There is no denying that sugary foods are one of the greatest earthly pleasures. Unfortunately, excessive amounts of sugar can be seriously detrimental to your health. Added sugars, i.e., sugars and syrups we add to foods during preparation or processing, do not provide any nutritional benefits. Instead, they only contribute empty calories that negatively affect your health and contribute to weight gain. So, here are eight signs that it may be time to reduce your intake of sugary foods.
Eating sugar can give you a temporary high, after which you will experience an energy decline. Eventually, your blood sugar will crash, leaving you feeling drained and sluggish. You'll find yourself craving sweets to regain that sugar rush. To combat these cravings, try incorporating more fiber and protein into your diet. These nutrients provide lasting energy. Choose foods like eggs, lean chicken, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to satisfy your hunger and keep your energy levels stable.
Sweets and sugary treats have a way of hooking us in, making us crave them over and over again. Research has found that sugary foods can trigger the brain's reward system, just like addictive substances, by releasing dopamine. Interestingly, the mineral chromium might play a role in regulating insulin and keeping our blood sugar levels in check, which could potentially help curb those pesky sugar and carb cravings.
Consuming sugar can give you a quick energy boost, but it won't last long. After that, you'll experience a sudden drop in energy levels, which can make you feel irritable and moody. Although junk food may provide temporary pleasure to your taste buds, it won't have any positive impact on your long-term emotional well-being.
Undesirable bacteria and yeast in our colon produce gas during the fermentation of undigested food. The bad bacteria have a sweet tooth for sugars, while the beneficial bifidobacteria prefer vegetables and are not known to produce gas. Excessive gas production can cause discomfort, bloating, flatulence, and stomach pain after meals.
When we consume sugar, it triggers the release of insulin, which transports the sugar to our organs for energy. However, consuming excessive amounts of sugar signals the body to produce more insulin, leading to insulin resistance over time. As a result, the body becomes less responsive to normal levels of insulin and cannot properly utilize sugar. Insulin resistance leads to weight gain, obesity, and an increased risk of diabetes, as it puts strain on the pancreas.
Maintaining a healthy balance of beneficial gut bacteria is crucial for our immune system, as 70% of it is located in the gut. To ensure optimal immune function, it's important to avoid a diet high in sugar, which can promote the growth of less desirable bacteria and yeast. Consuming a diet rich in fiber is essential for promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. By including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in our diet, we can support the diversity and abundance of these beneficial bacteria.
Consuming too much sugar can adversely affect your skin. Excessive consumption of sugar can trigger an inflammatory response, leading to redness, swelling, and irritation of the skin. If you are prone to acne breakouts triggered by hormonal changes resulting from an insulin surge caused by sugar intake, it is advisable to investigate whether sugar is the culprit if you are experiencing skin problems.
If you consume sugary foods late at night, it can cause a sudden burst of energy when you should be winding down and getting ready to sleep. Serotonin, our "happy hormone," is mainly produced in the gut and plays a crucial role in producing melatonin, the hormone that helps us relax and sleep well. If you struggle with sleep issues, cutting back on sugar and taking care of your gut might be beneficial.
It's almost impossible to completely avoid added sugars in your diet, but it's a smart move to opt for healthier options and prioritize whole foods whenever possible. It's no secret that manufacturers strive to make sugary foods irresistible; it's their job, after all. However, as individuals, we have the power to choose how much unhealthy food we consume.