When it comes to health and dieting, you probably feel like you’ve heard it all …
Don’t eat carbs. Eat more carbs and still lose weight! Count calories. Forget calories, just eat clean!
There is one thing that health experts agree on, and that is the less sugar, the better.
If you have a sweet tooth, the idea of cutting sugar entirely can seem daunting, not to mention unpleasant. But here are the top five reasons you should skip dessert and avoid added sugars completely in the name of health and happiness.
More Sugar, More Problems
- You’re an addict (and you don’t even know it). When you indulge in a sugary treat, your brain releases dopamine, a chemical that makes you feel “rewarded” and happy. Yes, sugar rush is real and has a scientific explanation. Over time, the dopamine response dulls, meaning you need more of the stimulant (sugar, in this case) to achieve the same positive feeling. This is why you go for the second slice of cake or eat the whole pint of ice cream. More sugar = more dopamine = more negative effects of excess sugar in your body.
- You’re gaining weight, and maybe you can’t even pinpoint the cause. The extra calories from added sugars are working against you and your health. Numerous studies have proven that reducing sugar is essential to achieve and maintain weight loss, for the simple reason that excess sugar consumption promotes fat storage and increases hunger, working against you regardless of your health goals.
- You’re putting yourself at risk for diabetes, a fatty liver, disrupted kidney function, and other internal health issues. Excess sugar consumption has been directly linked to developing diabetes, and high levels of blood sugar can cause your kidneys to filter too much blood. When sugar in your liver has nowhere else to go, it sticks around, potentially leading to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. In summary: protect your body, ditch the sugar.
- You’re aging faster, and it’s not from too much sun. You can blame glycation, the process by which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form new molecules that cause damage to adjacent proteins. Two of the proteins most susceptible to damage are collagen and elastin (the things that keep your skin firm and tight). As you age (or as you binge eat sugar), these proteins are attacked. Too much sugar too soon can have you looking much, much older than your age by the time you are 35.
- You want strong, healthy teeth and sugar doesn’t work with you on that. There’s a reason your dentist doesn’t hand out lollipops, and in the realm of oral health, sugar is definitely Public Enemy Number One. The bacteria that become plaque on your teeth feed on sugar and use this energy to multiply, stick to the surface of your teeth, and make it harder for your saliva to do its job of keeping your teeth clean.
Though sugar may have its tasty advantages, its consequences are numerous and dangerous. You can break your sugar addiction, protect your body, and achieve weight loss goals by saying no to dessert.