There’s two problems with the amount of sugar the average American is consuming: it’s way more than recommended (which turns to fat and causes everything from weight gain to obesity), and it’s sneaking into healthy branded foods, just as much as cake and candy. In fact, 20 percent of today’s American’s are consuming up to a whole cup worth of sugar each day (or roughly, 700 calories of sugar) without even realizing it. Check your salad dressing, or yogurt that’s become part of your ‘healthy’ lifestyle. Chances are, it’s loaded with a surprising amount of sugar or artificial sweetener. Here’s three fantastic reasons to start cutting down on sugar, today.
You’ll Improve Your Cardiovascular Health
The bad news is, when you depend on sugar as part of your daily diet (such as cookies after dinner, or a caramel latte to get you through your afternoon), what you’re really doing is causing your insulin to surge, which increases your heart rate and blood pressure. According to research done at the St Luke’s Mid-Atlantic Heart Institute in Kansas City, MO, your cholesterol can drop by as much as 10 percent just a few weeks after dropping added sugar from your diet.
belly-2354_640 (1)You’ll Lose Weight
For many, the biggest motivator to reduce their sugar intake (or altogether do away with added sugar) is because doing so will allow you to lose weight. In fact, studies show that participants who went ‘cold turkey’ with a diet that was protein rich, nutrient-heavy and free of sugar lost an average of three lbs. – and that’s without adding an exercise plan to the mix. The ‘high’ you get once you consume sugar is an addiction. Unfortunately, when you experience a sugar crash an hour later, your body wants another ‘fix’. It’s a vicious cycle that causes weight gain, obesity, and diabetes. However, by taking small steps to eliminate sugar (eat five mini-meals throughout your day, so you always feel satisfied, and make sure each meal is protein rich) you can begin to break the vicious cycle that sugar has played in your life.
You’ll Clear Up Your Skin
Do you have trouble spots on your nose, chin, cheeks or forehead that makes you feel like you’re an acne-prone teenager again? As a teen, you may have been told by your parents to stay away from candy bars because “it’ll make you break out!”. The truth is, it will and it does. Sugar, as well as a processed, fatty diet, is the result of irritating zits and pesky blemishes that just won’t go away (until those foods do!) Identify where your sugar is coming from. For example, do you drink soda? Do you have dessert every night following dinner? Do you buy pre-packaged ‘healthy’ foods like yogurt, salad dressing and granola bars?
Begin checking the nutritional labels of everything in your home, and swap out high sugar foods for healthier options like fresh fruit, nuts and dark chocolate (dark chocolate is a healthy choice, as long as you eat it in moderation.) By making a few choices today to reduce your sugar intake, you’ll begin seeing a big change in your mood, your overall health and your waistline.