You’ve probably heard a thousand times before that sugar is bad for you, and seen the sugar-free movement growing in popularity. If you're still a bit uncertain about just why we're switching out the sweet stuff, read on!
The negative effects of sugar:
- For the amount of calories contained in sugar, it actually contains no essential nutrients, meaning it’s doing nothing good for your body. That’s why the calories in sugar are often called “empty” calories. If you’re getting more calories from sugar than you need, it can start to cause some problems, and also contribute to nutrient deficiencies.
- If you eat a lot of sugar that you don’t burn off, it can cause a lot of problems for the liver. Reasearch has found that fructose which is found in large amounts in sugar, can only be broken down by the liver, so eating too much of it can lead to big problems, and can even lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease if the liver gets overloaded.
- Eating too much sugar can lead to insulin resistance, which is a stepping stone toward type 2 diabetes. Insulin helps to keep your blood sugar levels in check by telling your cells to burn glucose instead of fat. Having too much glucose in the blood can be very harmful. Insulin resistance is also believed to be a driver of other diseases including metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. (source)
- Cancer is one of the world’s leading causes of death. It’s characterised by uncontrollable growth and multiplication of cells. Insulin is one of the hormones that can help regulate this type of cell growth. For this reason, many scientists believe that having constantly elevated insulin levels (a consequence of sugar consumption) can contribute to cancer. (source)
- You might hear people joke about being “addicted” to sugar, but the sad fact is that it’s very often true. Like a lot of other drugs, sugar causes a release of dopamine in the reward centre of the brain. The “everything in moderation” message may be a bad idea for people who are addicted to sugar… because the only thing that works for true addiction is abstinence.
The benefits of quitting sugar:
- Those who are hoping to quit sugar often worry about lack of energy, but the fact is they’ll experience the opposite. By quitting sugar you leave room and calories to fuel your body with nutritious, energy-providing foods that will give you stamina and strength, rather than bursts of energy followed by a crash.
- Many think that the key to losing weight is cutting fat, but more people find they drop the kilos much quicker when they quit sugar instead. Fats are actually essential for our bodies to function properly, and a lot of good fats contain a lot of healthy nutrients, whereas we know now that sugar is empty calories.
- Quitting sugar can also help clear up your skin. Sugar is actually the root cause of a lot of inflammation in the body, and cutting it out can have surprising effects, among them is skin clarity. People who have quit sugar have reported skin clear from persistent acne, rosacea, dermatitis, and even ageing! While there isn't as much research around this, it's worth trying cutting out sugar for a period of time to see whether it helps your skin improve.
- Removing sugar from your favourite recipes will mean that you’ll learn to explore other flavours and your cooking skills will improve! When dishes lack taste it can be easy to reach for the sugar to add a little more to a sauce, but once you’ve cut it out, you’ll find yourself reaching for real ingredients like mustard, vinegar, spices and herbs that will wake up your senses and your dishes!
With all the negative effects staring at you from every sugar bowl, and every processed food package, it’s no wonder why so many Aussies are deciding to switch to sugar free diets, and trying to find decent alternatives that won’t do them any harm. And with all the benefits waiting for you on the other side of quitting, it’s only a matter of time before you make the switch and start discovering sugar free life.
If it seems overwhelming, there are alternatives that can help make the switch easier, and can also become the new sweetener of your life. Norbu is a 100% natural sweetener made from monk fruit that tastes just like the real thing, and will make quitting sugar all the more easier, so make sure you check it out. And be sure to let us know how your sugar-quitting journey is going here in the comments, and your biggest reason for giving up the white stuff.