5 Reasons to Go Sugar-Free

March 31, 2014 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

It’s around that time of year when we all try and give something up in the name of Lent and sugar may well have been cut out of many people’s diets. But is it really that easy to completely banish? We have all seen the recent controversy in the press surrounding the ‘evil’ white substance. These worrying articles that have recently surfaced have been convincing us that our recommended daily sugar intake should be slashed or we could end up with diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Some experts are even warning that consuming sugar is as dangerous as alcohol and tobacco. Whilst studies are ongoing, surely we all knew that sugar was bad for us anyway?

It is a simple fact that processed, white sugar has absolutely no nutritional value and is all in all just empty calories. A teaspoon of sugar contains around 16 calories. And little else! So many of the processed foods we eat contain several teaspoons of sugar that we are not even aware of. Products such as low fat yoghurts, salad dressings and ‘healthy’ cereals can make trying to live a healthy lifestyle very difficult when they are pumped full of sugar. Lent might not be so easy after all…

Cookies (Sweet & Crunchy)

So, should we really be cutting sugar out of our diets? Here are 5 reasons to go and do just that:

1. Sugar can stop the ‘full’ signals to your brain

Eating a diet high in sugar can trigger leptin resistance even if you are just slightly overweight. Leptin is the hormone responsible for telling our brain that we are full after we have eaten and is released by fat cells in the body. In essence, it represses your appetite and tells your body to stop eating. Sugar can trick your brain into thinking that you have not eaten enough and you will have cravings for high-fat, high-sugar foods because these are the easiest forms of energy. Unfortunately though, this will also make you fat!

2. Sugar is extremely addictive

Sugar is actually like a drug and affects the brain is the same way that cocaine does- it’s that addictive! Tests have shown that when subjects were using cocaine and eating sugar, the same parts of the brain were stimulated.  The more sugar we eat, the more we will crave it until we end up needing ridiculous amounts of it in order to feel satisfied. This just turns into a viscous cycle that needs to be broken!

3. Sugar causes insulin resistance

Insulin is secreted from the pancreas and it’s main function is to drive glucose from the blood stream into the cells and regulate blood sugar. If too much sugar is eaten, the pancreas has to produce even more insulin to remove the toxic glucose from the blood stream and the cells become resistance to the effects of insulin. Another function of insulin is that it tells fat cells in the body to pick up fat from the bloodstream and this can lead to obesity too (see next point!)

4. Sugar has a direct effect on weight 

As eating sugary foods has a direct impact on your blood sugar levels, reducing your intake is probably the best place to start if you want to lose weight. Consuming sweet foods will send your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster and will leave your energy levels high for a short while and then come crashing down. This is not conducive to weight loss and will leave you reaching for more sugary snacks!

5. Sugar adds no value to your health

Overall, the main message is that sugar does not add any benefit to your diet- except maybe for an unsustainable burst of energy. It is void of all nutrients, vitamins and minerals and is made up of empty calories that the body can not effectively metabolise.

So, there are 5 good reasons why you should think about reducing your sugar intake or cutting it out of your diet altogether. It may be difficult at first but will be well worth it in the end!

 

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