This post is by OYS writer Melissa. You can read more about Melissa here and see all of her other posts here. Check out Melissa’s blog Nutrition and Wellness for Life. She offers wellness consultation services that focus on helping you eat better and exercise more. She also has a FB page!!
If you missed my post on how to quit sugar, you can read it here. I wrote that post in response to a lot of people asking for help with sugar addiction. So I do hope it was helpful. But then I started thinking about all of the people out there who truly don’t know why they need to kick the sugar habit. They know it is bad for them, but they may not know all of the reasons why. I set out to write an informational post, not to scare you, but to motivate you to start reducing your sugar intake. Once you read this post and understand what is at stake, go back to my other post for ways to make it happen. And look in the coming months for more posts with even more specific tips for overcoming a sugar addiction.
This is probably one of the most well-known effects of a diet high in sugar. It can lead to insulin resistance, which is the path to developing diabetes. We all know what diabetes involves, right? Daily finger pricks and possibly insulin injections…with needles. That Snickers bar is not worth a lifetime of self-inflicted pain.
#3. It slows you down
When your body is given large amounts of sugar, it goes through a short period of what could be considered a high. You feel like you have all of this energy…and then you crash. Then you feel like you have a hangover, haven’t slept in days, and you cannot focus to save your life. This is not a good situation to be in when you are at work or trying to take care of children. When you eat a balanced diet throughout the day, focusing on protein, veggies, fruit, and whole grains, your blood sugar stays at a nice even level, allowing you to focus on what you need to get done. And we all have a ton to get done all the time, don’t we?
#3. It puts a damper on your ability to think
This goes right along with #2. Your mental abilities will also slow down along with your physical energy level. You will literally feel like your mind is fuzzy and you can’t concentrate. It can even lead to headaches and migraines for some people. Your brain is your body’s control center. Why would you want to incapacitate it?
#4. It makes you fat
Sugar does not have any redeeming qualities. There are no vitamins or minerals to brag about. All you are getting is empty calories. And those empty calories are going to turn to fat. That fat will especially settle around your midsection, which can be super stubborn to remove. For a period of time in the 80s and 90s, people believed that fat made you fat. We now know better. We need fats in our diet, mostly the good kind. So when you consume low-fat or fat-free food items, know that the manufacturer replaced those fats with sugar. And sugar turns to fat. So you really aren’t doing any good by eating those products.
#5. It makes you eat more
Because sugar has no redeeming qualities, it will not satisfy your appetite like a snack filled with protein and good carbs will do. It will actually make you want to eat more. And we all know what happens when you eat more (see #4).
#6. It leads to inflammation
Inflammation has recently been recognized as the leading cause of a long list of common diseases, including cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Your body’s organs, specifically the kidneys and liver, have to work extra hard to process the excess sugar you are eating. This can cause those organs to slow down. The inflammation that occurs in your body causes all of your systems to slow down and not function properly. This leaves the door open for disease to develop.
#7 . It weakens the immune system
This goes hand in hand with #6. If you consume a lot of sugar, ask yourself…are you sick often? If so, it could be because your body’s immune system is weakened by all of the sugar it is trying to process. Once you cut sugar out of your diet, you should see an improvement in your immunity and ability to fend off colds.
#8. It’s expensive
All of the foods you are eating that contain a lot of sugar are expensive. Candy, cookies, cakes, donuts, etc. These are not cheap grocery items. Think of the money you could save if you switched from buying a bag of candy to a bag of apples. Also, I know it’s difficult to think long-term, but your sugar habit will really cost you money in the long run when you are paying for doctor bills, prescriptions, and other health care related costs because of a condition you now have from poor nutrition choices in the past. It’s worth it to spend a little more now on healthy foods than to spend a lot later on treating a disease.
#9. It leads you to make other poor food choices
When you succumb to sugar, your body will also crave empty carbs in the form of other junk food. This is the same as when you make healthy choices, it usually leads to more healthy choices. By decreasing your sugar intake, your body will start to crave the good stuff, like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. You won’t even want sugary snacks after a while.
#10. It ages you
This is one of the lesser known effects of eating too much sugar. Apparently, it breaks down the collagen in your skin. Collagen is responsible for keeping your skin tight and fresh looking. When collagen breaks down, you start to see sagging and wrinkles. Now we are all going to age, but why speed it up with a bad food choice?
Do you struggle with sugar? What are some questions you have?