each day? That’s not biology, it’s most likely sugar. When we eat foods with added dietary sugars our orexin cell activity decreases. The orexin cells keep us active (ie. stoke the metabolism, prompt wakefulness, etc). When these cells are absent or turned off, we become sleepy and sluggish…NAPTIME!
4. No Sugar = Sweeter Breath
Sugar is an excellent food source for bacteria and when they feed on it in your mouth you get plaque buildup. What’s that plaque buildup do? I’m sure you know that if you don’t regularly brush and floss that it’ll turn into cavities but did you also know that the plaque causes bad breath? Think about it. We go without drinking, eating, cleaning our mouths the longest at night when we’re asleep. This gives the bacteria time to produce plaque and when we wake up? We’ve got that terrible morning breath. It’s starting to make sense, right?
5. Less Dentist Time
So, in connection to number 4, if you’re not eating a lot of sugar (or any) then that bacteria doesn’t have quick fuel to create all that plaque buildup. And if there’s not a lot of plaque buildup then we won’t be in danger of getting as many cavities (or worse, gum disease). And if we don’t have those issues with our gums and teeth then we don’t need anyone to fix those issues. All this comes down to less time in the dentist chair. That’s a win in my book.
6. The Doctor is Not In
So we got the dentist out of the way but what about the doctor? Yep, he’ll be needed far less than when you’re consuming sugar. Why? Too much sugar lowers your immune system. Phagocytosis can be inhibited with excess sugar. Phagocytosis is the process by which viruses and bacteria are destroyed by your protective white blood cells. The white blood cell’s ability to destroy bacteria is hampered when sugar is consumed. Cut that from your diet and your white blood cells can be back at work full time. Say good-bye to those awful paper-lined beds in those small doctor’s patient rooms.
Sugar does nothing in the way of brain power. In fact, in on study, rats fed sugar showed less brain activity and were overall slower than their non-sugar companions. A diet high in sugar can impair cognitive function and reduce proteins necessary for memory and responsiveness. Stay at the top of your class, stop eating sugars!
8. Lower Blood Pressure
We’re over halfway through our list and we haven’t talked about obesity. I’m a little shocked. Obesity is one of the worst consequences of excessive added sugar intake (it’s also one of the main consequences). Once you’re body hits the obese classification it also at major risk for high blood pressure. Unfortunately, there have been studies that a diet high in added sugars can raise blood pressure even without the person being “fat” or obese. Either way you look at it, added sugar is bad for your blood pressure. High blood pressure causes strain on your heart and circulatory system. Over time this can lead to heart attacks, stroke, artery disease, heart disease, and other serious circulatory conditions.
9. Easy Breathing
Bare with us on this one. While just eating sugar won’t necessarily cause you to wheeze there have been studies that show diets high in sugar are more likely to be present in those with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Troublesome, right? No. They’re the third leading cause of death in the US.
10. Cravings? Not So Much
Sugar and sweets are addictive. Eat a small bite and you’ll want more and more. When we consume sugar our bodies produce ghrelin (a hormone that sends signals to your body that it’s hungry). Once you stop your sugar consumption you’ll be feeling more full and less hungry. Eat unprocessed, whole foods and you’ll avoid that feeling of hunger.
11. Build Your Savings
Spend less time being sick, fewer medications, fewer hospital bills, and sweet snacks. All that money you’re saving can be thrown into a savings and retirement fund. Pay you back after compound interest has had its effect of it.
12. Earth Protector
To grow sugarcane takes a mountain of water and can be very destructive to the surrounding land where it grows. There have also been a number of issues with pollution and chemicals in the sugarcane industry. If we all recognize sugar for the useless danger to our bodies that it is, then we can stop eating it and reduce the amount of sugarcane that’s produced in the world.
This is by far not a full list of all the benefits of cutting sugar from our diets. From my personal experience I can tell you that I’m down 10lbs (in only a month’s time) just from severely limiting the amount of added sugar in my diet. I don’t experience the afternoon sleepiness and I just feel overall more healthy.
Still have reservations about cutting sugar? Why don’t you ask yourself why the Nutritional Facts on our food doesn’t show the % of daily value for Sugar? The industry doesn’t want us to know that we’re (as a US Nation) are consuming 200% more than the daily recommended amount… Chew on that.