9 Motivating Reasons To Nix Added Sugar (That Have Nothing To Do With Your Weight)
Let’s face it — we could all probably use a little assistance in the sugar department. No matter how hard we try to avoid it, added sugar has a way of sneaking into far too many foods we eat. And when those cravings strike, forget it. You know we’re going all in on that pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
But what if we had more substantial reasons to compel us to say “no” to sugar other than simply because “it’s bad for us?” And furthermore, what are the reasons that won’t just end in a lecture about healthy body weight? Because we’re all pretty much over that. Well, here are nine new motivators worth considering.
1. You’ll benefit your blood sugar levels (and energy).
Cutting back on added sugar means you won’t experience nearly as many (or as severe) blood sugar spikes and upswings — not to mention the crazy uncomfortable crashes that follow. Your food choices will likely be lower on the Glycemic Index, meaning your body will digest what you eat more slowly and release energy over time rather than all at once. So you’ll avoid those highs and lows, stabilizing your energy levels right in that coveted middle ground.
2. You’ll be in a better mood.
A 2013 Harvard University study found a direct correlation between higher sugar intake and increased rates of both anxiety and depression. So the better handle you have on the sweet stuff, the more regulated your moods could become, leaving you feeling like a much happier (and more stable) human being. Who wouldn’t want that?
3. You’ll ditch a major cancer risk.
This is a big one. An alarming number of cancer cases today can be attributed to lifestyle choices, and one of those is our sugar consumption. Researchers suggest that sugar helps fuel the growth of various cancers due to how it negatively impacts the liver and insulin levels over time. People who eat more sugary foods are more likely to develop advanced cancer cases in their lifetimes.
4. You’ll avoid that annoying brain fog feeling.
If you struggle with a shorter attention span, added sugar already isn’t one of your BFFs. It can lead to serious bouts of brain fog and impact your ability to both learn new information and recall it later on down the road. But by limiting your added sugar intake, you can create an opportunity for those brain clouds to dissipate so you can feel more on top of your game for more hours in the day.
5. You’ll find that naturally sweet food actually tastes sweet on its own.
If you commit to a serious added sugar detox for just a month, you will notice incredible differences not just in the ways you crave food, but in how sweet normal (read: unprocessed) foods actually taste. If you give your taste buds a little time to press that reset button, you just might find that the sweetness you desire can come from fruits and nuts. Delectable desserts aren’t the only thing that will satisfy your palate anymore.
6. You’ll avoid a shitton of unnecessary inflammation.
Seriously, do you have any idea just how much inflammation in the body is caused by overdoing it with added sugar? It’s truly shocking. The substance leads to chronic, low-grade inflammation from your brain to your abdomen, causing a slew of health issues from dementia to metabolic syndrome. So if you’re already experiencing inflammation-related health issues — or just want to avoid them as much as possible as you age — leave that added sugar alone.
7. You’ll make your dentist much happier.
We’ve known this one since we were little kids, right? Sneaking a bunch of Halloween candy just before bed is going to result in a not-so-fun trip to the dentist’s office, and the same goes for consistently over-indulging in added sugar. But avoiding it can help you reduce the amount of plaque that forms on your teeth in a given period of time, making dental cleanings easier, tooth decay less of a risk and fillings a distant memory of the past.
8. You’ll probably sleep better.
Since so much added sugar tends to spike our blood sugar levels, as well as leave us feeling more stressed and anxious than before mealtime, it’s logical to suggest that avoiding the sweet stuff could make your nighttime routine a lot easier. We bet that swapping your late-night, sugary treat for a cup of herbal tea will dramatically improve the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep, as well as the quality of rest you achieve once you drift off.
9. You’ll enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with kicking an addiction.
Thanks to the way our Western food culture has evolved, leaving added sugar behind is so freaking hard. But that also means that it’s quite the feat when you do it, and that’s something worth celebrating. Regaining a sense of control over your diet and your body can be one of the most empowering experiences when it comes to your health, and we think that’s always a goal worth striving for.