10 Reason to Stop Eating Sugar
We are eating sugar in almost every bite we take and we don’t even realize it. From canned beans to bread, from peanut butter to pizza, added sugar is in almost everything we consume. The average American is eating more than three times the healthy limit of added sugars per day.
As part of my journey to Natural Health & Natural Living I learned that avoiding added sugar made the biggest impact on how my family felt, behaved, and functioned. We felt more clear headed, less fatigued, had better digestion and so much more; when we were able to stop eating sugar that wasn’t naturally occurring in our food.
The easy part of that journey was learning how bad added sugars were, the hard part was finding them all. It is shocking to find many of my most common and bland cooking items contained hidden sugar.
In this post I want to share with you:
- The difference in good sugar and bad sugar
- Where to look for hidden sugar
- 10 health reasons you should stop eating sugar
Is Eating Sugar Always Bad?
Of course not! Our bodies need sugar for fuel. However, the type of sugar and the source of the sugar make a huge difference in how our bodies use it and the effects it will have on our bodies.
Eating sugar that occurs naturally in fruits and veggies is GREAT!
We actually need those.
According to Harvard University:
Sugar occurs naturally in all foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy. Consuming whole foods that contain natural sugar is okay. Plant foods also have high amounts of fiber, essential minerals, and antioxidants, and dairy foods contain protein and calcium. Since your body digests these foods slowly, the sugar in them offers a steady supply of energy to your cells. (1)
Simply said, if it is a food, in its natural form, then it is ok to eat. Eating an apple, even though the sugar content is high, is not unhealthy. Fruit, eaten in moderation as part of a well balanced diet will not cause health issues. On the other hand, eating applesauce or drinking apple juice is not the same even if they don’t have sugar added.
Why? Because eating sugar without the fibers, minerals and proteins that naturally occur in whole foods, gives your body a sugar burst instead of a steady supply of energy; giving you a rush of energy and then a crash.
According to Healthline:
Foods high in added sugar quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to increased energy. However, this rise in energy levels is fleeting. Products that are loaded with sugar but lacking in protein, fiber or fat lead to a brief energy boost that’s quickly followed by a sharp drop in blood sugar…(2)
Basically, simply eat foods in their natural state if you want to reap the most benefit.
Eating sugar: Where is the hidden sugar?
Sugar is added to basically everything these days. Yes, everything. Even many of our canned veggies, that should be just veggie, water & salt have added sugar. Sandwich meats, pasta, bread, soups, gravies, and just about anything else you can think of contains added sugar.
How do I find the hidden sugar and what do I look for?
First of all you READ all labels and look for the word sugar. However, the food industry is tricky and they like to hide sugar under a different name.
Therefore, you must also look for alternative sugar names on the ingredient labels.
Do you know all the alternative names for sugar? If not I’ve made a great resource for you.
Add your first name and email address in the form below and I will send you a FREE, wallet size, printable shopping guide that contains 25 alternative names the industry is using to hide sugar. YES! TWENTY-FIVE!
Eating sugar: How they get sneaky with the label?
Speaking of labels, as well all know, ingredients are listed on the label starting with the ingredients contained in the highest amounts to the lowest. However, did you know, another trick often used by food manufacturers is using three or four types of sugar to make it lower on the ingredient list?
Ingredients are listed by weight, with the main ingredients listed first. This means that the more of something there is in a food, the higher up on the list it appears.
Food manufacturers often take advantage of this. To make their products appear healthier, some use smaller amounts of three or four different types of sugar in one product.
These sugars then appear further down on the ingredients list, making a product look like it’s low in sugar when sugar is actually one of the main ingredients. (2)
10 Reasons to Stop Eating Sugar:
Sugar has many serious health effects, some known, some less known, and some that are down right surprising. Here are the 10 health reasons you should stop eating sugar:
Eating Sugar: The Liver & Pancreas:
When you eat sugar your pancreas pumps out insulin, when you eat more sugar than you should it pumps out too much insulin. Too much insulin causes the liver to become resistant to insulin, causing the pancreas to pump out more. Eventually, the pancreas gets tired and stops producing insulin, which becomes insulin dependent diabetes.
Your liver is also the main organ that breaks down fructose and stores it as glycogen, but it can only store so much. What it can’t store becomes fat deposits on the liver causing Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver disease. The liver is as important as your brain, heart and lungs, so you must protect it.
Eating Sugar: The Heart
Believe it or not eating sugar takes a huge toll on your heart. Remember that fat on the liver mentioned above? Well that gets into the blood stream and deposited around your arteries.
The extra insulin also causes arteries to grow faster and the walls to harden. Eating sugar also adds to body weight and body fat, which in turn leads to higher triglyceride levels, higher inflammation and stress on the heart. You are at much greater risk of a heart attack than someone who eats little added sugar.
Eating Sugar: The Kidneys
The kidneys filter out excess sugar and send it away from the body via the urine. If you are constantly eating sugar, the kidneys become over worked and over saturated with sugar. Eventually,they have a hard time filtering sugar or any of the other toxins in the system. This can, in diabetics, lead to kidney failure.
Eating Sugar: The Joints
Studies have shown that eating too much sugar can lead to inflammation in the body,(because the filtering systems mentioned above are over worked). This inflammation presents itself as joint pain. Other studies show that eating sugar increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Eating Sugar: The Skin: Acne & Aging
Remember when your mom told you eating sugar would cause acne? Well she was somewhat right. According to Healthline, “Sugary foods quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, causing increased androgen secretion, oil production and inflammation, all of which play a role in acne development”(2).
According to WebMd, “Another side effect of inflammation: It may make your skin age faster. Sugar attaches to proteins in your bloodstream and creates harmful molecules called “AGEs,” or advanced glycation end products. These molecules do exactly what they sound like they do: age your skin. They have been shown to damage collagen and elastin in your skin — protein fibers that keep your skin firm and youthful. The result? Wrinkles and saggy skin.” (3)
Eating Sugar: Sexual Dysfunction
According to Brunilda Nazario, MD, WebMD’s associate medical editor, ““One common side effect of chronically high levels of sugar in the bloodstream is that it can make men impotent. This is because it affects your circulatory system, which controls the blood flow throughout your body and needs to be working properly to get and keep an erection.” This would also hold true for women, since increased blood flow to the pelvic region is needed to “get in the mood”.(3)
Eating Sugar: CANCER
No, not because cancer cells eat sugar… However, studies show that obesity and chronic inflammation can lead to an increased risk of cancer. Both of which can be caused by the effects of increased sugar consumption on the liver and other systems.
A PubMed study in over 430,000 people found that eating added sugar too often was positively associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer, pleural cancer and cancer of the small intestine. (4)
Eating Sugar: Dementia
Research shows that chronic inflammation, along with plaques caused by fatty liver disease can make their way to the brain, where they build up and can be a cause of dementias. When my father in law was struggling with dementia, one of the top researchers in the field told us that certain dementias are being referred to as Type 3 Diabetes. She said, when there are dramatic spikes and dips in blood sugar levels they are often not caught by tests such as the A1C. This could possibly lead to unregulated blood sugars and eventually brain damage.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine also shows that:
During a median follow-up of 6.8 years, dementia developed in 524 participants (74 with diabetes and 450 without). Among participants without diabetes, higher average glucose levels within the preceding 5 years were related to an increased risk of dementia ; with a glucose level of 115 mg per deciliter (6.4 mmol per liter) as compared with 100 mg per deciliter (6)
Eating Sugar: The Brain & Depression
Did you know that eating sugar causes a huge surge in your feel good chemical “dopamine”? This chemical makes you so happy, but when you don’t get sugar it crashes, leaving you feeling depressed and craving more sugar. It is the exact same way that most addictive drugs work. You won’t get a high per say, but you do get a “rush”. This is why, when you quit eating as much sugar, you will have a “withdrawal” period. You will actually find yourself, weepy, angry, and just blah for a period of 1-2 weeks while your body learns to regulate your “feel goods” again.
Researchers also believe that sugar swings, neurotransmitter regulation issues, and chronic inflammation that can be caused by added sugar consumption, lead to a chronic depressive state in the brain.(5)
Yes everyone knows eating sugar in excess can cause weight gain but do you know why? It isn’t just weight that sugar adds to your body. It also adds the deep belly fat that is nearly impossible to get rid of and can even build up around your internal organs. This can quickly get out of control because the more sugar you eat, the more you need, the more you crave. Sugar is a DRUG! It also causes a resistance to leptin, which is the hormone that tells you when you are full, in turn causing you to eat more food.
Sugar causes obesity, obesity leads to many other health problems including the ones listed above and other things like:
*Adrenal Gland Fatigue
*and a host of other issues
As you can see added sugar is hidden everywhere and it is terrible for your health. Also, these are just 10 of the many reasons to stop eating sugar and become diligent in your label reading.
There will be more in this series on eating sugar, including:
- Snack Recipes with No Added Sugar
- Grocery Store Finds : No Added Sugar
- Avoiding Artificial Sweeteners like they are real sugar
- Alternative Uses for Sugar
- Preschool Sugar Crafts (because you need to use it for something)
Until that time, thank you for joining me on the hike to healthier living and I hope you’ll stay with me on this journey.
Please leave a comment and tell me how you beat the sugar addiction or what you are doing to cut back. Feel free to comment with ideas and questions you want to see that will help you on your journey to living healthy naturally .
Don’t forget SHARING IS CARING because you want your friends to be healthy too.
Don’t forget to pick up your free guide to avoiding hidden sugar. This printable and portable shopping list contains 25 Alternative names for sugar.
Need some help finding the hidden sugar or quick recipes to help you avoid them? Here are some great resources I have found very helpful in this journey to Natural Living .