Quitting sugar is a goal that can seem out of reach. It is understandable if you are not quite ready to give it up yet, but it is worth it to start reducing your daily consumption of sugary foods. This is because the negative effects of sugar consumption are not minor ones, they are major:
High sugar consumption can cause emotional distress, speed up aging, cause weight gain, disrupt sleep, increase the risk of illnesses, interfere with normal blood sugar levels, and cause brain dysfunction.
It’s also important to note that sugar is being widely considered as addictive.
If you start by reducing the total amount of sugar and simple carbs consumed daily, you will start to reap some major benefits.
When thinking about reducing your sugar consumption, it should be thought about as a lifestyle adjustment rather than a diet or cleanse. This is because it has the power to drastically improve your life. The below infographic includes many long-term positive benefits that come along with quitting sugar.
Sugar is a drug
A study by the Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Review states that the brain is similarly affected by sugar consumption as it is by drugs. It does this by disrupting the chemistry of the limbic system. This is the part of the brain linked to emotional control. According to the study, sugar is addictive to those who binge on it.
6 Benefits of Quitting Sugar
1. Emotional Well-Being
- There is a mental health link to high sugar consumption as it suppresses the growth hormone of BDNF. This hormone is very low in those diagnosed with depression and schizophrenia.
- Sugar and processed junk foods flood the brain with the feel-good chemical dopamine, over time this impacts and changes brain function. Those diagnosed with depression and anxiety have very low levels of this hormone.
- Sugar consumption amplifies chronic inflammation by activating certain chemical reactions in the brain. When left unchecked, inflammation is what can wreak havoc on the immune system.
2. Age Gracefully & Keep Slim
- Glycation is a process where the collagen in your skin is suppressed by sugar. This process makes people look and feel older than they are.
- Glycation causes inflammation which stops elastin and collagen from being as active.
- Without the proteins collagen and elastin, skin begins to look dry, dull and older.
- Glycation cannot be stopped but through quitting sugar, the process of glycation can slowed down. The best way to do this is through quitting sugar.
- Sugar contains no nutrients and does not fill us up. Instead it provides us with empty calories that leave us hungrier and with more cravings. This leads to weight gain.
- Too much sugar over time causes insulin resisitance which can be a precursor to diabetes.
- Insomnia can be triggered by blood sugar issues.
- Refined sugar and simple carbs can increase blood sugar levels causing difficulty with falling into a deep sleep.
- Avoid sugar especially at night because in the morning, your blood sugar level will be low leaving you feeling faint, tired and sick .
- Avoiding blood sugar dips and rises leads to better sleep.
4. Reduced Risk of Illness
- Chronic inflammation is a main cause of many illnesses.
- High sugar consumption can lead to cancer, allergies & asthma, heart diseases, autoimmune issues and other health problems.
- Even when there is no threat, the brain can sometimes misunderstand signals. This triggers an unwanted inflammatory response. This misleading signal is sent to your brain each time you consume sugar.
5. Be Energy Slump Free
- Energy slumps occur because of an addiction due to refined sugar.
- Cut out the soda, and sweet coffee and start incorporating healthy foods and leafy greens instead.
- Without blood sugar dips and spikes, you will be free from energy highs and lows leading to a much more productive and comfortable life.
6. Help with Brain Function
- Sugar can compromise cognitive abilities such as learning and memory.
- In an animal study by the University of California Los Angeles, six weeks of taking a fructose solution (like soda) caused rats to get lost and forget their way out of a maze, whereas rats that ate a nutritious diet including omega-3fatty acids, found their way out faster.
As you can see, sugar consumption has some serious negative effects. After realizing how much damage it can do to ones system, it's easy to wonder why we incorporate it in our lives at all.
A lot of why we keep consuming it is because we are addicted to it. The only way to see what it feels like to be off of sugar though, is to quit it.
If going cold turkey is too much for you right now, there are ways to eat treats with natural sugars in them as a starting point. It is worth researching recipes, grocery stores and restaurants to see how you can change your sugar habit and in turn your life.
Not only are there long-term negative effects from regular sugar consumption, but there are instant ones. Having sugar daily can be interfering with your productivity at work, time spent with friends and family. The energy slumps may be keeping you from getting into a healthy gym routine or positive diet change. If you think sugar is holding you back, it probably is.
There is no doubt that quitting or reducing your sugar consumption will lead to a much better quality of life.