Does most of your day include some type of sugar craving? Think about it. Many of us feel a need for sugar, whether it’s to satisfy a sweet tooth or give us a perceived energy from our favorite sweet drink. Do you feel like you need sugar just to get going? The idea that sugar gives us energy isn’t completely false. That cupcake with your name on it will give you a boost because it raises your blood sugar, pushing a bit of serotonin to your brain, making you feel happy. Energy from sugary snacks is very temporary, though, and a crash is inevitable. Maybe it’s time to decrease or eliminate your sugar consumption. Here are five reasons you might:
- Sugar increases the appetite.It’s in just about everything. You can find it in alcoholic drinks, soda, cake, coffees, and teas. Our blood sugar rises when we eat and drink these sugary items. Also, refined flours are converted to sugar very quickly. The rising of our blood sugar tells the pancreas to release insulin so it can deliver glucose from the blood into cells. Our blood sugar is quickly lowered and then we feel hungry for sweets…all over again. It’s a very unhealthy cycle to be caught in.
- When we consume too much sugar it can be stored as fat.Our bodies are given signals to keep any excess calories as fat when insulin is released. If we eat too many carb and sugar loaded foods, over time we’ll become insulin resistant, forcing our bodies to release more to function. The more insulin, the more orders to store the excess as fat. Extra fat can promote the development of diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses.
- Sugar makes us tired and cranky.Both our energy and mood plummet with our declining blood sugar. This can make some of us dizzy and shaky. In order to get rid of these uncomfortable feelings we’re likely to reach for what we don’t need…more sugar.
- We’re growing older, faster with sugar.It ages us. And there is something called advanced glycation end-products, aka “AGEs” that is made by sugar and damages the collagen and elastin in our skin, giving it a more wrinkly and droopy appearance.
- Our immune system is at stake.When we eat that piece of cake or drink soda, our pancreas release insulin to lower our blood sugar in order to deliver it to the cells. Our immune system becomes depressed because insulin has inhibited the release of growth hormone. We’re not as capable of keeping infections and colds away.
Hopefully, after reading some of the reasons why it’s smart to reduce or eliminate sugar, you’ll look into some practical steps that will help you get away from it. Some ways to start include: keeping it out of your home so that you don’t have easy access, skipping artificial sweeteners (they increase sweets cravings), and consuming less caffeine (it negatively affects serotonin, so you’ll want sugar for a balance).