With Halloween on Wednesday and the extra candy floating around, I figured this would be a great topic to discuss!! If your neighborhood is anything like mine, you’ll definitely have leftover candy. Even the most disciplined are tempted to over-indulge!. Sugar, however, is a lot more prevalent in your cupboard than just the Halloween candy that you plan on handing out to the kids in your neighborhood.
Sugar is one of the main reasons why America struggles with SO many health issues! The CDC reports that the average American eats between 13 and 20 teaspoons of added sugar a day.
In its natural state, sugar is relatively harmless and even necessary! It’s a carbohydrate that our bodies need to function. It’s found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy as a compound known as fructose or lactose. The problem comes when sugar is added to foods during processing for added flavor, texture, or color. This is more common than you may realize—you don’t have to be in the candy aisle to be surrounded by added sugar.
7 Reasons to get rid of added sugar:
1) Sugar is terrible for your blood pressure and your cholesterol
Research has proven that added sugars (not the natural kind in fruits, veggies, & dairy) is a huge reason why people have high blood pressure. Eventually, this can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, kidney damage, artery disease, and other serious coronary conditions.
Research has also shown that people who have diets where at least 25% of the calories came from added sugar are twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who have diets where added sugars make up less than 10% of the food they eat.
2) Sugar is awful for your teeth
I think this is something we all grew up knowing, however it doesn’t hurt to bring it up again!! I have terrible genetics when it comes to my teeth, and when I cut out added sugars over 10 years ago (candy, soda, food where sugar is the 1st or 2nd ingredient, etc), I not only lost weight, but my tooth health got much better!
3) Sugar causes brain fog
Not only can sugar eat away at the enamel on your teeth, it can also eat away at your brain! Research shows that eating too much sugar can cause impair cognitive function and reduce proteins that are necessary for memory and responsiveness. If you cut out sugar, you’ll have better memory and more clear focus in general!!
4) It’s terrible for your skin
Sugar can make your skin wrinkly and dull. Cutting out sugar can help clear up acne and reverse signs of agin!
5) Sugar increases your risk for diabetes
Research shows that drinking one to two (or more) sugary drinks per day increases the chance of developing type 2 diabetes by 26%!! Type 2 diabetes is preventative and it CAN be reversed! Simply changing your diet and getting rid of added sugars can significantly improve your health and decrease your risk of developing this preventable disease.
6) Getting rid of sugar will help you decrease your chances of getting several other diseases
Research suggests that excessive added dietary sugar is correlated with higher levels of certain cancers, such as pancreatic cancer and fatty liver disease.
7) Getting rid of sugar will help you have more energy!!
Studies show that added dietary sugars can decrease the activity of orexin cells. These cells are basically the Energizer Bunnies of our bodies, and induce wakefulness, stoke the metabolism, and keep our system moving. When orexin cells are turned off or absent, we’re sleepy and sluggish, which explains why you want to nap after a carb- and sugar-laden lunch.
There are so many other reasons to get rid of sugar. You may be thinking “ok, I know I need to get rid of sugar, HOW exactly can I make that happen?!”
Here are some simple tips for getting rid of sugars:
- Cut back or eliminate sugar-filled drinks (WATER IS THE BEST BEVERAGE EVER!!)
- Avoid sugar-loaded desserts (make yummy substitutes, like fruit, greek yogurt, etc)
- Check your labels!! Sauces, peanut butter, canned foods, etc. have lots of unnecessary added sugar. Be more aware and make better choices!!
- Beware of “healthy” processed snack foods (granola bars, cereals, protein bars, dried fruit, trail mixes, etc). Unfortunately the food industry will misinform you by labeling products as “healthy” or “low-fat”, but they add a bunch of junk in the meantime for flavor.
When you cut out sugar, it may be difficult at first, but you’ll start to actually appreciate how delicious whole foods are!! YOU DON’T NEED PROCESSED SUGAR. I challenge you to go 1 month without processed or added sugars and you’ll be AMAZED at the results!!