One of the biggest no-nos in terms of healthy eating is sugar. Not only does it have a myriad of negative health (and beauty) impacts, but it’s hiding in almost every food you buy. From soup, to salad dressing, to breakfast cereal – getting away from sugar has never been more tricky. Here are how MANY reasons to cut your sugar intake, along with some tips and tricks for how to do it.
It Can Lower Your Blood Pressure And Improve Heart Health
Sugar intake, independently of body weight, can have a negative impact on blood pressure and heart health. Those who consume more than 25% of their calories from sugar are twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who consume 10% or less.
It Will Improve Your Dental Health
Sugar is notorious for wearing away at tooth enamel, which can lead to teeth rotting or needing to be removed. A lot of big culprits from sugar, such as sweet drinks, can also stain teeth and make them appear thinner. Sugar is also an attractive food source for bacteria, so it leads to plaque buildup and halitosis.
It Will Make Skin Appear More Youthful
Follow along here – sugar in the bloodstream attaches to proteins to form advanced glycation end products. These AGEs attack collagen and elastin, which can lead to skin wrinkling and sagging. And that’s not all! They also deactivate skin’s natural antioxidant response, leaving you more susceptible to sun damage.
And Can Minimize Acne
High sugar foods trigger very rapid hormonal fluctuations. This can cause inflammation, which could present itself as acne or other conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Sugar also sucks water out of the skin, causing dehydration and dryness.
It’s An Addiction – But The Longer You Go, The Easier It Gets
Ingesting sugar gives your brain a boost of the feel-good chemical dopamine. But, like with any addictive substance, over time more and more sugar is needed to achieve that same pleasurable sensation. After some time without, though, your brain recovers and no longer has the same addict-like response to the sweet stuff.
So, how to cut down on this health destroying, skin ageing, acne causing, teeth rotting substance?
Here are some tips:
KNOW WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR
Sugar has many different names when it comes to food labels. Look out for ingredients like molasses, corn syrup, or any molecule ending in “ose” (fructose, glucose, etc.), which are all form of sugar.
DITCH FIZZY DRINKS
One of the easiest and most mindless ways people consume sugar is by drinking it. Replacing sodas with water will not only boost hydration but will easily cut down sugar intake. If you’re struggling, try to transition with sparkling water, or fizzy drinks with natural flavors like La Croix.
GO FOR SAVORY
In terms of breakfast, try to switch to things like eggs or avocado toast, and avoid sugary breakfast cereals. If you can’t resist a dessert, suggest sharing to half your sugar intake.
SPICE IT UP
If you’re baking, try reducing the amount of sugar and adding some spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice instead. It’ll boost the flavor while minimizing the health risks.
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