Sugar has received attention lately as a major threat to human health. In a monumentally popular article in the New York Times, science writer and author of Good Carbs Bad Carbs, Gary Taubes asked the question, “Is Sugar Toxic?” He concluded that while the science on sugar isn’t conclusive, there are still very good reasons to carefully watch our intake.
10 Reasons to Cut Back on Sugar
To lower your heart disease risk. In a study published in JAMA, scientists found that those who ate 21 percent of their daily calories in sugar doubled their risk of dying from heart disease compared to those who got 7 percent or less of their daily calories from sugar. The risk almost tripled in those who ate 25 percent or more of their daily calories from added sugar.
To free up your daily calories for more nutrient rich foods. If you are like most Americans, you eat a large part of your daily calories in the form of sugar. This means less of your diet contains high levels of beneficial nutrients. Consuming less sugar can leave you more room for healthier foods like fish, avocado, and nuts and all they have to offer.
To support your mental health. A study has shown a strong link between depression, schizophrenia and high sugar consumption. Another study showed how reducing sugar in the diet led participants to more positive emotions in a short period of time.
To help keep your cognitive abilities strong. High sugar intake has been shown to weaken memory and hinder learning abilities.
To keep body inflammation low. Inflammation, known to be at the root of most health problems, is made considerably worse or triggered by high sugar intake.
To help avoid type 2 diabetes. Research may not show that sugar causes type 2 diabetes, but it does seem to be a contributing factor. One study indicates that just 2 servings of sweetened drinks per day (like iced tea and vitamin water) increases a person’s type 2 diabetes risk by 26 percent!
To protect your liver. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a large problem in the US and closely related to obesity cases. Even children suffer from this. Research is showing that excess sugar consumption, particularly fructose (fruit, fruit juice, high fructose corn syrup) leads to fatty liver disease in non-alcoholics.
To help control your blood pressure. Excess sugar consumption is even linked to elevated blood pressure, whether it causes weight gain, or not.
To break the harmful addiction cycle. Sugar increases dopamine and quite literally reduces pain sensitivity. According to a study by Dr. David Ludwig, it also lights up the same part of the brain on an MRI scan as cocaine or heroin, meaning it is highly addictive. In fact, researchers say it is 8 times more addictive than cocaine. Breaking a sugar addiction can mean tackling challenges in life without the numbing, distracting, and harmful secondary effects of sugar. Some experts belief sugar addiction should be managed like any other serious drug addiction.
To give you more energy. Sugar causes a desperate need for more insulin than your body thrives with and sends energy up and then back down further below where you started. For a sustained source of energy, look to nutrition. “Crowd out” extra sugar in your diet by cooking real food with fiber, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and water that will leave little room in your belly for the toxic stuff and leave you feeling naturally energetic.
Have we convinced you to try reducing your sugar-intake, yet?
Further reading on healthy eating:
Guide: Healthy eating for gestationnal diabetes
Tips for Healthy Eating in a Restaurant
Five Ways to Eat Healthy and Save Money at the Grocery Store
Top Tips for Eating Out with Diabetes
5 Healthy and Delicious Alternatives to Diet Soda
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