“Sugar is not sweet,” is what my professor said in my behavorism class during grad school. My ears perked, oh, I totally gotta get my fingers into this like double dipping into a jar of Nutella.
The premise for his statement was that sugar is reinforcing within itself and that’s why our behavior is to keep grabbing for more.
So back then, I went on a six month sugar break up– cold turkey. My skin started glowing, I felt happier and my colleagues said I look beautiful. I had never gotten compliments from them before, so I was a little dumbfounded, except for the fact that I wasn’t eating sugar and they didn’t know.
When my six months was up I took the dive and tasted a piece of pumpkin pie one sunny Saturday afternoon at a local organic cafe, with friends. You know what? Sugar isn’t sweet!! In fact it burned my new little delicate taste buds, ouch.
Let’s dive into this blog. I’m giving you the 20 reasons I quit sugar, again, and then you can decide if these are good enough reasons for you to avoid the harmful effects of sugar. Some reasons may surprise you.
# 1: Causes Premature Ageing
I meet a lot of older women who say they don’t care about aging and having wrinkles and honestly I think they are way more superior than me.
I don’t know about you, but I’m so vain that I stopped eating meat when I was 15 just because I figured out it would make me stinky and give me wrinkles when I grew up. So kudos to women who could care less about saggy and wrinkly skin.
But if you’re like me and do care about aging more slowly and having more vitality then this could be the numero uno reason you break the troubled love affair.
You see sugar attaches to protein in your body and forms AGEs (advanced glycation end products). AGEs can damage other proteins, especially the more susceptible proteins like collagen and elastin found in your skin.
So once your skin gets glycated by sugar you lose that plumpy collagen and get wrinkles and sagging skin. Don’t worry it’s reversible with the right foods and supplements.
#2: You Might Want to Pee Every 15 Minutes!
That bowl of candy on your desk or the 12 o’clock midnight ice cream noshing fest can increase risk for diabetes and obesity, both which can lead to kidney disease.
Or maybe you develop a urinary tract infection from a suppressed immune system and need to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes.
I know, why didn’t someone tells us this in our formative years so that we wouldn’t have to deal with this after years of od’ing on chocolate chip cookies, pasta and ice cream.
#3: Bad for Thyroid Health
Having too much glucose in your diet can lead to insulin resistance, meaning your cells no longer open their doors to take in glucose, their source of energy. So the pancreas notices that there’s still glucose in your blood stream and keeps pumping out insulin in hope of moving that glucose out of your blood and into your cells. But it doesn’t happen.
Over time these surges of increased insulin can damage the thyroid and it’s normal production of hormones.
#4 : Your Brain Reacts to Sugar Like it’s a Drug
Nobody likes feeling depressed, but I bet you didn’t know that spiking your insulin and dopamine throughout the day, with sugar, can impact your brain and cause it to fall into states of withdrawal and depression.
Sugar boosts your dopamine, our motivational chemical, in a drug like manner rather than a food like manner.
Download a lists of foods and drinks that naturally boost your dopamine the healthy way.
#5: Sugar is Worse than Cholesterol
If you haven’t heard the controversial finding that cholesterol isn’t the main cause for cardiovascular disease then you’ve heard it hear.
In “The Great Cholesterol Myth” Dr. Sinatra asserts that we’ve been misled for years by pharmaceutical companies who creatively report their research results that cholesterol is the cause for cardiovascular disease and death.
When in fact one of the real culprits of cardiovascular disease is inflammation. And what’s a sure way to get inflamed? That’s right, by eating sugar!
#6 Leads to Type 3 Diabetes- Brain Diabetes?
“Type 3 diabetes” is a term coined by Brown University neuropathologist Suzanne de la Monte, MD. In her research, her team discovered the links between high-fat diets, insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s disease.
As it turns out, according to her research, Alzheimer’s is a metabolic disease, where the brain looses its ability to use glucose and produce energy. So it’s kinda like having brain diabetes.
# 7: Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver
If you’re not drinking wine by the bottle every evening then how could you possibly get a fatty liver? Well, as it turns out your liver metabolizes alcohol and sugar in the same way.
So any excess fructose in your diet, from added sugars in your food, has to get stored somewhere and your liver is very helpful in storing it as fat.
A fatty liver can lead to scarring of liver tissue and liver impaired function. The liver is one thing you want working efficiently 24/7 for overall vibrant and feeling good health.
So number the #7 reason of more visceral fat ties into inflammation. You see visceral fat and cortisol snow ball into inflammation. Inflammation is probably the most common cause of degenerative diseases like cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. On a more personal note, whenever I’m inflamed my brain isn’t happy and I feel tense.
I once took an inflammation medicine for a yoga injury, I know how do you get a yoga injury-I was doing that pose where you stand on one leg and kick the other leg up and behind you so that it’s peaking over your head, hahaha.
Anyhow my body felt really good after taking an anti-inflammatory and my face even softened up. So less inflammation also ties into less frowning, which means less wrinkles. Again nothing wrong with pre-mature aging, looking old and getting wrinkles.
#9: Bad For Your Teeth
Oh yeah, forgot about that one.
Seems obvious, but I think most of us forget that od’ing on gummy worms and chocolate chip cookies can lead to cavities and inflamed gums.
Consumption of processed foods (which are laced with sugar) cost the American public more than $54 billion in dental bills each year, so the dental industry reaps huge profits from the programmed addiction of the public to sugar products.
NO wonder my dentist told me he doesn’t like seeing patients like me. He wasn’t joking!
#10: Gain Unhealthy Fat!
This is pretty obvious. But more importantly is that sugar adds up to more visceral fat. And the more visceral fat you have, that is the fat surrounding your organs, then the more you’re body is going to create the hormone cortisol. Cortisol equates to stress, and well I’d rather feel invigorated than stressed out.
Factoid: Did you know that a serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage is associated with a 60% increased risk for obesity.
#11: Candida Yeast Overgrowth
If you haven’t checked out my Gut-Brain Smoothies Book you should. Taking care of your gut is probably the single most important way to eliminate unhealthy symptoms and feel more vibrant, healthy and unstoppable.
Candida albicans are the bad bacteria in our gut. We want less of the bad bacteria because it can lead to skin rashes, autoimmune disorders, foggy brain and fatigue.
Candida loves any sugar you feed it and that is how it grows and highjacks your gut health forcing you to do what it wants. Not good.
Eliminating sugar, in all its forms, will starve candida yeast and set you on the right track to feeling better.
#12: My Friends and I don’t Do Moody Very Well
Before my best friend finally listened to me and got on the band wagon of giving up his 4 servings of sugar a day he was a pissy, moody bloke. We never knew what unpredictable tantrum would leash out at us.
Fortunately, once he completely ditched sugar, for health reasons, we were in a cloud of awwww.
You don’t have to be a two year old toddler to feel the roller coaster effects of consuming sugar. Sugar has no bias and effects everyone equally by boosting huge amounts of dopamine into your brain. Unlike, its sister neurotransmitter serotonin, dopamine triggers addiction rather than happiness.
When the flood of dopamine gets used up by your brain you experience the sugar crash and need another boost in order to deal with the extreme swing in brain chemistry.
When I did the six month stint of no sugar, I was constantly happy, got promoted, became more confident and my life completely changed. Who knows maybe the same will happen for you. If not, at least you’ll experience the top 5 benefits of quiting sugar. Keep us in the loop.
#13: Diabetes That Can lead to Blindness
When is the last time you were grateful for your ability to see? It’s one of the things we tend to take for granted. By eliminating those doughnuts at the office from your diet you help keep diabetes at bay so that you can continue to scroll you’re mobile device throughout the wee hours of the morning and walk without a walking stick.
Also, taking actions that prevent diabetes and some of it’s terrible symptoms can become an act of gratitude for all the health you possess at this moment.
#14: Tricks Your Brain Into Thinking You Didn’t Eat
Hunger pangs are normal and help us know when we need some fuel to nourish our cells and brain. But when we eat sugar the normal hormonal response that tells us that we’re full, shuts down.
Without knowing that you just ate a whole baguette or a piece of chocolate cake you get tricked into believing you’re still hungry and will probably need to go grab another bite, cha-ching.
#15: Skin Breakouts and Dull Skin
Hormonal imbalances often lead to skin breakouts like acne. Consuming too much hidden sugars, or going gung-ho on a pint of ice-cream definitely puts your insulin hormone out of balance.
So limiting the intake of sugar will help keep your insulin hormone in balance and not trigger skin outbreaks. Of course you also want to eat skin healthy foods.
#16: Debilitates Your Short-term Memory
When we eat sugar the bacteria in the intestines that manufacture B vitamin complexes, necessary for healthy neurological function, begin to die off.
In effect our B vitamin complex levels decline and decrease our ability for short term memory, makes us sleepy and decreases a mathematical ability.
Side note to vegans; you should always find ways to get B vitamins into your diet for healthy neurological function. You can get B vitamins from food sources or supplements.
#17: Lowers Your Immune System
Having a healthy immune system is important for warding off infections and viruses.
However, the extra insulin in the bloodstream from eating sugar inhibits the release of our growth hormone and therefore depresses our immune system. We then become more susceptible to illness; and increase our risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
So you’ll definitely want to stay off the sugar during the flu and cold season. Did you know that one can of soda pop can turn off your immune system for at least one hour!
#18: Makes You Stinky
When the body is overwhelmed with a suppressed immune system, visceral fat, decreased liver and kidney function and poor digestion, you better believe you’re gonna have some funky body order and bad breath.
I met this guy once and he was drop dead gorgeous, my friend even came to me and said, “hey, have you seen such and such guy in town?” I was like yeah, he asked me out to lunch. But get this he had such bad breath that in the car you could smell it from the distance. I was curious why, but I never told him hey you “stink.”
Most likely if you have bad breath you might not even know it, and 9 out of 10 people probably will feel to embarrassed to tell you.
So while body order and bad breath can affect your social life it can also affect your professional life, and who wants to lose out on more money.
#19: Increases Your Risk for Cancer
Sugar compromises the body’s natural ability to fight off free-radicals with it’s endogenous anti-oxidants. A less anti-oxidant rich internal environment increases the risk for cancer.
#20 You’ll Be Dragging Your Feet
I don’t like feeling schlumpy (is that a word?) and slow. But that’s what happens when you eat sugary foods for lunch and snacks.
Eliminate the sugar and you’ll be zipping past your colleagues as they schlump through the office after lunch, that is if they haven’t fallen asleep.
“Anything in moderation” is a misleading cliche. First and foremost sugar is not a food group, it has no nutritional value, zero protein, nada healthy fats (nada is Spanish for nothing) and it lacks enzymes. As you can now see the only thing sugar does is add a lot of extra health problems for you to carry around.
And while I’m all for the theory that our bodies need a little poison to stay strong I think we can both agree that sugar is just too addictive to take in moderation. In fact sugar is more addictive that cocaine, and we’d never take cocaine in moderation. Right?
Even when we think we’ve got control over our sugar intake we usually don’t.
And maybe that in itself is reason enough to break the sweet love affair with sugar. I’d love to hear what you think, comment below.
Factoid: Did you know that the chemical formula for cocaine is C17H21NO4 and the chemical formula for sucrose is C17H22O11, that’s just one Nitrogen short of cocaine and a few extra oxygens. In fact sugar and cocaine are both extracted from plant sources and both extremely addictive.