We aren’t going to discuss at length the pros and cons of sugar today. Sugar, in the broad sense, isn’t good or bad – it really depends on the individual how much sugar is good. Our body needs sugar to function and for our brains to operate. Every cell in our body needs sugar for the energy to perform physiological processes. We can all agree that sugar is essential, but we can also agree that the average American gets too much dietary sugar, and there are benefits to giving up sugar.
In our article, Sugar’s Bitter Aftertaste, we discuss why sugar is harmful and how sugar consumption has increased over time. In the early 1900s, the average American family ate 5 pounds of sugar, and you know families can be large! Now the average American consumes 146 pounds of sugar in a year. Let that sink in. One person now eats almost 30 times the amount of sugar a whole family did in the past. That amount of sugar isn’t good for anyone.
Breaking the Sugar Addiction
There are benefits to giving up sugar which can break the addiction and reset your taste buds. Yes, sugar is addicting. It has been shown that the brain finds it more rewarding than cocaine. So, all the sugar hiding in our foods gets us even more addicted to sugar.
Taking 30 days to cut sugars from your diet is a great way to reset the body. Each year, we at The Wellness Way do a month-long “no sugar” challenge with many excited participants. There are many long-term benefits of giving up sugar. Excessive sugar consumption is harmful to your heart, it’s led to high rates of diabetes, and it feeds cancer. You’ll notice benefits within a short time of giving up sugar. The first few weeks are challenging, but the benefits of giving up sugar are worth it. Here are a few favorite benefits that many people report, but there are so many more.
5 Common Benefits of Giving Up Sugar
- More Energy
- Reduced Joint Pain
- Great for Skin
- Weight Loss
- Lift Brain Fog
1 – More Energy
Many people experience more energy after they have broken their addiction to sugar. Yes, that sugary coffee will give you a short burst of energy, but you crash later. By giving up sugar, you might find you don’t need that sugary coffee to get through the day.
2 – Reduced Joint Pain
Many patients give up sugar for other health reasons, but then they discover the benefit of reduced joint pain! Sugar can be very inflammatory and make it hard for your body to break down sugar, harming your joints. Chronic inflammation can lead to other long-term effects; the pain is your body telling you that you need to make changes.
3 – Great for Skin
As mentioned, sugar is very inflammatory, and chronic inflammation can show up on your skin when you eat sugary, processed foods. It keeps collagen from doing its job, leading to sagging and wrinkles. The inflammation caused by sugar can also lead to acne. If you give up sugar, you might see the benefits on your face!
4- Weight Loss
Many will experience weight loss when they break the sugar addiction. There are many roadblocks to weight loss, and excessive sugar can be one of them. It is addictive and can lead to overeating when it hides in processed foods. It isn’t the only cause of weight gain but it can contribute to your weight gain. Testing can help you get to the bottom of any unexplained weight gain and help you find out if excessive sugar has damaged how your body processes sugars. Here’s the other thing: if you’re fat, so is your liver; a fatty liver can lead to long-term damage.
5 – Lift the Brain Fog
Studies have shown that excessive sugar can be bad for mental clarity and may lead to depression. Giving up sugar can help your body reset and lift the fog. If you have brain fog, you likely have some form of sugar dysregulation. It could be a problem with cortisol or sugar regulation, or your liver might need a break. One of the long-term effects of excessive sugar consumption is that sugar actually shrinks your brain. Breaking the sugar habit is helpful for both short-term and long-term health.
Tips for Successfully Breaking the Sugar Addiction
Giving up sugar is good for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Here are a few tips to help you get through the transition until you start seeing the results of taking care of your body. Beginning with a 30-day challenge of giving up processed and high-sugar foods is an excellent way to break the sugar addiction.
Expect Some Side Effects as the Body Detoxes from Sugar
Weakness, headaches, sleeplessness, tiredness, and other side effects are to be expected as your body is detoxing from sugar. Knowing this doesn’t change how uncomfortable it can be, but it will set your mind at ease that it’s normal. Everybody is different and may have varying side effects.
Self-care and Reflection
During this time, be kind to yourself. Take time to find ways to treat yourself because the side effects can be intense, and giving up sugar can be difficult. That might mean a massage, sauna, meditation, or journaling. Food is very emotional, and breaking the sugar addiction can also be very emotional, so allow time to work through that.
Drain Those Lymphatics
That massage is not only great for self-care, but it helps to drain the lymphatics. This process is vital as your body detoxes from the sugar. As you remove sugars from your diet, your body starts breaking down fat from the liver. When the body does this, toxins will also circulate in your bloodstream. It’s essential to keep things moving to help remove toxins from your bloodstream. Other great ways to do this are standing on a vibe plate or doing light exercises like walking or yoga.
Make it a Group Effort and Have Some Fun
You have to enjoy the journey. That’s what life is all about. It won’t be easy, but you can find ways to make it fun. Having a support team or giving up sugar as a group can make the whole process much more enjoyable, and you will have someone to turn to during challenging times.
When you’re feeling like garbage, that’s when the haters will come out. They all have an opinion about sugar, and, of course, their views are correct. Trust in your decision to take control of your sugar addiction and ignore the haters. They aren’t worth arguing with, and they might come back later for your advice when they see how healthy you get.
Breaking the Sugar Addiction
Giving up sugar for a time will help you break your sugar addiction, an addiction taking hold at younger ages as we see more adolescents with prediabetes who are on the road to diabetes. People of all ages consume too much sugar, which is leading to many adverse health effects. Just because the average American eats 146 pounds of sugar a year doesn’t mean you have to. You can take back control and give yourself better health. Enjoy the benefits of giving up sugar!