Mom always told us that having too much sugar would spoil our dinner. But there are many other reasons to cut back on sugar. For example, there are so many other “sweet” options like fruit that have natural sugars, and we’re actually getting nutrients that way. Of course, everything is okay in moderation (cakes, pies, and cookies…you know, the good stuff), but overall, less sugar equals better health. Here are seven ways that lowering your sugar intake can do wonders for your body!
1. You’ll get more nutrients and reduce your intake of empty calories.
There are no proteins, essential fats, vitamins, or minerals in sugar – just pure energy. A diet that includes as little as 10 percent of calories as sugar can contribute to nutrient deficiencies. But when you start replacing those refined sugars with fruits, vegetables, and proteins, you’ll still feel energized. The best part: unlike with sugar (and the infamous sugar crash), these healthier foods will give you the good-for-you nutrients you need to keep going all day. You’ll also reduce the number of empty calories you would’ve consumed with sugary snacks and drinks.
2. You’ll be kinder to your liver.
Before sugar enters the bloodstream from the digestive tract, it is broken down into two simple sugars – glucose and fructose. If we don’t get glucose from the diet, our bodies produce it. Fructose, however, is different. Our bodies do not produce it in any significant amount and there is no real need for it. So the less fructose you consume, the better. Fructose is very common in our Western diet of processed foods, soda, and more, but you can avoid it by consuming smaller amounts of these foods or choosing a more natural diet. Eating less fructose will help you avoid overloading your liver, which would have turned that fructose into fat. Your liver will thank you!
3. You’ll reduce your risk of diabetes.
Insulin is a very important hormone in the body. It allows glucose to enter cells from the bloodstream and tells the cells to start burning glucose instead of fat. When people eat a lot of sugar, it can cause resistance to the hormone insulin. On the flip side, if you cut back on your sugar intake, you can avoid this resistance to insulin and reduce your risk of a diabetes diagnosis (which occurs when blood sugar levels skyrocket).
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells – and insulin is one of the key hormones in regulating this sort of growth. If you keep your insulin levels relatively stable with a low-sugar diet, you can reduce your risk of cancer. In addition, less sugar consumption means less inflammation, which is another potential cause of cancer.
As any candy-crazed kid can tell you, sugar is addictive. Like abusive drugs, sugar causes a release of dopamine in the reward center of the brain. If you have a susceptibility to addiction, you can make positive changes in your diet and lifestyle by avoiding sugar and other junk foods. Doing so will help you keep addictive tendencies at bay so you can focus on more important things.
6. You’ll reduce your risk of obesity.
Not surprisingly, people who consume the least amount of sugar are the least likely to become overweight or obese. If you need to lose weight, work with your doctor and Angels home health aide to significantly cut back on your sugar consumption with a healthy eating plan. A more natural diet, along with regular exercise, can help you lose that weight and keep it off.
The evidence is mounting that sugar, rather than fat, may be one of the leading drivers of heart disease. But there is good news: studies show that smaller amounts of fructose can lower triglycerides, LDL (the “bad” cholesterol), blood glucose and insulin levels, and the risk of abdominal obesity – all major risk factors for heart disease.
It’s not easy to cut back on sugar, especially because it’s so common in our Western diet. But we believe in you! By making small changes, you can make a big difference in your overall health.