From coffee to marinara sauce, sugar is added to almost everything a person can consume in a day. Studies show that sugar can be addictive, causing withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop eating it. Sugar addiction is tough to overcome. Here, I offer five tips on how to stop eating sugar!
Is Sugar Unhealthy?
Well, though eating a very small portion of sugar occasionally is not unhealthy, eating a lot of it on a daily basis is quite unhealthy. There are several health issues that can trigger when you eat sugar in an excess amount.
There are three types of sugar in total that we find from different food sources. These are glucose, sucrose and fructose. The sources of these types are different, as well as their formulation, the process of digestion and the way they affect your body.
Irrespective of all these factors, all are considered unhealthy because of the fact that they contain the same amount of calories.
What are the Health Issues that Sugar Causes?
Here are some adverse effects that sugar can cause in your body:
- Weight Gain: Sugar or sugar-sweetened foods are considered as one of the primary causes of weight gain in adults as well as children. Firstly, sugary foods are full of high calories that get stored in your body. Secondly, these foods increase your hunger by making you resist leptin, a hormone that’s responsible for regulating your hunger. Studies show that people who eat sugar tend to gain more weight than those who don’t.
- Type 2 Diabetes: Unfortunately, the prevalence of diabetes worldwide has doubled over the last 30 years. Though diabetes can happen due to multiple reasons, such as genetics, eating sugar is one of the biggest causes. Eating excess sugar can lead to obesity, which is another high-risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.
- Heart Disease: We all know that heart diseases are the biggest reason for death worldwide. Sugary foods are usually full of visceral fat, a type of belly fat that can lead to heart diseases. Moreover, eating sugar is directly linked to inflammation, obesity, high triglyceride, high blood pressure and diabetes. All of these health conditions lead to heart diseases mostly in adults.
- Skin Problems: Did you know that eating sugar can give you skin problems like acne? Well, eating sugar instantly increases your insulin and blood sugar levels. High insulin and blood sugar levels lead to androgen secretion, which spikes your oil production. As a result, inflammation that appears on the skin due to excess oil production is the final outcome, which is known as acne.
- Mood Disorders: Not only your physical health but also your mental health is at stake when you indulge in sugary foods. Depression is prone to develop once a person eats too much sugar, and that’s too often. Researchers have found out that neurotransmitter dysregulation and blood sugar swings are the two important causes of depression in adults worldwide.
- Lowers Energy: Though eating sugar instantly gives you a lot of energy, it drains your energy in the long run. That’s because most sugary foods are low in protein, fats and fiber, which are considered healthy nutrients that fuel your body for the whole day. Hence, if you have sugar constantly, your energy levels can hugely fluctuate and drain.
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Here is a very informative video from the Cleveland Clinic about how to break your sugar addiction:
Is Sugar Addictive?
Though naturally processed sugar doesn’t contain any chemical compound that leads to addiction, some studies have proved that sugar is kind of addictive because of the sweet taste that we crave.
So, the addiction is more psychological than physical. A couple of studies have also declared that sugar can have withdrawal symptoms in the form of mood swings and depression. Otherwise, sugar doesn’t make our body physically dependent on it just as the substances do.
Hence, sugar is not as addictive as chemical substances such as opioid drugs.
How Much Sugar is Safe in a Day?
Adults should restrict their sugar intake to free sugars of 30g (7 sugar cubes) or below per day. For children of 7 to 10 years, the maximum limit is 24g or 6 sugar cubes.
For children of 4 to 6 years or below, the limit is 19g (5 sugar cubes). This is the maximum amount of sugar that’s safe for normal people who don’t have diabetes. However, if you completely stop eating sugar, that will be more beneficial for your health.
Which Sugar is the Healthiest?
There is a common belief that brown sugar is healthier than white sugar and the healthiest among all the other variants.
However, nutritionally, it’s completely similar to white sugar because it has the same amount of calories as white sugar. Brown sugar only contains a little more minerals, but that’s so minimal that there’s no health benefit you can expect.
What May Happen When I Stop Eating Sugar?
On a positive note, here are the things that can happen when you stop eating sugar:
- Increase Mental Productivity: Once you stop eating sugar, your cognitive power will gradually improve. After a few weeks, you’ll be able to notice that you’ve become more focused than before.
- Lower Risk of Diabetes: Since eating sugar is one of the most significant reasons for diabetes type 2, you can lower your diabetes risk once you quit sugar.
- Blood Pressure Control: There are multiple factors that lead to high blood pressure due to sugar consumption. Hence, you will have more control over your blood pressure as you stop eating sugar.
- Weight Loss: You can cut down on your calorie intake once you stop eating sugar. As a result, you will be able to reduce a few pounds easily by following a healthy sugar-free diet.
- Glowing Skin: We’ve explained above how acne and other skin problems occur due to excess sugar intake. As you quit sugar, you will be blessed with clear and glowing skin.
- Good Immunity: Another shocking factor is that sugar can weaken your immune system to some extent. When you quit sugar, the chances of falling sick too often will reduce.
- Better Breath: Improving your teeth and breath is possible when you stop eating sugar because the bacteria and cavities from your mouth will dissolve.
- Slow Aging: Almost every celebrity on the planet who looks younger is because of the sugar-free diet that the person follows. Like them, you will be able to retain your youth by quitting sugar.
- Improved Sleep: You will notice a better sleep quality and pattern once you stop eating sugar because many studies have shown how sleep can disrupt sleep.
Can I Flush Out Sugar by Drinking Water?
Drinking water has plenty of health benefits, and keeping yourself dehydrated is one of them. Though you can flush out many toxins from your body by drinking water, sugar cannot be flushed out with water. To flush out stored sugar, you can only try to burn more calories by exercising and changing your lifestyle.
5 Tips on How to Stop Eating Sugar For Good
Now, we are going to share the 5 most effective tips on how to stop eating sugar and switch to a healthy lifestyle. These tips are quite simple as most of the alternative ingredients are easily available in the market.
However, you may consult your doctor before changing your food habits suddenly as that will ensure optimum safety. Also, make sure you aren’t allergic to any of the alternative sweeteners.
Stop Drinking Sugar
First, you need to stop adding sugar to your tea, coffee and shakes. Also, you need to avoid soda and other bottled drinks that contain sugar. Drinking sugar is one of the worst forms of sugar that you need to quit completely. Most of these drinks are unhealthy just because of the high amount of sugar added.
Replace with Natural Sweeteners
There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing from healthy natural sweeteners such as jaggery, honey, stevia, erythritol, xylitol, yacon syrup, monk fruit sweetener and more. Our favorites are honey and jaggery, which are safe for your health but to a limited portion. You can replace your sugar intake with any of these sweeteners and enjoy your drinks.
Read Food Labels
Sugar comes as a hidden ingredient in most packaged foods. Hence, to stop having sugar completely, you need to read the labels carefully. You can spot sugar by looking for words that end with an ‘ose’ such as sucrose, glucose, dextrose, fructose, maltose, galactose, lactose etc. All of these are some formulations of sugar, and none are healthy.
Stop Eating Frozen and Canned Foods
Frozen and canned foods, especially fruits, are soaked in sugary syrup, which makes them quite unhealthy for you if you are on a mission to quit sugar. Hence, you need to avoid such foods and replace them with fresh-cut fruits and homemade meals. The best way to lose weight at home is to eat home-cooked healthy meals.
Cut the Serving Down
If you are planning to add sugar while baking cookies, cakes and brownies, make sure you add a very small quantity. If you start reducing sugar and acquire the minimal sugary taste, maybe you won’t notice any difference at all. The quantity can be reduced to one-third to one-half, depending upon the other ingredients.
Now that you know how to stop eating sugar and start a healthy lifestyle, go ahead and make the most of it. You will surely see the benefits we’ve mentioned above. However, sticking to your decision is quite important, and hence, you can reduce sugar gradually from your diet rather than quitting it at once.