Quitting sugar impacts our health positively. The reason is, it has no nutritional values to add to your body but it is high in calories.
Our body uses carbohydrates to create energy.
Carbohydrates are broken down by our metabolism into sugars (fructose, glucose, and galactose).
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t actually need sugar - our body makes plenty of that from the carbohydrates we consume.
It’s easy to get the carbohydrates you need without including sugary foods into your diet.
Sugary foods are often made with refined glucose.
This is essentially an ‘empty’ carbohydrate - one with no nutritional value. They strip all the nutrients away from the carbohydrates and leave you with sugar in one of its various forms - sucrose, glucose, fructose, etc.(1)(2)(3)
How much sugar is required for a healthy body?
You don't need to eat any refined or added sugar to get your daily dose of sugar. All you need natural occurring sugar that is well fed to you through diet.
American Heart Association says that men should consume no more than 150 calories worth of added sugar daily - approximately 36 grams and that women should consume no more than 100 calories worth (25 grams).(4)
Also, the latest dietary guidelines (2015-2020) recommend a healthy consumption pattern that limits calories intake from added sugars to less than 10%.(5)
It means if you require 2000 calories a day then you should not consume more than 200 calories of added sugars a day or 50 grams of added sugars.
But our daily added sugar intakes are higher than the recommended values.(6)
Sugar itself is not a problem. There are lots of foods - fruits, certain vegetables - that are healthy for you and contain enough natural sugar.
But, the problem comes with added sugar - one of the most destructive and unhealthy ingredients in our diet.
Added sugar is usually refined, nutritionally devoid, and used in excess.(6)
Making a choice quitting added sugars from your diet can have a positive effect on your overall health.
How does our body fulfill sugar need?
Since sugar is a byproduct of the carbohydrates we consume, we often feel cravings for sugar when we’re tired.
If we’re craving added sugars - also known as having a sweet tooth - then it’s most likely that we’ve eaten too much food with added glucose and fructose.
Glucose and fructose are the most commonly used refined sugars, and a huge percentage of the western world has become dependent on them.
There are healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Shy away from processed, refined sweets. Maybe make a dark-chocolate coating for some strawberries, or bake some apples with cinnamon.
These snacks are delicious, filled with healthy sugars, and will definitely take away your cravings.
Is sugar addictive?
Absolutely! While sugar’s not as addictive as, say, heroin, it certainly leaves its mark.
In fact, it stimulates the same areas of your brain’s pleasure center as hard drugs like heroin and cocaine (though not as significantly).
If someone becomes dependent on sugar, they may have to go through a withdrawal process when weaning off the stuff. This will involve intense cravings and lack of energy.
Why is refined sugar bad for health?
Refined sugar has had all the nutritious bits stripped from it, leaving us with dietary sucrose (plain table sugar) or high-glucose syrups.
These are sugars high in calories, with virtually no nutrients, that can take a toll on your body with too much consumption.
Quitting sugar is healthy and here are 7 benefits of quitting sugar
1. Quitting sugar improves our heart health
A diet high in added sugars can contribute negatively to cardiovascular health.
Most adults in America consume more than 10% of their calories from sugar - which is a bad sign for health. There has been a positive correlation between high sugar intake and cardiovascular disease for years.(7)
Quitting sugar has been shown to be more effective at improving heart health than lowering salt intake. A lot of the blame placed on sodium intake is actually caused by excessive sugar.(8)
2. Quitting sugar improves efforts to lose weight
Sugar is one of the most notorious causes of obesity in the entire world.(9)
Since refined sugars are simply energy with no nutrients, your body doesn’t gain anything from consuming them.
Unless you’re planning to do a ton of running after eating your sugar, all that converted energy is just going to sit in your body.
Unused energy is eventually stored as fat, leading to obesity.
Children who quit sugar for as few as three days showed significant improvement in regards to their weight and overall health.
Here is the data that shows that intake of sugar should be closely regulated because the effect it can have on a person’s weight can strike quickly and strike hard.(10)
3. Quitting sugar can improve skin texture and appearance
One of the most dangerous and well-known side-effects of eating too much sugar is diabetes. If you’re eating too much sugar, you may start to see a number of symptoms that lead to diabetes, including:
- Yellow or red patches of skin
- Thickening skin
- Skin spots or bumps
While these symptoms are for the more severely afflicted, it’s good to catch them ahead of time and try to prevent them.
4. Being sugar-free can improve depressive symptoms
As mentioned before, sugar is an addictive substance.
It’s addictive because it stimulates certain pleasure centers in the brain. It also has a bit of depressive crash, leaving the person wanting or craving more sugar.
It’s clear now that sugar can be a major cause of depression - even just having your drinks sweetened can lead to depression.
5. You will feel more energetic without sugar
Another reason sugar is so addictive is because it provides a short burst of energy. Like the burst of mood, it can provide, the energetic feeling will also be followed by a crash. This will leave you feeling lethargic and unmotivated.(14)
With regular consumption of sugar, the feelings of laziness begin to overpower the energy boost. You’ll become dependent on sugar to even feel normal, and this will lead to excessive consumption, less energy, and the risk of obesity.(15)
6. Quitting sugar improves cholesterol level
Removing sugar from your diet will make a significant improvement in the levels of your cholesterol.
7. Quitting sugar makes you more confident
With the huge number of medical conditions that excessive sugar consumption can cause, it’s no surprise that quitting sugar can make someone more confident.(17)
As one who struggled with sugar begins to see their health improve, they will naturally feel confident.
Quitting sugar is no easy task - it’s available everywhere. It’s so commonly available that most people aren't even aware of the health risks.
Being able to distance yourself from something as ubiquitous as sugar is a reason to be proud!
The problem with addictions to things like sugar and coffee is that most people don’t appreciate how dangerous this can be.
Sugar is everywhere, and almost everyone’s addicted - but nobody wants to admit it. Being able to quit an addiction shared by most of the western population is pretty impressive!
Real life stories of people who’ve quit sugar!
If this article hasn’t been enough proof, here are some stories from people who have successfully quit consuming sugar.
Example 1 - “Quit Sugar for a Month, and Here’s What Happened”
The success of this story started out with the acceptance of failure. The author had tried to cut back on sugar multiple times, failing each time.
Finally decided that the only way to go about quitting sugar would be to completely cut it out of their life.
The withdrawal process was rough - the author claimed to think about sugar more than twice every ten seconds. She was cranky, tired, and dreaming about sweets.
This goes to show how powerful sugar can be. It can grip a person into addiction without them even noticing.
After the first week, the author was able to live without sugar. She was happier, had more energy, and felt great.
Example 2 - “Why Quitting Sugar Changed My Life”
The author of this article had a whopping reaction to her decision to quit eating refined sugars.
Prior to quitting sugar, she had food on the mind all the time. Once she quit sugar, she was able to think freely again.
Her entire mindset changed. She’d been so overcome by guilt that she felt that everyone was watching her, silently judging her anytime she ate anything besides a piece of lettuce.
Cutting sugar out of her diet freed her mind up to think about more productive things.
She’s now much happier, more confident, and feels able to be herself.
Example 3 “How Giving Up Refined Sugar Changed My Brain”
The writer of this article had always been fairly health-conscious. She was a calorie counter. Unbeknownst to her, counting calories doesn’t matter if you’re still in-taking an excess of sugar.
She found out that her sugar intake was too high, so she cut it out of her life entirely.
Her mood (after going through unstable withdrawals) skyrocketed.
Her ability to focus improved.
Her cognition in general improved.
Sugar’s a necessary part of the human body. We make sugar from carbohydrates.
It’s necessary for us to function. However, we need certain types of sugars. Natural sugars, not refined sugars like the ones added to candy and chocolate bars.
If we’re able to supplement our diets with all-natural sugars from fruit and veggies, we’ll feel a lot better.
Refined sugars can cause a myriad of problems, from cognitive brain-fog to diabetes and obesity.
What is your take? How do you think about sugar? Did you ever notice how much refined/added sugar you're taking daily?