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Sugar is everywhere! Sugar is so widely used and accepted that it surrounds us everywhere we go, making it impossible to avoid. The harmful effects of sugar so way beyond just empty calories. Sugar is arguably the worst ingredient for your health in the modern diet. I am hoping that the information that I'm about to pass to you will convince you to, severely limit if not completely remove sugar from your diet
Sugar Makes You Fat
Sugar will make you store fat and gain weight. All you are getting when you eat sugar is empty calories. This means that it has no nutritional value. Those empty calories are very quickly converted to fat and this fat really like to accumulate about the belly and mid section. You are also much more likely to over eat when your diet is high in sugar rich foods. Sugar actually puts stress on the pancreas. It forces it to produce elevated levels of insulin and can cause an unbalance in the hormones which regulate weight, stress, digestion, and metabolism.
Sugar Slows You Down
One of the best examples I have about how sugar can slow you down is that post lunch coma that makes you yawn and tired. This has to do with what you eat for lunch. What happens is your blood sugar levels spike with the sugar consumed during lunch and quickly fall causing you to become tired and in need of a nap. I'm sure you have heard of a "sugar crash". What happens is that your body will experience a rush of energy after consuming sugar that will give you "high". This high is short lived and then you will experience the other end of the spectrum. When you eat a healthy and well balanced diet you will experience the benefits of having a steady energy level all day long. You'll also find it much easier to focus!
Sugar Makes You Hungry... again and again
Previously I've talked about how sugar plays with out blood sugar levels to give us energy "highs" and crashes. When you eat sugar and your blood sugar rises you feel full. This full feeling is short lived and when the crash comes you are left feeling hungry again and craving more sugary foods, making us reach for that "quick fix" that also ends up being another high sugar snack because that is what we are craving.
Sugar Hurts Your Immune System
Your body is a set of many and many complicated chemical reactions. One chemical reaction that is not beneficial is what sugar does your your insulin levels. Sugar causes your pancreas to release insulin to combat and reduce the elevated blood sugar and deliver it to the cells. Insulin stops the release of human growth hormone ant this depresses the immune system. A weak immune system make it easier for you to get sick and cause you to stay sick longer.
Sugar and Tooth Decay
Sugar causes tooth decay....making going to the dentist a even more unpleasant experience than it already is. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth using sugar from foods and drinks to produce acids that dissolve and damage the teeth. This is one reason sugary drinks are bad for your health. They have high levels of sugar which greatly contributes to tooth decay. Now before you go reaching for the "diet" soda... both regular and ‘diet' soft drinks as well as sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices, and fruit drinks have high acid levels that can cause tooth erosion.
Related: How to Start a Sugar Free Diet
Sugar Hampers Brain Activity
One of the first benefits you'll notice after removing sugar from your diet is the mental clarity. Obviously when your blood sugar levels are steady you wont keep tired and it will become easier to focus. When you eat sugary foods your body goes to work trying to manage and get control over your blood sugar levels. Instead it should be focusing on converting fat into usable energy. This will lead to unpredictable mood swings, anxiety, stress, and a feeling of heaviness or bloating.
Sugar is Addictive
The scary thing about sugar is not that it's just bad for you but it is also highly addictive and you might even suffer from withdrawal side effects! When we eat sugar our brain releases a chemical called dopamine and we have a feeling of pleasure. Addictive drugs have the same reaction in the brain. You can easily become addicted to sugar without even realize that it is an addiction.
Sugar Can Make You Sick
Sugar hurts your body's immune system but it also makes you more likely to get really sick with common western diseases. Increased sugar consumption can lead to the following health problems:
- Heart Disease: Research on the subject showed that people who consumed 25% of their calories from sugar were found to have double the risk of developing heart disease.
- Obesity: A connection has been made between adults and children and sweetened beverages leading to weight gain.
- Higher Cholesterol: Sugar consumption increases the amount of LDL cholesterol and the ratio between LDL (Bad cholesterol) and HDL ("good") cholesterol.
- Cancer: Sugar consumption has been linked to an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer, esophageal cancer, and endometrial cancer
- Diabetes: New research has shown that sugar contributes to an increased risk of diabetes. An increase of one can of soda a day was associated with a 1.1% increase in the chances of developing diabetes.
How to Stop Eating Sugar
Cutting out sugar from your diet isn't as hard or as scary as it sounds. You don't have to quit cold turkey and there are programs out there that can help you cut out the sugar and break the addiction. The 21-day sugar detox is the best method I've found to help ease me off sugar, it can help you too!