Sugar is the stuff that makes life sweet. But as most of us bemoan the fact that epicurean delights are often have what we should not ingest, we need to know why sugar is one such culprit.
Natural sugar occurring in fruits and some vegetables is not the kind you find on a nutritionist’s hit list. What’s on target is added sugar. Added sugar is considered excessive sugar, the real problem underlying a lot of expensive health issues.
The pervasive presence of sugar in our diets today has unwittingly led most of us down the road of sugar addiction. Particularly damaging is the inclusion of fructose or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is ubiquitous in sodas and processed foods. Fructose is particularly damaging as the body cannot metabolise this substance. According to an American endocrinologist and fructose-defamer, Dr. Robert Lustig,
“There is not one biochemical reaction in your body, not one, that requires dietary fructose, not one that requires sugar. Dietary sugar is completely irrelevant to live. People say, oh, you need sugar to live. Garbage.”
HFCS is considered toxic and is present in many foods we think (or are made to believe) are healthy but are actually otherwise. In Australia, processed food is sweetened with sucrose which consists of one molecule of glucose and one of fructose. A July 2013 Huffington Post article by Ferris Jabr states, “Regardless of where the sugar we eat comes from, our cells are interested in dealing with fructose and glucose, not the bulkier sucrose. Enzymes in the intestine split sucrose into fructose and glucose within seconds, so as far as the human body is concerned sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup are equivalent.”
To truly be on a healthy diet, we need to stop consuming added sugar. Is it worth the lifestyle effort of foregoing your weekend slice of heavenly pie forever…or at least on special non-celebratory days? Let’s see what happens when one drastically cuts excess sugar from the diet.
Since sugar can be likened to a drug as per the addiction we have with it, expect annoying withdrawal symptoms such as crankiness, irritability, and headaches as part and parcel of detoxing from a sweet tooth. Your body may mount its protests for a few weeks but after such time, it will adjust blithely to its low sugar allotment. When this happens, you will feel…
Your inner batteries will be optimally charged enough for you to ditch that mid-day lethargy for good. You will feel lighter, younger, and able to go through the day like that Energizer Bunny.
While it is true that sugar raises one’s energy levels, the effect of the “sugar rush” is temporary. Chronic occurrences of these rushes ultimately create metabolic problems in the long run.
Apart from the newfound energy, you will find that your skin will thank you for it. Sugar is inflammatory; hence, your mid-life zits. Eating too much sugar for years can also leave your skin vulnerable to wrinkles, sagging, and dullness. Sugar in the bloodstream attaches to proteins to form the process of glycation. Glycation contributes to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep skin firm and supple. This also increases your body’s vulnerability to sun damage caused by diminishing the body’s antioxidant power.
Cut out sugar and expect to have clearer, smoother, and younger-looking skin. The temporary hell of a sugar detox is worth the youthful look, don’t you think?
Your brain will benefit tremendously from a sugar cut, too. Various researches on sugar and brain power have revealed the damaging effects high sugar diets have on the brain. Over time, excess sugar can wreak havoc or neuronal communication leading to cognitive decline. It diminishes the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a brain chemical that helps the mind form and retain memories. Low BDNF has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Because sugar slows down communication among brain cells, a UCLA study discovered that aside from memory, the learning function is affected as well.
Drastically cutting down your sugar intake to healthy levels can keep your brain functions and reflexes as sharp they should be.
A Healthier Ticker
In just a few weeks, your risk for cardiovascular disease will significantly decrease, bad cholesterol will drop by 10%, and 20-30% of triglycerides will melt away. Blood pressure will tend to stay at more normal levels. In the absence of excess or high sugar intake, pressure on the sympathetic system to deal with rising insulin decreases, spelling improved and healthier cardiovascular performance.
A Healthier Liver and Metabolic System
Research has revealed that the chronic ingestion of 150 calories of excess sugar is 11 times more likely to drag one down with Type 2 diabetes. Added sugar may form fatty deposits around the liver which promote insulin resistance and therefore greater pancreatic pressure to regulate insulin.
Lighter with Weight Loss
Cut down on sugar and see that scale drop. The high empty calories sugar touts with it turns into belly fat. Stop stocking the fridge with sodas, pastries, and packaged juices, and see how admirably you can lose your muffin top in less time than you thought.
More Emotionally Stable
Chronic consumption of excess sugar may make one susceptible to mood swings, anxiety, and depression. The brain depends on the balancing of glucose and insulin for its proper function. Chronic sugar spikes and increased insulin responses to those spikes soon wear out insulin’s effectivity to regulate glucose. The long-term effects of excess sugar intake could translate to the doldrums and panic attacks. This is why a study of adults who drank more than four servings of soda daily had 30% more chances of developing depression than those who simply imbibed water or unsweetened coffee or tea.
Although a sugar detox may seem to add to the intensity of mood swings, just hang in there. It is going to get better. Getting rid of your addiction to sugar will give you more reasons to smile, as your increased energy levels help you get that on-top-of-the-world feeling.
Now, won’t you agree…isn’t ditching the sugar addiction the sweetest thing there is?