19 Jul 3 Ways Giving Up Sugar Can Drastically Improve Your Health
I’m not afraid to admit that I have a major sweet tooth. Maybe more than one. After all, if there’s anything more universally appealing than a devil’s food chocolate cake, I certainly don’t know what it is. Our culture surrounds us with food that is undeniably appealing, but is also equally bad for us–so much so that eating healthfully can be a real test of willpower. In fact, sometimes, the only way we make it through a meal is for the promise of dessert.
We know sugar is bad for us; we’ve heard it all our lives. However, not many realize exactly how bad sugar really is, and how it’s continually affecting our bodies. If you were to give up sugar (or even greatly reduce your intake), you’d see a host of benefits to your your mind and body. You may even wonder why you liked it so much in the first place.
Note: By “sugar,” we mean added sugar that is prevalent in processed foods–not the natural sugar found in fruits and other healthy foods.
1. You’ll Get Clearer, Younger-Looking Skin
If you give up sugar tomorrow, it won’t be long until you see the results on your face. Sugar, which is simply a form of carbohydrate, actually weakens and breaks down collagen. For young-looking skin, collagen is a protein you need. In this case, no sugar means younger skin.
But there’s more. If you find yourself struggling–even a little–with stubborn pimples and blackheads, sugar may be to blame. Sugar intake increases your skin’s production of sebum, which causes it to be more oily and acne-prone. Without sugar, you’ll find that your face could clear significantly.
2. You’ll Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes, Heart Disease, and High Blood Pressure
The idea that sugar is bad for you may not be news, but recent scientific findings show that there is a direct link between sugar and multiple risk factors.
For years, doctors have said that sugar can indirectly lead to Type II diabetes by causing weight gain, which is itself a risk factor. But a recent study found that populations with higher sugar intake actually had directly higher rates of diabetes.
Another study found that added sugar intake significantly increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, while another showed that sugar is worse for hypertension than salt.
Give up sugar, and you’ll greatly reduce your risk for all of these insidious health problems. With less risk, you might even live longer!
3. You’ll Improve Your Mind
If you’ve ever eaten a meal heavy in processed carbs and then tried to take an exam, you know the feeling of “sluggishness” that your brain experiences. As it turns out, this is your body’s response to sugar intake, and it can greatly affect your focus and learning ability.
One study showed that sugar reduces production of a certain brain chemical that is responsible for memory retention, comprehension, and learning. For students who take part in their cafeteria’s meals every day, this can be especially problematic.
Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, and you’ll feel greater clarity, focus, and memory retention. Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, you won’t lose your keys next time you’re running late.
Giving up sugar is hard. There’s a reason so many are under addicted to it: it’s delicious! Still, if you want to give it up for the sake of your health (and complexion), all it takes are a few little changes. Instead of a soda, reach for a smoothie. Instead of cookies and milk, how about just the milk? Eventually, you’ll find it easier to kick the habit. And once you have, you’ll feel–and look–better than ever.