Let me just start off this post with a confession.
I am a recovering sugar-aholic.
I didn't just use to have a sweet tooth... I had a whole mouth full of them! Yes, just a couple years ago... I was visiting the cupcake bakery down the street from me 2-3 times a week. Literally. I would have something sweet for dessert every night, be it a cupcake, a brownie or a bowl of ice cream.
I never was much into candy, so I didn't really have that a lot. But when I did crave something from the candy aisle, it was usually something pretty hardcore like sweet tarts, pixie sticks or even Fun Dip. Ya know, basically the ones that were just STRAIGHT-UP SUGAR.
Even though I haven't really drank soda since I was a little girl, I did also love me some lemonade, energy drinks and of course, sweet tea (I do live in NC after all).
But like most people, I never really gave any of it much thought. Except maybe for the occasional warning from the dentist to make sure I brushed my teeth to avoid cavities. That is, until my health started going downhill and I started paying more attention to what I was putting in my body.
Could sugar really be that harmful other than maybe needing a filling or two?
The answer was overwhelmingly YES.
As I started doing more and more research and started learning more about the foods that we eat and the effects that they have on our bodies, I was shocked to find out just how lethal sugar can be.
It was enough to make me cut out the cupcake habit, that's for sure. But ya know what's interesting? After I was forced to cut out sugar completely while on a restricted diet from my doctor, my body sort of "reset" itself. To the point where, after I came off of the diet, I didn't even really want sugar anymore. And when I thought I wanted it (meaning my head wanted it more than my body), I physically couldn't even eat it.
Like the time when I attempted the Godiva Chocolate cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory because it was gluten free. What once would've easily been my favorite part of the meal nauseated me after just two bites. I had to send it home with my friend instead.
But enough about me. Do you want to know why you should start avoiding sugar like... yesterday?
Here are 6 reasons:
1. It can damage your liver.
If you think only alcohol can damage your liver, think again. Eating a lot of sugar can overload the liver, causing it to turn fructose (a simple sugar) into fat, which can lead to fatty liver disease.
2. It can cause weight gain and obesity.
Excess fructose intake promotes belly fat and because the calories in sugar are "empty," they do not signal your brain that you are full or tell you to stop eating. This can lead to an increased caloric intake, which will turn to fat, if not burned off properly with exercise.
3. It can cause high cholesterol and heart disease.
While many people are only worried about fat intake when it comes to heart disease and high cholesterol, they should be worried about their sugar intake. Sugar raises both triglyceride levels and blood glucose & insulin levels, all of which are major contributing factors to heart disease.
4. It can cause diabetes.
This one may not surprise you, but you may be surprised at just how easily you could be at risk. When sugar interrupts metabolic function in the body, insulin resistance can result. When insulin is not working properly, glucose in the blood does not get burned off as it should. The resulting high levels of glucose in the blood are a leading cause of diabetes, particularly type II.
5. It can cause (and feed) cancer.
Cancer manifests in the body as an uncontrolled multiplication of cells. Since insulin is one of the key hormones involved in regulating this type of cell growth, insulin resistance/elevated insulin levels can make the body more susceptible to cancer. Like wise, the continued ingestion of sugar in patients dealing with cancer, can cause the diseased cells to grow and multiply.
6. It is more addictive than cocaine.
Yes, you read that right. Studies have actually shown that sugar is EIGHT times more addictive than cocaine. Eating sugar causes the brain to release the "feel good" chemical, dopamine. In fact, people who kick their sugar "habit" can often take as long as six weeks to break their addiction and can even experience withdrawal symptoms.
If you're not convinced yet, that's only the tip of the iceberg. But the good news is, you CAN break your habit. And you CAN still enjoy desserts without refined sugars! Believe me, if I can do it, you can do it.
Check out my new e-course "DeClutter, DeTox, DeStress" for more information, recipes, healthy sugar alternatives, shopping guides and more!
And care enough about your health and your future to kick sugar to the curb! You'll be SO glad you did!