How To Health Improves When You Quit Sugar
There’s no way to fudge the truth about quitting sugar it’s hard, especially in the beginning. The more you have it, the more you want, says research, so quitting cold turkey can have a huge impact on your mood, energy and cravings. On the upside, once you get through the initial withdrawal, you will be more even keeled, have the stamina of a champion and feel an aversion to the over-sweetened.
It may seem outrageously ascetic to cut out sugar, akin to declaring celibacy or renouncing texting. But if you are sugar curious, which much like the trending term sober curious a teetotaler movement that extolls the virtues of life-lived alcohol free it’s worth exploring the numerous benefits of quitting a mood-altering addiction.
Sugar creep is real. It’s the insidious invasion of sugar encroachment into foods where it has no place, such as salad dressing and frozen meals. Some health professionals and scientists classify sugar as an addictive substance: Research shows that sugar can be even more addicting than cocaine. Much like the subtitle of the book sober curious, giving up sugar can promise “The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side.”
There are even more benefits that await you when you get to the other side such as weight loss, clear skin and lasting energy.
Here are some motivating reasons to remove added sugars from your diet.
Prep yo’self you may have an adverse reaction to cutting out sugar while you go through an interim period of abstinence systems . Sugar is a comfort food, after all, and going off sugar forces you to find other sources of comfort. Blood sugar levels take some time to stabilize and our brains need time to reboot to its new normal.
But once you’ve passed the withdrawal phase, cravings will dissipate and you will feel much better. Studies show people who eat a lot of sugar are more prone to anxiety and irritability. When you cut out added sugar, you will be able to exit the blood sugar roller coaster.
You’re likely familiar with the boost we feel after consuming something sugary, but this newfound alertness doesn’t last for long. On average, our glucose levels will drop after around 20 minutes, leaving us feeling unfocused and easily distracted.
A 2013 study indicated that too much sugar can damage synaptic activity in the brain, which may impair communication between brain cells. Unhealthy amounts of sugar can interfere with insulin’s ability to regulate how cells use and store sugar for the energy required for processing thoughts and emotions. This can disrupt learning and cause memory loss.
Sugar can pack on the pounds, and the converse is also true: Give up sugar, and the pounds may melt away. Once you start eating more whole, unprocessed foods, you may be able to shed stubborn weight such as belly fat. Sugar tends to intensify cravings: It triggers the release of ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, making you more likely to over-eat and to opt for foods which don’t satiate you for a prolonged period of time.
When sugar’s high-drama impact stops messing with your hormones, cravings will be easier to control too.
The drastic highs and lows in blood-sugar levels that sugar triggers can make a good night’s sleep difficult to come by. Sugar causes the body to release cortisol, which can interrupt your natural sleep cycle. Moreover, a high sugar intake delays the release of melatonin in the brain, the hormone that helps regulate sleep.
Lack of sleep, in turn, can increase your need to eat more sugar for energy, continuing the cycle. Many studies link poor sleep to impaired blood glucose balance, felt as a sugar low, which drives the craving for a sugar high.
Sugar interferes with just about everything: weight, sleep, mood and mind. As a final straw, too much sugar can even aggravate many common skin issues, such as dryness and breakouts. Sugar binds to collagen, limiting its production, and thus sets up a molecular domino effect called glycation. Since collagen is what keeps skin plump and elastic, if less of it is in circulation, there’s an increased the risk of skin disorders and wrinkles. Basically, sugar can age your skin prematurely another good reason to limit your intake.
Make a commitment to break your sugar habit
Whatever your reason for reducing your sugar intake, making a mental commitment is an important first step. Tell yourself that you’re going to stop eating sugar and that this is the best health decision you can make. Keep that commitment in your mind when your diet starts.
Check the nutrition labels on all the food you buy
You might not realize how much added sugar is in the food you eat every day. Get into the habit of reading nutrition labels on all the products you buy to check the sugar content. Buy low-sugar foods that have less than 6 g of sugar per serving.
Limit your added sugar intake to 25-36g per day
This range is the official World Health Organization recommendation for added sugars, meaning sugars that manufacturers use during the production process. Women should limit their intake to 25 g and men should limit theirs to 36 g. Plan your meals around these limits so you don’t eat too much sugar.
Continue eating naturally-occurring sugar
Daily sugar limits only refer to added sugars, not natural ones. This is because many foods that are very healthy, like fruit and vegetables, actually contain sugars. Naturally-occurring sugars, however, don’t cause the same harm that added sugars do. This is why health recommendations only tell you to limit added sugars, not natural ones.
Learn all the names for sugar so you can spot it on nutrition labels
While nutrition labels should tell you all the added sugars of foods, you should also learn to recognize the names that sugar goes by. This way, you can tell if a product has added sugars even if the amounts aren’t listed.
Add your own sweeteners instead of buying sweetened products
Manufacturers often pack their products with added sugars to improve the flavor. A good strategy is buying as many unsweetened products as you can and adding your own sugar. This way, you can control the amount that you add, and you’ll probably need a lot less than the manufacturers would have added.
Avoid dessert items as much as you can
Desserts are probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of high-sugar foods, and for good reason. These products are packed with sugar, so get as few as possible to stick with your low-sugar diet.
Stop drinking sodas and other sugary drinks
If you regularly drink soda, you may actually be drinking more sugar than you eat. Some sodas have double the daily limit of added sugars in just one serving. Drinks like these have no nutritional value, so try to cut them out entirely. Replace them with water or seltzer, and add some chopped fruit for flavor if you want.
Replace white bread and flour with whole wheat products
White bread products are enriched with simple carbohydrates. These products have a high glycemic index, meaning they make your blood sugar spike, so avoid them as much as you can. Replace these products with whole wheat or grain varieties instead.
Find low-sugar breakfast cereals
Breakfast cereals are a hidden source of sugar in many people’s diets. Depending on the type, some cereals have over 15 g of added sugars, along with enriched flours. This could add a lot of sugar to your diet, so use caution when you get cereal. Read all the labels and get cereals with low sugar.
Cut the amount of sugar you add to things in half
If you don’t want to stop using sugar cold-turkey, a good strategy is making an immediate reduction in the amount that you use. If you regularly add sugar to your coffee, food, or baked goods, cut the amount that you use in half.
Replace sugar with other spices and flavorings
When you swear-off sugar, treat it as an opportunity to explore other flavors. You might not know what you were missing while you were adding sugar to everything! Try some sugar substitutes to introduce new flavors to your food.
Use fruit as a sugar replacement
Fruit is naturally-sweet and can sweeten your food and drinks without any added sugar. Chop up some of your favorite fruits and add them to your oatmeal, drinks, pancakes, and baked items to get a sweet flavor without sugar.
Bake your own desserts with non-sugar alternatives
By baking your own desserts, you can control the amount of sugar you in them. You could even replace sugar altogether with different ingredients. This is a great way to continue enjoying desserts without overdoing it with sugar.
Stop buying sugary foods altogether
If sugary foods are in your home, then you’ll probably be tempted to eat them. It’s best to get rid of all the desserts and sugary foods you own and stop buying more altogether. With that temptation removed, you can handle your cravings without giving in.
Add protein to every meal
Protein keeps your blood sugar stabilized, which can prevent cravings as you wean yourself off sugar. It also helps keep you full, so you’ll have fewer hunger cravings as well. Include a source of protein in every meal to keep your body nourished and free from sugar cravings.