Sugar: 7 Reasons To Quit It Like Jennifer Lopez
The recommended daily dietary intake for sugar is a maximum of 10 teaspoons a day (1). However, one can agree that we are all guilty of exceeding this recommendation on more than one occasion.
According to a study from the University of North Carolina, American adults continue to exceed this recommendation. Aside from packaged and fried foods, sugar can be found hiding in salad dressings, yogurts and even diet sodas and fruit juices. In consuming a lot of the sweet stuff, one is not only accelerating the aging process, but they are also increasing the risk for chronic diseases by triggering inflammation.
This is likely why Jennifer Lopez made the decision to avoid the sweet stuff for a period of 10 days. The latina made sure to share the effects of her sugar fast on Instagram.
While quitting sugar today will not immediately yield the same results, there are a few benefits that can come from quitting the sweet stuff.
Benefits of quitting sugar
1. You’ll be happier
While we often look for sweet treats to perk us up when we’re feeling down, these sweet treats could actually be making us feel worse.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, there is a strong link between a high intake of sugar and mental illness. It seems that the sweet stuff affects the body’s ability to deal with stress and this is why individuals may start to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression.
If you’re really feeling down and looking to boost your mood, try including more of these foods into your diet.
2. You’ll have a healthier heart
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, a diet high in sugar can greatly increase your risk of heart disease.
Added sugars affect insulin levels and this then creates a domino effect as the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, heart rate, and blood pressure soon face an increase. All three of these factors are major contributors to heart disease as well as stroke.
With heart disease being the leading cause of mortality worldwide, it is advisable to monitor your sweet tooth.
3. Your memory will be sharper
If you’re battling with remembering things, your sweet tooth may be to blame.
According to an animal study from the University of California, sugar can affect cognitive health by damaging the communication amongst brain cells. This can then hinder both learning and memory.
If you’re looking for brain foods that’ll keep your cognitive skills sharp, click here.
4. You’ll reverse the aging process
Collagen and elastin are two proteins in the body that help to maintain the skin’s youthful and supple appearance.
Excessive consumption of sugar can lead to glycation – a process by which excess sugar binds to collagen and elastin. Once this happens, inflammation occurs and the effectiveness of both collagen and elastin is reduced. As a result, signs of aging such as fine lines will begin to appear on your skin.
By reducing your sweet intake, or even quitting it completely, you’ll start to notice a more youthful complexion over time.
5. You’ll shed some pounds
Eating too much sugar can increase weight gain in two ways.
Firstly, it causes the body to become resistant to insulin. This then means that the body has a harder time clearing out sugar thus weight gain may occur.
The second way in which sugar increases weight gain is by interfering with the hormone leptin. Leptin is responsible for appetite regulation and by interfering with its job, sugar prevents leptin from sending signals to the brain when you are full. As a result, you will then overeat and gain weight.
By eating more high-fiber, whole foods, you’ll be able to regulate your appetite and feel satiated for longer.
6. You’ll sleep better
If you’re battling with falling asleep, then you might need to reduce your sugar intake.
Eating something rich in sugar before bed can stimulate the brain and this can then affect your ability for a good night’s rest. If you’re really in the mood for a late night snack, here are healthy foods that’ll ensure great sleep quality.
7. You won’t have dull skin
Your skin is what you eat and eating sugar won’t make your skin look as sweet.
Sugar triggers inflammation in the body and in regards to the skin, inflammation shows up as acne and breakouts. Also, the sweet stuff can dehydrate the skin which can then leave you with a dull appearance.
Sugar is addictive thus, while you may like the idea, quitting may not be as easy as it sounds.
You are more likely to experience withdrawal symptoms such as mood swings and headaches once you start cutting back on the sweet stuff. The best way to cut it out would be in small doses so that your body doesn’t go into complete shock.
Using fruits such as berries as your sweet treats and incorporating honey into your diet is a great way to wean your body off of sugar. Click here for more of our favorite sugar alternatives.