We all know that eating too much sugar is bad for us. But did you know exactly how much your body will thank you for quitting the sweet stuff? Focusing on the health benefits can help you stay committed to your healthy eating plan.
Research shows a strong connection between high blood sugar and Alzheimer’s disease. A diet high in added sugar suppresses the production of BDNF, a chemical responsible for developing new brain tissue and linked to brain conditions. The great news is that exercise has been shown to reduce BDNF, keeping your brain sharper for longer.
High sugar diets cause excess sugars to become stuck in the bloodstream. This can cause ‘pre-diabetes’ which can lead to actual diabetes. It doesn’t take much. Just one sugary drink a day raises the risk of type 2 diabetes by a fifth.
Sugar not used up as energy increases levels of triglycerides – a fat which circulates in the blood. High levels of these fats increases the risk of heart diseases and strokes. So ditch the fizzy drinks!
While sugar doesn’t actually cause depression, a high sugar intake can impair your body’s ability to cope with stress. Several studies also show a link between the continuous spiking and plummeting of blood sugar levels to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Watch those pounds drop away from your waistline, and into your purse. High insulin levels from too much sugar is linked to excess belly fat. And the money you don’t spend on chocolate you can spend on some healthy office snacks instead.
If you want a quick brain, slow down your sugar intake. This 2012 study showed that too much sugar reduces proteins that are necessary for memory and learning. A diet steadily high in fructose may also increase inflammatory stress on the brain, causing foggy thinking. The good news is that eating omega-3 rich food such as salmon, nuts and seeds can help counteract this effect.
Eating too much sugar increases the risk of obesity, which is a major risk factor for high blood pressure. Even if you’re not fat, eating too much sugar has recently been shown to raise blood pressure. Medical focus is shifting away from salt, and onto refined carbohydrates as a culprit for hypertension.
Experts believe we can truly be addicted to sugar. When we eat it, our brain releases dopamine, a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Even the thought of a chocolate bar can make our saliva glands kick into action. But the more we have, the more we want. And who really wants to be controlled by sugar?
Imagine sugar actually sucking the water from your cells and you wouldn’t be far wrong. Sugar reduces the effectiveness of elastin and collagen, making it easier for wrinkles to form, reduces plumpness and encourages acne. And dehydrated, spotty skin doesn’t look too great.
Our bodies weren’t designed to break down processed foods such as sugar and refined carbohydrates. If they aren’t digested efficiently they can inflame the stomach and ferment in the gut. High blood sugar can then make your stomach a pretty toxic environment.
Reducing your intake of sugar can be tough, but it really doesn’t have to be painful. Here are some tips on how to cut out sugar from your diet. Plus some sweet-tooth alternatives, so you can stay happy as well as healthy.
by Kath Webb
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by Kath Webb
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