Who doesn’t love sweets? One look from a slice of chocolate cake or a Bear claw is enough for me to go on a sweets-induced binge. Why is sugar so hard to avoid? What happens to the body when we cut out excess sugar?
Added or excess sugar is responsible for many insecurities.
“Our appetites increase, and [we see] a greater desire for more sweets, which can lead to cravings, mood swings, and the all too familiar ‘crash and burn,” says Lauren O’Connor, a registered dietitian and yoga instructor.
All too well, we know the damaging effects of having too much sugar in our diet — weight gain, that hard to get rid of pudge, diabetes, and risk for cardiovascular disease.
Since January is right around the corner (and let’s face it: the most common New Year’s resolution is “losing weight”), let’s take a deep dive into the benefits of cutting out sugar in our diet for a healthier, longer life.
You will lose belly fat.
Ah, that precious little belly fat that is oh, so hard to remove. Eat This, Not That! explains, “When your body is deprived of added sugars, it’ll start burning belly fat instead of carbohydrates—blessing you with the toned tummy you’ve been dreaming of.”
You’ll have clearer (and better looking) skin.
Processed and refined sugars, often found in cookies, candy bars, cakes, etc., may trigger inflammation in the skin that leads to acne.
Robert Glatter, M.D., an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, said, “elasticity and collagen — what makes your skin look plump and glowy — become damaged, possibly leading to premature wrinkling, sagging skin, and acne and rosacea.”
You can reverse these effects by reducing your sugar intake. So next time, don’t reach for that candy bar or chocolate cake when you feel the urge hit. I know it sounds hard, but eat a piece of fruit with natural sugars instead.
You will sleep better.
While this will not happen overnight, eliminating sugar from your diet may improve your sleep quality.
Glatter explains, “Foods containing high amounts of refined sugars reduce the degree of slow-wave sleep (SWS), the restorative sleep that consolidates memories and information learned throughout the day, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the dream phase.”
So what does this mean? Eating less sugar may reduce the number of times you wake up throughout the night, which will help you with a deeper, more restorative sleep.
You will lower your risk of heart disease.
Added sugar can aid in weight gain and fat buildup in the body that links to heart disease. According to WebMD, “If you get more than 20% of your calories from added sugar — even if you’re at a healthy weight — you may be able to lower your heart disease risk when you cut back.”
You will cut cravings.
Always wondered what the deal was with sudden cravings? Added refined sugars might be the culprit. Foods filled with these harmful sugars can temporarily release dopamine and serotonin — the brain’s happy hormones. But, dopamine also leads to increased sugar cravings.
Weaning yourself off the sweet stuff can help you curb cravings and stop that destructive snacking habit in its tracks, Eat This, Not That! says.
You will have more energy.
There are many refined sugars hidden in popular breakfast foods like pancakes and bagels. These might not help you gain more energy. By cutting or limiting these foods from your diet, you may feel more energetic throughout the day.
Don’t know what foods to eat, instead? Eat This, Not That! has you covered with 30 Best Foods That Give You Energy All Day.
You will decrease your risk of tooth decay.
It is a well-known fact that sugars can cause cavities and tooth decay in humans. I mean, Christopher Lee didn’t give a condescending performance as Dr. Wonka (“Lollipops. Ought to be called cavities on a stick!”) in the 2005 rendition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for us to not know that candy is rotten for the teeth.
To get those shiny teeth, cut out the candy and sweets.
You will experience less bloating.
Sodium can cause bloating, but did you know that sugar can do the same, as well? When you take control of your sugar cravings, you may be able to experience less bloating.