We aren’t going to discuss at length the pros and cons of sugar today. Sugar isn’t good or bad – it really depends on the individual on 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 sugar is important, but we can also all agree that the average American gets too much sugar and there are benefits to giving up sugar.
In our article, Sugar’s Bitter Aftertaste, we talk about some of the ways sugar is harmful and about how much sugar consumption has increased. In the early 1900’s the average American family ate 5 pounds of sugar and you know families can be large! Now the average American eats 146 pounds of sugar in a year. Let that sink in. One person is eating almost 30 times the amount of sugar that a whole family did. 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 sugars.
Taking 30 days to cut sugars out of your diet is a great way to reset the body. We recently started a month long challenge to give up sugar with lots of excited participants. There are many long-term benefits of giving up sugar. Excessive sugar consumption is bad for your heart, it has led to high rates of diabetes, and it actually feeds cancer. There are benefits you will notice after just a short time of giving up sugar. The first few weeks are hard but the benefits of giving up sugar are worth it. Here are a few of my favorites that many people experience 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 then 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 find out about the great benefit of reduced joint pain! Sugar can be very inflammatory and make it hard for your body to properly break down sugar which can harm your joints. Chronic inflammation can lead to other long-term effects and the pain is your body telling you that you need to make changes.
3 – Great for Skin
Like I 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 which can lead 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 and a fatty liver can lead to long term damage.
5 – Lift the Brain Fog
Studies have shown that excessive sugar can be bad for your mental clarity and can lead to depression. Giving up sugar can help your body reset and lift the fog. If you have brain fog, it is likely that you have some form of sugar dysregulation. It could be a problem with cortisol, sugar regulation, or your liver might need a break. Long term effects of excessive sugar consumption are that sugar actually shrinks your brain. Breaking the sugar habit is good for you for 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 that it’s easy. Here’s a few tips to help you get through the transition until you start seeing the results of taking care of your body. Starting with a 30 challenge of giving up processed foods and food that have higher sugar content is good 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 common as your body is detoxing from sugar. Knowing this doesn’t change how uncomfortable it can be but will set your mind at ease that it’s normal. Everybody is different and may have different 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 will be hard 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 is important 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 blood stream. It’s important to keep things moving to help move those toxins out of your blood stream. Other great ways to do this are on a vibe plate or by doing light exercise like walking or yoga.
Make it a Group Effort and Make it Fun
You have to enjoy the journey. That’s what life is all about. It won’t be easy but find ways to make it fun. Having a support team or giving up sugar as a group can make the whole process a lot more enjoyable and you will have someone to turn to.
When you are feeling like garbage that’s when the haters will come out. They all have an opinion about sugar and of course their opinion is right. 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 that is taking hold at younger ages as we see more adolescents that have prediabetes and are on the road to diabetes. People of all ages are consuming to much sugar and this can lead to so 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!
Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn