Stop Eating Sugar And Your Cholesterol Will Likely Improve
An estimated 93 million American adults have a total cholesterol level greater than 200 mg/dL, and approximately 29 million of those individuals have levels higher than 240 mg/dL . In addition, 18 percent of adults have an HDL cholesterol level below 40 mg/dL. High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, the CDC revealed.
Sugar may be a bigger contributor to cholesterol than dietary fat, so cutting it out could make a big difference for your heart health. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in 2007 followed more than 15,000 women for about a decade and concluded that those who ate more sugar-rich refined carbs had higher cholesterol levels and were at greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
Additionally, a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in 2020 looked specifically at the link between sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, and cholesterol issues. They found that individuals who consumed more than one serving of sugar-sweetened beverages per day had lower HDL and higher triglyceride levels than those who consumed less than one sugary drink per month.
Increase Your Dietary Fiber Intake
Eating high fiber foods may help you stave off hunger and cravings. They take longer to digest, causing you to feel fuller for longer.
High fiber foods also contribute to healthy blood sugar regulation. Keeping your blood sugar levels stable may help prevent cravings.
Aim for high fiber vegetables, beans, and legumes.
Pairing high protein and high fiber foods is best for healthy blood sugar control. Examples include mixing high fiber veggies like broccoli into your eggs or spooning some pumpkin seeds over your oatmeal.
Why Do We Crave Sugar
First, it’s good to know we’re not lacking in self-control or willpower when it comes to sugar cravings. “Our biological addiction to sugar comes from primitive neurochemical reward centers in our brains that light up when we consume sugar,” Jackson explains. “These reward centers used to help keep us alive by signaling to our bodies that we need to eat more sugar to put on fat and stay alive when food was scarce. Now, food is everywhere, yet our bodies are still programmed to consume sugar when we see it.” To counteract this natural response, Jackson says, “it’s important for us to set our bodies up to control these cravings through a healthy diet and lifestyle.”
But that doesn’t mean quitting sugar all at once. “Start by recognizing how much sugar is in the food you are currently eating. Read the labels, look for ‘hidden sugars’ and stick to more whole foods, advises OConnor. Then, wean yourself off by consuming less of the breads, crackers, chips, and even energy bars, some of which are practically candy bars in disguise.” Consuming less sweet and processed foods is the goal, but she cautions against depriving yourself entirely. “Although it can be tricky, youve got to stick to your plan. Cold turkey may be easier in the short term because your body isnt responding to sugars incessant and nagging effect on the brain and the body. Still, in most cases, deprivation can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, and in some cases, binging.”
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Your Joints Will Hurt Less Once You Remove Added Sugar From Your Diet
Removing sugar from your diet could put the spring back in your step, thanks to a reduction in inflammation. According to Healthline, sugar promotes inflammation in several ways. It leads to excess production of advanced glycation end products , inflammatory compounds that form when fat or protein combine with sugar in the bloodstream. Sugar also increases intestinal permeability, raises LDL cholesterol, and leads to increases in body fat all of which have been linked to chronic, low-grade inflammation. In turn, chronic inflammation is believed to underlie or exacerbate a number of health conditions, including certain types of arthritis.
Joint diseases can be either inflammatory or noninflammatory . Although osteoarthritis, the most prevalent form of arthritis, is generally considered noninflammatory, a paper published in Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease in 2013 pointed out that inflammation does in fact play an important role in osteoarthritis.
The Arthritis Foundation noted that nearly one in three Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 have arthritis. If you’re one of them, know that cutting out sugar could reduce symptoms such as pain and stiffness.
You Will Achieve Some Of Your Weight Loss Goals
Weight loss can happen faster than you might have imagined just by cutting sugar out of your diet. The body absorbs sugar quite easily however,it is not a natural part of any human diet. When sugar is consumed, insulin production increases.
Insulin, in turn, prohibits the body from using fat as a fuel while converting sugar to fat and weight gain is the result of the whole process. By eliminating sugar, you are not only allowing insulin to remain in the amounts it is suppose to be in, but you are also eliminating a great many calories also attributed to the substance.
The more your sugar consumption, the less ability you have to burn fat because your body is burning that sugar instead.
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How Can I Cut Back So It Actually Sticks
Truthfully, you dont have to eliminate sugar completely or ditch the sweet stuff overnight. Doing this gradually is the best way. If youve been having several sodas a day and it takes you a month to get down to one or zero, itll be just as effective, says Young.
Here’s a few quick tips to help you on your way:
- Pull back on adding sugar to your foods. Try sprinkling cinnamon in your coffee for natural sweetness, instead. Gorin also likes to add nutmeg and fresh fruit to oatmeal .
- Make fruit your BFF. When leaving added sugar behind, fruit will really help out with the process. A special sweet hack from Gorin: Cook frozen fruit in a sauce pan with a bit of water, until some of the juices liquify into a delectable syrup. Or, go for a bowl of fruit for dessert, instead of cookies.
- Watch out for sneaky sugar. Because sugar hides in many foods that you wouldnt expectlike bread and pasta sauceyou want to read ingredient labels to make sure that the brands you buy are minimal or no-added-sugar versions. I doubt youd even notice the difference in taste, she says.
When you do it sugar, make it count with something you really lovebecause, hey, sometimes you’ve got to treat yourself.
What To Expect When You Quit Sugar For A Month
Categories Healthy Eating
I get it. Youre a sugar lover. A little bit of the white stuff can make the day seem sweeter! But so many of us eat far too much. Cutting out sugar by deciding to quit sugar for a month, or at least drastically curb your intake, is a no-brainer. Its a big step towards healthy eating for weight loss and one of the top recommendations by the World Health Association.
Sugar is a high-risk factor for type 2 diabetes, especially in sugary drinks. It has zero nutritional benefits and makes you crave food. Plus most people lose weight when they decide to quit sugar.
This household decided to quit sugar for a month
- It was a big boost for losing weight.
- Quitting sugar caused headaches and cravings.
- It improved energy levels and overall fitness.
- We started cooking much healthier meals.
Read on to find out what happened
If you need some help to stop eating sugar, this is the best 28-day plan Ive found for fixing your sugar cravings.
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Week : Your Sugar Levels Are Low But You’ve Never Felt Better
After a month, the game you’re playing with glucose is more mental than physical. This is a psychological weekthat final, purifying push, Dr. Smith says. While youre still having some sugar, the amount youre having is less than any of the previous weeks.
Now’s the point in your detox when you might be hearing that sweet siren song in your head. Turn down the volume by scouring nutrition labels for sneaky, hidden sources of sugar to ensure you’re not inadvertently feeding your sweet tooth. You might want to start with your salad dressings, juices, and instant oatmeal. For this week, you should also favor low-glycemic fruits and opt for zero-added-sugar meals as much as possible.
You’ll Get Fewer Cavities
You’ve heard it since you were a kidsugar causes tooth decay. And studies have repeatedly proven it. The bacteria on your teeth metabolize sugar, producing an acid that takes minerals out of the enamel and can eventually create a hole. There’s evidence that consuming less than 50 grams daily of added sugar is associated with far fewer cavities. And if you eat under 25 grams the number drops even more dramatically.
Carolyn Williams, Ph.D., R.D., is author to the new cookbook, Meals That Heal: 100 Everyday Anti-Inflammatory Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less, and a culinary nutrition expert known for her ability to simplify food and nutrition information. She received a 2017 James Beard Journalism award. You can follow her on Instagram or on carolynwilliamsrd.com.
Some original reporting in EatingWell, September 2021.
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Hidden Sugars To Avoid
LAUREN MILLER / Stocksy
During a sugar detox, you want to avoid snacks that are high in sugars or highly processed . But, there are less obvious foods that are better left on the shelf and out of your diet. For example, some healthy foods like packaged granola contain lots of added sugars, as well as partially hydrogenated oils. There are hidden sugars in many of our packaged convenience foods. And often, many of these dont necessarily taste particularly sweet, explains OConnor. Some wheat bread, for instance, may contain barley malt and other ‘sugars,’ such as honey to balance the flavor, but we dont consider this dessert.”
Granola bars, and even protein bars, also often masquerade as something healthier than they are. While some energy bars are formulated to be low in sugars and high in protein and/or healthy fats, there are so many that contain an excess of added sugars, chemicals, and fillers we dont need. So, youve got to read those labels, advises OConnor. Rather than decipher through a laundry list of ingredients, make your own trail mixjust be sure to limit the dried fruit because its concentrated in sugars.
Also, be aware of drinking too much alcohol. It’s less satisfying than food but still adds a lot of calories to our day with its hidden sugars. “Not only that,” says O’Connor, but “alcohol impairs our judgment, so we tend to eat ‘more freely’ as opposed to sticking to moderation.”
Tips For Cutting Back On Added Sugar
If youre used to regularly eating sugary foods like cake, ice cream, sweetened breakfast cereal, candy, and cookies and regularly drink sugar-sweetened beverages, it may take time to reduce your reliance on added sugar.
For some people, cutting all forms of added sugar from their diet is helpful. However, others may find this method too extreme.
Fortunately, even making small changes to your sugar intake can significantly affect your overall health. Follow these helpful tips to slowly reduce your added sugar intake over time.
The tips above can help you slowly cut back on added sugar and improve the quality of your overall diet.
Here are some tips to help you beat the side effects and avoid or at least limit some of the symptoms related to cutting sugar out of your diet.
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Lowers Blood Pressure And Cholesterol Level :
A Month After Quitting
Kudos to you if you haven’t had sugar for a month, especially if you have had a sweet tooth all your life. But once you reach this phase, that’s when good things start to happen. Your desire to have sugary treats will disappear, and you will start experiencing the health benefits. Here are the health benefits of quitting it for a month:
- When you get rid of the calories in the form of added sugar and add whole foods in your diet, you feel full sooner. It will help you keep your weight in check
- Cutting back on sweets means lower calories and body weight, which, in turn, means improved cholesterol levels
- Even if you are at a healthy weight, cutting back on added sugar means better nutrition. This will help keep your blood sugar levels stable as your body will have more nutrients to repair and protect itself
- Too much of it in the system can damage blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart. Giving up on added sugar may lower your risk of heart disease
- Sugar is the main culprit when it comes to tooth decay. Cutting back on sugars can slow or stop the decay, giving you healthy teeth
- The more sugar in your system, the more likely you are to develop serious diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and other illnesses. Reducing the intake alleviates this risk
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The Effects Of Sugar On Your Body
If the start of your day consists of going to your nearest coffee shop and grabbing a powdered doughnut and an extra sweet coffee, chances are your daily sugar intake could be high. On average, Americans consume 270 calories of added sugars per day, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To put that into perspective, this is about 17 teaspoons of sugar dailythe maximum daily added sugar intake should be no more than 9 teaspoons and 6 teaspoons for men and women, respectively.
Too much sugar in your diet can influence your likelihood of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and even heart disease. But this does not mean you cannot have sugar at all. The American Heart Association says it is better to add a small amount of sugar to improve the taste of foods, such as whole-grain cereal, rather than opting for foods that are already highly sweetened.
However, if youre looking to cut sugar out of your diet, either completely or temporarily, it can lead to noticeable changes in your body and with your mood.
We spoke with health experts who weigh in on how not eating sugar can lead to several improvements.
Your Tastes Will Adjust
While it may seem like a downer to belly up to a bowl of raspberries and blueberries instead of a cupcake, over time, your tastes will change and youll come to find that the fruits natural sugars are quitedelicious. Youll be amazed at how you feel satisfied with a serving of fruit for dessert, says Gorin.
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What Happens To Your Body When You Stop Eating Sugar And Carbs
We always learn something new when it comes to health, nutrition, and fitness. Recently, carbohydrates have been put in the spotlight due to the negative effects on our overall health. With many people turning to low-carb, ketogenic, paleo, and Whole30 diets, weve been made to believe that cutting back on carbs is healthy and a guaranteed way to shed the extra weight. A recent study found that carbohydrates ranked second, , as the most cited cause of weight gain. That said, we sought to find out what exactly happens to our bodies when we stop eating sugar and carbs.
You Feel More Energetic Throughout The Day
You will have more energy once you quit sugar than you ever have before. There is a bit of truth to the statement that refined sugar gives you an energy boost.
Indeed, a short pick-me-up occurs as the sugar first hits your system. However, the long-term affect of repeated sugar intake actually harms your body by reducing its ability to correctly metabolize food, transforming it into energy. Once the body becomes use to a quick energy boost, it will begin to look for that and once the sugar is not found, the crash that is associated with it will happen.
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Negative Effects Of Eating Added Sugar
Sugar doesn’t only increase your risk of developing diabetes, but it has zero nutritional value and add to your cravings. According to the World Health Organization , cutting back on sugary treats is a big step towards healthy eating for weight loss. As it turns out, sugary treats may give you brain fog and even accelerate the signs of ageing.