Sugar is a type of simple carbohydrate that naturally occurs in many of the foods we eat, such as fruits, vegetables, and milk. Sugar is also manufactured into different foods and beverages, which makes it hard to avoid, and that’s where the problem really is! The overconsumption of added sugar can be detrimental to our health, causing obesity, diabetes, and inflammation throughout the body.
Giving up sugar may not be as easy as it sounds, but it can definitely be done, and it’s extremely rewarding! Once we explain to you what happens to your body when you give up sugar, you’ll be astonished with the results, and you’ll instantly start to pay more attention to those “added sugar” amounts on every food label around you. Let’s take a look at different things that happen when you surrender sugar.
1. Decreased Risk of Obesity
Most of us are aware by now of the growing obesity epidemic in the United States. Data shows that on average, we consume more than 300% the recommended amount for daily added sugar intake. Crazy, right?
Obesity is a multifactorial disease, meaning it occurs as a result of different things, such as genetics, hormone imbalance, metabolism, lifestyle behaviors, and diet. Added sugar not only correlates with the diet aspect of obesity, but it can also wreak havoc on our hormone levels and metabolism, leading to uncontrolled weight gain.
While obesity is a complex problem, giving up sugar is a good place to start if your goal is to either protect yourself from uncontrolled weight gain or to shed some pounds. Consider the following tips to manage your sugar cravings:
- Reach for a fruit instead of a sweet treat- fruits are naturally sweet and packed with different nutrients! Pure Plates offers fruit in many of our meals!
- Avoid sweetened beverages, like soda as they contain the most added sugar
- Eat regularly throughout the day to avoid mid-day cravings
- Read nutrition labels, specifically focusing on the “added sugar” content. Pure Plates takes the burden off of you by limiting added sugar in our foods.
2. You’ll Focus better
When our brain is exposed to an excessive amount of sugar, it can start to show addictive-like behavior that leads to the overconsumption and excessive cravings of sweetened foods and beverages. Elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream can be extremely harmful to the brain, resulting in decreased cognitive function and brain fog.
The good news is that this can be reversed! Once you give up sugar, your brain will slowly unlearn this addictive cycle of sugar dependency and you will regain mental clarity and focus.
Pure Plates offers many healthy food options, including foods low in added sugars to protect and maintain your health! We recommend checking out our delicious Cherry Cacao Bars if you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up snack low in sugar. These bars contain only 4g of sugar!
3. Your Gut will Thank You
Did you know that our gut consists of trillions of bacteria that depend on our food intake to survive and multiply? This goes for both beneficial and harmful bacteria.
The harmful bacteria in our gut LOVES sugar- it’s like their happiest day ever when we consume it. They like to feed on it, and when they do, eventually they multiply enough times that they outnumber the beneficial bacteria, leading to a condition known as “dysbiosis,” or gut imbalance.
Gut imbalance is characterized by a number of conditions or symptoms that cause us discomfort, such as bloating, excessive gas, diarrhea, and/or abdominal pain. Luckily, this can easily be prevented when you give up sugar!
Some food options to heal the gut are:
- Yogurt- Check out Pure Plate’s delicious Greek yogurt and berries
4. Your Skin will Start to Glow
For many years, the concept relating diet to skin conditions, like acne and eczema, has been overlooked and even disregarded. In recent years, more research has emerged linking the two! It’s becoming increasingly apparent that what we consume has a direct impact on the quality of our skin.
When we consume high amounts of sugar, a process known as “glycation” will start to take place. Glycation is a natural process that occurs when our body’s glucose level exceeds what our insulin can handle, leading to cross-linkages between sugar and collagen/elastin- the two building blocks of our skin. This causes collagen/elastin to become weaker, which is obviously bad news for our skin. Giving up sugar will prevent this reaction from occurring, leading to healthier, more glowing skin!
Hidden sources of sugar to keep in mind
- Salad Dressing
- Low-fat snack packs, like yogurt
- Energy bars
- Breakfast cereals
The Bottom Line…
A diet high in added sugar affects our bodies in different ways that are harmful to us. It’s important to note that the consumption of sugar naturally found in fruits and vegetables is not the same as the added sugar. Fruits and vegetables have not been stripped of their vitamins and minerals, while processed foods have little to no nutritional value, otherwise known as “empty calories.”
Now that we’ve mentioned some of the extraordinary benefits of giving up sugar in the body, we hope that you can start to act on it! Keep in mind the hidden sources of sugar that may not be obvious that are contributing to your sugar intake. You got this!