If you're searching for the mindset or perhaps the willpower to curb your sugar intake, you may be convinced by the many benefits of eating sugar-free. Aside from the effect it has on your waistline, high sugar intake and obesity have been linked to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Learn how sugar-free eating can benefit you both mentally and physically.
Lower Your Risk of Illness and Disease
Sugar robs nutrients from the body needed for its metabolism, so nutrient deficiencies such as osteoporosis, anemia, and immune deficiencies are all influenced by sugar consumption. The immune system itself is affected by sugar as it inhibits the release of growth hormones when it raises insulin levels. It also utilizes its white blood cells to clean up waste products left behind by sugar instead of having them fighting bacteria and disease, as is their main role. Sugar–and its ability to cause inflammation–is involved in conditions such as dermatitis, hyperactivity, indigestion, and depression. Sugar can play havoc with the digestive system, weakening it, and not allowing nutrients to be assimilated properly. Sugar ferments and interferes with digestive health, often causing gas and bloating.
Control Hunger and Cravings
In order to metabolize sugar, our body uses nutrients such as Vitamin B, chromium, and potassium. By repeatedly eating sugar, we deplete our nutrient stores. These nutrient stores are needed to help the body deal with inflammation. Therefore, sugar itself is a food that takes more from the body than it adds. While using up nutrients, it contributes none that are of use. Many foods containing sugar are void of other important macro and micronutrients and necessary components. Water, protein, and healthful fat are needed by the body for it to function properly. As a result, hunger develops. Your body seeks the nutrients it is lacking and often a binge ensues. In some cases, a sugar addiction develops. Eating a bite of sugar creates the desire for more. Balancing your eating helps to balance your blood sugar and eliminate cravings. This includes eating the right portions at the right times and eating whole, unrefined foods that will be efficiently converted into energy and not stored as fat.
Improve Your Energy and Feel Less Sluggish
Excess sugar slows you down. Once you eat it, it raises your blood sugar levels. Your body releases insulin and tryptophan is triggered. The tryptophan is converted into serotonin, leaving you ready for a nap. When you're eating whole, unrefined ingredients that are naturally sugar-free you are loading up on antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, water and proteins that fuel your brain and your body, helping you to bounce through your day, rather than lug yourself from one sugar fix to the next.
Enhance Mental Clarity
Research indicates that sugar can contribute to memory loss and an inability to concentrate. It has been shown to contribute to nervousness and negative thoughts. Research also suggests that inflammation created by sugar intake is the cause of disturbances in the brain's chemistry.
Improve Your Appearance
Along with robbing your body of minerals and vitamins that keep you looking and feeling great, sugar has the ability to rob you of your looks. Glycation is when sugar attaches to protein, resulting in Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs). AGEs have been blamed for dull saggy skin and wrinkles. These sugar by-products build up and present themselves with age. The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs are created.
Manage and Maintain Your Weight
Cutting back on sugar can lead to weight loss or maintenance. In the last two decades, experts believed fat to be the enemy in our diets. We know now that the body needs fat, especially 'good' fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids which feed the brain, improve circulation and work against inflammation. Excess sugar, on the other hand, is converted to fat by the body. Refined sugar from carbohydrates that have been stripped of fiber will metabolize even faster. The more sugar you eat, the more fat will be stored on your body.
Improve Dental Health
Sugar is a major cause of dental disorders. It encourages the growth of bacteria that is responsible for causing cavities. Brushing helps to remove these bacteria, but tartar buildup often results and our oral health suffers. While sugar substitutes like Xylitol may contribute calories, they generally do not have an adverse effect on dental health.
Additives such as corn derivatives are commonly found in processed, mass-produced pastries and baked goods. Confectioners sugar is packaged with cornstarch to prevent clumping. Those who suffer from a corn allergy may feel adverse reactions to the powdered sugar in commercial frostings and desserts.
Feel Better Now
Sugar consumption triggers chemical reactions that promote inflammation. Consuming less sugar equates to less inflammation in the body, which is at the root of most aches and pains. Inflammation also has negative effects on the immune system, feeds yeast and contributes to the growth of bacteria. Take in less sugar and you may quickly notice a difference in how you feel overall.
Learn Something New
It is amazing how delicious food can be without refined sugar. There are many sugar substitutes that can be used to provide a hint of sweetness without the calories or ill effects of sugar. Whether it's a homemade salad dressing, Starbucks coffee or a cookie from scratch, you will learn to be a better cook as well as a sugar-free eater by trying new-to-you sugar-free recipes.
Rippe JM, Angelopoulos TJ. Relationship between Added Sugars Consumption and Chronic Disease Risk Factors: Current Understanding. Nutrients. 2016;8(11). doi:10.3390/nu8110697
Capili B, Anastasi JK, Chang M. Addressing the Role of Food in Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptom Management. J Nurse Pract. 2016;12(5):324-329. doi:10.1016/j.nurpra.2015.12.007
Dinicolantonio JJ, Berger A. Added sugars drive nutrient and energy deficit in obesity: a new paradigm. Open Heart. 2016;3(2):e000469. doi:10.1136/openhrt-2016-000469
Beilharz JE, Maniam J, Morris MJ. Diet-Induced Cognitive Deficits: The Role of Fat and Sugar, Potential Mechanisms and Nutritional Interventions. Nutrients. 2015;7(8):6719-38. doi:10.3390/nu7085307
Backes H, Walberer M, Ladwig A, et al. Glucose consumption of inflammatory cells masks metabolic deficits in the brain. Neuroimage. 2016;128:54-62. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.12.044
Khan TA, Sievenpiper JL. Controversies about sugars: results from systematic reviews and meta-analyses on obesity, cardiometabolic disease and diabetes. Eur J Nutr. 2016;55(Suppl 2):25-43. doi:10.1007/s00394-016-1345-3
Moynihan P. Sugars and Dental Caries: Evidence for Setting a Recommended Threshold for Intake. Adv Nutr. 2016;7(1):149-56. doi:10.3945/an.115.009365
Kiecolt-Glaser JK. Stress, food, and inflammation: psychoneuroimmunology and nutrition at the cutting edge. Psychosom Med. 2010;72(4):365-9. doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181dbf48