What will happen when you’ll quit excess sugar from your diet?
Here are 7 Surprising Things That Happened After I Quit Sugar.
Since I’m a functional health and fitness blogger, people often assume health and fitness experts don’t struggle with cravings. But the truth is that they all didn’t grow up eating leafy greens and avocado.
So far as I’m concerned, I don’t have a sweet tooth. I don’t like sugar-rich confectionery all the time. Yet, this doesn’t mean I don’t love blueberry muffins, milk cake and caramel pie.
Doughnuts and chocolate cookies are my all-time favorite.
Since I love cooking and baking too, it’s very hard for me to avoid making yummy sweet dishes.
My problem is; my one tablespoon of peanut butter is not just a tablespoon.
It’s more than that.
Sometimes it is half a bottle.
Though I’m not a sweet tooth.
But I’m talking about the “craving”. And this is the problem of every second person who is not that much fond of sweets but bears cravings in the tummy.
For the people like me it’s not much harder to fight cravings. I just have to put a little bit of restriction on my “sweet tooth”.
And the fruit I got for that restriction is immensely great.
Slowly when I began to remove many of the high-sugar foods from my diet, I came to see a remarkable difference.
Before I jump into the good things that happened after I quit sugar, I feel it quite necessary to show you how harmful sugar is, especially when you take it in excess.
Here is an event broadcasted by University of California Television (UCTV), where Sugar Science experts from UCSF share the latest research findings on sugar and its impact on health.
Here are the biggest ways my life changed when I ditched sugar for good:
1. I became more aware of my eating habits:
I started to realize just how much I was relying on M&M’s, milk chocolates, pretzels, energy drinks and candies.
To tell the truth, I had no idea how much sugar I was actually consuming until I began reading labels. Slowly and surely, I became more mindful of my choices and created new habits, and ultimately, a new normal around food.
You literally become more aware of your food when you start reading the labels. They gave a list of calories we take in with that product.
1. My energy boosted many folds:
“Simple sugars, such as those found in candy bars, soft drinks, and white bread, are a recipe for an energy crash. Your body can burn them faster, so you’ll get an initial energy boost, but then crash as soon as the effects wear off. The effects of sugar usually only last about 30 minutes to an hour, which isn’t enough to get you through the day.”
Initially, when I stopped using the extra amount of sugar, I felt lethargic.
All the time. Even just I woke up in the morning.
But after a few days, I made some adjustments.
I made myself to rely on my own body’s ability to produce energy.
I subtracted “energy boosters” from my routine.
Within a few days, I found that even a small amount of sugar was enough to fuel me up.
2. My sleep cycle improved:
How does sugar affect your sleep?
Dr. Aaron Lindzon better explains this:
“You may feel some digestive upset while you’re trying to fall asleep. This rings true for eating anything too close to the bed, reminding us that we need to do our best to “close the kitchen” by a certain time each night in order to take indigestion out of the equation.”
I started being careful with the kinds of sugar I intake. Especially before bed.
That fixed amount of sugar that is actually a fuel for my body, I kept it for the daytime.
A lack of sleep is also linked to increasing hunger hormone ghrelin. Consuming less sugar before bed helped me sleep better. This, in turn, helped with less sugar cravings the next day.
This is a strange sugar cycle. But I stuck to it firmly.
The first victory for me was to get up with the sunrise.
And finally, I became a morning person.
3. I got fair skin:
I had naturally had a fair complexion and clear skin.
Over time it faded away. It lost all of its shine and vigor.
Perhaps due to my poor eating and sleeping habits.
Whatever, I thought it was sugar that skipped away healthy food from the picture.
And that is true.
According to Dr. Saya Obayan, MD, MPH, FAAD, a certified clinical dermatologist:
“Sugar causes inflammation as it is inflammatory in nature. When you eat a lump of excess sugar, after digestion, it enters into blood vessels causing inflammation. It not only affects insulin formation but also causes acne on the skin.”
She further adds:
“Inflammation may also lead to other skin issues like eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. It’s better to avoid excessive sugar intake.”
4. I lost weight:
When I was eating sugar, I was overweight.
I mean to say obese.
I couldn’t lose weight when I added two tablespoons of sugar in my tea and coffee. And other sweet dishes too were enriched with sweetness of sugar.
According to the American Heart Association’s recommendation, 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 per day for men is enough to maintain a healthy heart and body. But an average American eats heaped 20 teaspoons of sugar every day, according to U.S. government figures. This is much more than the suggested figure.
One reason for the increase in child obesity in the United States is that children consume more than 11 percent of their caloric requirement from sugary beverages, sweets, candies and cakes, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Rae-Ellen Kavey, MD, MPH.
The question is; how can sugar promote weight gain and obesity?
When you eat a good amount of sugar, your pancreas starts secreting “insulin”, a hormone that processes the food into blood sugar and sends it to your body’s cells for energy use.
If you eat sugary foods excessively, your pancreas tends to produce a large amount of insulin at once. This prompts your body to start storing fat. The insulin surge then causes your blood sugar levels to drop immediately, leaving you feeling tired and hungry again.
Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet may make you feel less hungry, promoting weight loss.
I remember, I had a hard time building muscle mass and was constantly craving sweets. Once I decreased sugar consumption, my body stopped using glucose as fuel and looked to burn fat more readily.
Weight loss became easy for me. Since I left sugar, I managed to lose 20lbs and I’m waiting to lose more.
5. I got peace of mind:
Sugar plays a vital role in how we respond to external stress.
Let me tell you.
Blood sugar level highly determines how you respond to external stress.
When you keep it between the glucose levels of 75 to 95 (ng/dl) your body functions at the best. The more time you spend outside of this range, the more your body feels stressed and anxious.
It’s that simple.
When you experience regular stress, the adrenal glands make more of a stress hormone known as “cortisol”. Along with managing stress in the mind, cortisol also manages your blood sugar. Whenever your blood sugar level shifts too fast, your adrenal glands release cortisol to pull it back to normal again. Imbalance blood sugar can make you feel the same as you would feel when an agent makes you tense, frustrated, furious or frightened.
This is a science-packed fact and I hope I make you understand it in a simple way.
White sugar is nevertheless silent brain damage. I understand this when I quit sugar.
My workplace efficiency improved.
I became peaceful and started handling things in the way I should do.
Since I ditched, I no longer suffer from weak memory and forgetfulness.
If you are willing to learn self-help techniques to manage stress, read this article.
6. My relationships improved:
Having an ideal weight, more enthusiasm, better mental clarity, and patience greatly affected my relationships.
There is a sweetness in every relationship that is beyond artificial sugar. Our negative attitudes transform that sweetness into bitterness.
I started feeling better about life and this had a big impact on my relationships. I started attracting more positive people into my life.
Look! What great benefits I got simply by skipping two extra spoonfuls of sugar every day.
7. I saved money:
I’ve done the statistics and found that skipping the sugary chocolate bars, sandwich biscuits, lattes, fizzy drinks and cocktails and sweets saves me well over $100 a month. Throughout the year, I save over $1,000. I can now use this amount for buying novels, cooking items, travel, and adventure!
And so many other things…
How did I beat sugar cravings?
Christmas is not far away.
And I know how hard it can be to stop yourself from reaching for the candies and chocolates. Here’s a dose of reality that might have some impact on you:
“Studies show we gain five or more pounds during the holidays, and that we hold onto that weight.”
Though the holiday season typically implies to Thanksgiving parties through Christmas, many people dip them in the sugar when the pumpkins come out. And this longs till that start of January.
Well, let me become the voice of reason right now.
Those few sweet moments of gooey sugary bliss aren’t worth the inevitable toll on your chest, waistline, health, and smartness.
These 10 battle-tested strategies will help you crush cravings and particularly avoid holiday weight gain.
1. Keep that enemy out of your reach:
(Preciously; out of home)
Mine’s chocolate butter’s one tablespoon becomes more than one tablespoon. If you tell yourself you’ll only have 10 sugar-roasted almonds and you eat 50, there’s your trigger food.
Know your enemy.
It will be a temptation.
Even if it’s healthy if you are likely to overeat it, keep it out of your kitchen, side-table, cupboard, office, car, desk, or anywhere.
2. Eat by the plate:
Fix yourself to a single plate.
Add veggies and greens, nuts and lean meat with healthy fats and slow-release high-fiber carbs.
When you eat filling and crave-crushing meals, it naturally balances the blood sugar levels. You’re then far less likely to devour that apple pie your colleague brought in.
3. Follow the clock:
Eat within an hour of waking up. A protein shake for the breakfast is perfect to get your metabolism going for the day. Then eat every four to six hours.
Stop eating three hours before bed.
Let’s face it, when you skip meals or space meals too far apart, you’re going to reach for something easy and quick — which usually means it isn’t healthy.
Follow a proper food routine and avoid skipping meals.
4. Write down everything:
One study found that people who wrote down everything they ate lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t.
They are more precise in shedding pounds than others.
If a supplement made that claim, you would be all over it. The nice thing about journaling is this: Let’s say at 4 p.m. you have this crazy craving.
You can go back and review, “What did I do at lunch? What happened to raise this craving?”
5. Stop, stop, stop snacking:
When you eat every four to six hours, you stabilize your blood sugar and you shouldn’t be hungry.
Between meals, you should be drinking filtered water and crave-busting green tea. If you’re hungry, look at your journal and determine whether you ate enough.
If you’re doing everything correctly yet still get between-meal munchies, reach for some slow-roasted or dehydrated nuts, or maybe a protein shake.
First, just determine whether you’re really hungry or just succumbing to a bad habit.
Sometimes we disguise hunger with thirst. So make sure to be hydrated all day long.
6. Switch to healthier versions of treats:
Pretty much any holiday favorite can get a nutrient-rich, low-blood-sugar-impact upgrade. Quinoa makes a perfect substitute for white rice. A little low-sugar-impact dark chocolate (but take it easy there!) will kick any sweet craving to the curb.
Pretty much any food or drink becomes a lateral-shift opportunity with a little creativity.
Make your treats healthy and enriched with vitamins.
Follow a proper calory chart to add up a recipe. Replace sugar with honey in desserts. Prefer whole wheat flour to all-purpose white flour.
7. Create accountability:
Commit to yourself.
Write down your goal, have a bathroom talk with yourself if you feel tempted at your next social gathering, and remember that little black dress (or maybe skinny jeans) that awaits you for that big New Year’s Eve party.
Am I right?
Commit to be yourself.
Be accountable for what you crave for.
8. Practice gratitude:
A study in the journal Psychiatry showed that people who kept a gratitude experienced more joy and optimism.
“In the frenzy of food and festivities, we can forget the holidays’ true meaning.“
Make your own gratitude list: Remind your family and friends who’ve gathered how much you appreciate them.
You’ll feel great, with no lingering regrets like you’d have with that second piece of caramel pecan pie.
9. Schedule in bliss time:
You’ll strongly agree with me.
We go out of our way to take care of others all day and yet won’t take 30 minutes for deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or otherwise unwinding.
Treat stress management as a priority, incorporating stress-reducing activities (or non-activities) like high-intensity exercise and seven to nine hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep.
10. Follow my three-bite rule:
With numerous high-sugar-impact sweets, desserts, appetizers and other concoctions you’re likely to encounter this holiday season, you’ll probably choose to indulge once or twice.
Eating low-sugar-impact foods doesn’t mean you need to become a wet blanket at social functions.
Mindfully indulge with three polite bites — we’re talking about what you would eat on national TV, not during an 11 p.m. fridge raid – and step away from the dessert!
Armed with these tactics, you’ll be far less likely to give in to whatever momentary sugary bliss awaits you this holiday season.
It took me only three days of withdrawal symptoms. Now I firmly believe that the optimal sugar consumption should be as small as it can be.
What strategy would you add here to divert temptation?
Share yours below!