My love for sugar (processed) dates back to when my Irish grandmother visited from Ireland – 2 suitcases in hand – one filled with chocolates, gummy candies, cookies (crackers) hard candies…you name it! A sweet tooth (teeth) was born in my mouth at a very young age!!!
I love the taste of these sweets– perhaps it’s my comfort food that reminds me of her and our home with my mom, sisters, dad and toto (our dog). Over the years, sugar and me grew our relationship and many times broke up! However, somehow – that sweet sugar creeps back in my life – more recently as my favorite pink salted dark chocolate and mixed nuts with dark chocolate.
I know from my own experience and coaching numerous women that depriving myself from this tasty sweet treat doesn’t work. If I cut out my favorite sugary snacks, then almost as an unconscious zombie I find myself binging on all things sweet.
But, how do I control this desire that in moderation is totally OK. It’s the overdoing it – that does me in!
To remind myself of why I want to control this habit; overdoing eating dark chocolate, mixed nuts… I did a little research on WHY we don’t want to over-indulge. This, my friends, comes just in time for Halloween!
7 Benefits of Cutting DOWN in sugar (if you want – you can cut it out entirely)
1) When we eat less processed sugar, we reduce the risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes:
Why? Eating too much sugar sends your pancreas on overload in releasing the hormone, insulin. After we eat processed sugar, it enters into our bloodstream – insulin is released from the pancreas to allow the sugar into our cells. Too much sugar intake – means too much insulin production to the point where we develop insulin resistance; when your cells gradually stop responding to insulin, and sugar builds up in the bloodstream. Eventually, insulin resistance can lead to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Who wants that?
2) Aids in weight management:
Studies show that diets high in added sugar are associated with obesity and being overweight.
Specifically – when we consume too much added sugar, we increase our chances for belly fat – also known as visceral fat –fat that wraps around your abdominal organs. This can link us to diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. When you reach middle age – this becomes more challenging and important to decrease our sugar intake because belly fat due to cortisol and other factors becomes very challenging to manage. Add that extra sugar in your diet and your belly fat grows even more. No thanks.
3) Improves oral health:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) when we reduce our added sugar intake in our diet to less than 10% in our total calories each, we can reduce the risks of developing cavities. And, who wants any cavities – no thank you!
4) Reduces your risk of liver disease:
It’s your liver’s job to break down fructose, a type of added sugar. However, excess fructose – particularly from sweetened beverages and snacks that get into the liver, turns to fat. If too much fat is stored in the liver, you can develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We need our livers for SO much – so keeping the liver healthy is VERY important.
5) Helps Heart Health
If we eat more than 20% of total calories from added sugars we increase our risks for heart disease. Large amounts of processed sugar comes with high levels of triglycerides – which boost the chance for heart disease. Even if we are at our optimal weight, reducing sugar intake helps keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides at healthy levels. Yes please, I want a healthy heart!
6) May reduce acne and improve skin health
Too much sugar means your body releases more insulin and insulin-like hormones, which can trigger skin related changes. And, your body with a sugar overload might produce more androgen hormones (like testosterone) and more sebum (oily substance) – both of which can cause or exacerbate acne.
Also, too much sugar might speed up your skin’s aging process! Who wants that? By the time we reach early adulthood, the collagen and elastic proteins in our skin naturally age –causing creases, sagging and wrinkles.
Sugar – along with fried foods might contain more substances that react with the collagen and elastic fibers in our skin. More sugar – means our skin can become stiffer and lose elasticity more quickly. Eating less sugar won’t reverse wrinkles, etc. but it can slow the aging process. That along with clean and healthy skincare keeps us looking fresh, younger and enhances our beauty!
7) May lower risks of depression
Research shows that what we eat may affect how our brain functions, thus impacting our mood. Studies show that eating the Mediterranean diet (fish, whole grains, fresh fruit, nuts, and vegetables is related to lowering the risk of depressive symptoms. And, this diet contains – you got it – less to no added sugar.
I know personally – as someone who lives with anxiety and depression – that food 100% affects my mood. While sugary treats may give a short term boost – overtime they make me feel worse. When we eat processed sugar, our brain releases the “happy juices” – endorphins and dopamine – hormones that make us feel good in the moment. Overtime, this can impact mood. It can also stimulate our nervous system too much and make it work in overdrive – giving us jitters and a boost in energy – only to crash feeling more drained than we did before we ate the sugary treats.
In addition, as we know, eating sugary foods can add weight and fat to our body – making us feel bad physically and mentally.
A Quick Review
It’s clear that there are numerous benefits for us to reduce sugar. But, doing this is easier said than done. We need to form habits that replace old destructive habits that lead us to eat and overeat cookies, chocolates, brownies, etc.
Best way to do this is to work with a health coach experienced in habit formation. With life being the sum of habits – working with your coach, you’ll build strong habits to transform your life from tired, stressed and feeling unhealthy to energized, calm and empowered. You’ll learn real and effective techniques like “surf the urge”, “crowding out” and “temptation bundling to name a few” that’ll help you kick that sugar habit – once and for all!
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more tips on how you can put only good and healthy food IN your body AND, safe and clean products IN your body too!