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View All Posts - Diet Why Too Much Sugar is Bad for You & How to Kick Your Habit

 

You already know that sugar is one of the worst foods for you when it comes to a healthy diet. Yet, most of us feel completely powerless over our urge to reach for a chocolate bar, or a bag of candy when sugar cravings hit. Why is that?!

Though it’s common knowledge that sugar isn’t something you should eat a lot of, do you know exactly why it negatively affects your health and weight loss goals? This article will unpack the question “Why is sugar bad for you?” – including the lesser known facts about the dangers of sugar, and how it might be sabotaging your wellness. Plus, it will also give direction on what you can do to stop temptations once and for all, and take back your health, vitality and happiness!

Why Too Much Sugar is Bad for You


The Battle Begins: Natural vs. Added Sugars

When people discuss the dangers of sugar, they aren’t talking about the natural sugars in real, whole foods. Therefore, the lactose in dairy products and naturally-occurring fructose (found in fiber-packed fruits) aren’t part of the equation.

Instead, added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added into processed foods during the manufacturing process. Basically, if you’re eating something that isn’t a natural whole food and it has sugar in it, that sugar has been added in later on. 

So, the cookies or ice cream you enjoy every night, the bag of candy at your desk, and your favorite soda are all examples of items that contain added sugars. But while those aren’t hard to guess, what about hidden sources of added sugar?

Fruit juices, fruit-flavored yogurts, salad dressings, ketchup and other condiments, granola bars, trail mixes, and some protein bars and shakes, for example, all may look like healthy choices. But you always have to check product labels, because sometimes “healthy” is nothing but sugar-laden junk foods in disguise!

Fruit juices, fruit-flavored yogurts, salad dressings, ketchup and other condiments, granola bars, trail mixes, and some protein bars and shakes, for example, all may look like healthy choices. But you always have to check product labels, because sometimes “healthy” is nothing but sugar-laden junk foods in disguise!

Enter Fructose & Processed Foods...

While fructose – a type of sugar found in fruits – is fine for you when consumed in whole fruit form, it’s a much different story when it’s extracted to be used in processed foods. This type of sugar is now being called the worst one for you, health-wise, due to what happens when it enters the body.

Your body can’t use fructose right away for energy, so instead it goes straight to your liver, which is the only organ that can break it down. However, this creates a ton of stress on the liver, and also leads to the fructose being stored as fat – bad news for your health and waistline.

Fructose disrupts your metabolism and creates inflammation – a leading risk factor for disease. Plus, it spikes the hunger hormone, ghrelin, causing you to crave more food and calories.

In addition, it also causes many more problems, including disrupting your metabolism, and creating inflammation – a leading risk factor for disease. Plus, it spikes the hunger hormone, ghrelin, causing you to crave more food and calories.

And probably the biggest health scare regarding fructose is that because you can’t digest it like normal food, it results in a dangerously high spike in blood sugar. Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance – where your body no longer gets the signal to move glucose (or sugar) from your blood to your cells.

 Known as insulin resistance syndrome, this can create constant, dangerously high blood sugar levels. And this syndrome can lead to a number of serious health problems including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.

Excess fructose is such a problem in people’s diets today because it’s so prevalent in sugary drinks and processed foods – and in ridiculously high amounts. And the form of fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, found in these drinks and foods is especially troubling…

High-fructose corn syrup is a man-made mixture of glucose and fructose, with an unnaturally high amount of fructose – creating a toxic blend that would never exist in nature. We’re simply not made to consume that much fructose! 

High-fructose corn syrup is a man-made mixture of glucose and fructose, with an unnaturally high amount of fructose – creating a toxic blend that would never exist in nature. We’re simply not made to consume that much fructose! And this is why it wreaks such havoc on our bodies when we eat it in this processed form. 

You’re Never Satisfied

The other extremely troubling aspect and one of the major dangers of sugar in this processed, added form, is that you truly can never get enough. You probably already know that sugar is addictive, but you may not know just how addictive.

When sugar enters your body, it triggers the release of “feel good” neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin. The effect that you get can be described as a “high” – you feel great, your mood is elevated, and life is good. But when the effects of sugar go away, (your blood sugar crashes and the feel good hormones are gone), you’re left feeling downright awful.

When sugar enters your body, it triggers the release of “feel good” neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin. The effect that you get can be described as a “high” – you feel great, your mood is elevated, and life is good. But when the effects of sugar go away, (your blood sugar crashes and the feel good hormones are gone), you’re left feeling downright awful.

So, what does the brain do? It intuitively tells you to have more sugar by intensifying your cravings, and so the reward system continues. Just how strong are sugar urges? Recent research now shows that sugar affects your brain in a similar way to the most addictive drugs! 

In fact, in one alarming study, rats that were given a choice between a highly-sweetened water and a highly-addictive drug, choose the sweet water! The results were the same whether the water was sweetened with sugar, or an artificial sweetener, showing that “fake sugars” are just as bad in terms of increasing cravings.

5 Ways to Kick Your Sugar Habit

If all of this talk about the dangers of sugar and not being able to fight your cravings is leaving you feeling a bit hopeless, don’t fret! We have some amazing solutions for you. In addition, know that you aren’t alone. In a mass survey by health expert and author of “Zero Sugar Diet”, David Zinczenko, 54.4 percent of people said they crave sugary foods over any other type of food; And 47 percent said they couldn’t have sweets around the house or they would eat them!

Here’s what you can do to fight back…

1) Choose Whole Foods + Check Labels

wholesome foods can help you beat a sugar addiction

It’s time to clean house in your kitchen! That means pulling out products and checking product labels. The best thing you can do for yourself is focus on eating fresh, whole foods with lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats, nuts, seeds and dairy. 

But, we get it. Some items in your kitchen will have product labels, and for all of those you want to check how much sugar is in them. This way you can toss things that no longer suit your health and wellness. 

According to the American Heart Association, the upper limit for added sugars per day is no more than 25g or 6 teaspoons for women, and 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons for men. But, you should always aim to eat as little added sugar as possible! (Note that just one 12 oz. can of coke has almost 10 teaspoons alone, so choose the foods you keep wisely!)

Another good thing to know is that nutrition labels now specifically list added sugars. The label will say “Total Sugars” and then underneath it will say “Includes x grams added sugar” – so it’s much easier for you to pinpoint. Unfortunately, some labels may say 0g sugar or be sugar-free, and still contain sugar! That’s because there are actually 61 different names for sugar, so definitely familiarize yourself with them!

2) Focus on Fats and Protein

healthy hats and proteins can help you beat a sugar addiction

 

Despite what was previously believed about fats, recent research shows that good fats (the kind that improve cholesterol levels and provide your body with essential nutrients), are exactly what you should be eating – along with lean proteins. 

In fact, the keto diet has become extremely popular for this very reason. This diet focuses on 70-75% fat, 20-25% protein, and 5-10% carbs as daily ratios. The diet is known to help greatly with weight loss and has many potential benefits since it can help you burn fat faster, and release stored fat.

Plus, fat is extremely satiating, and actually really good for you! Even saturated fat, which used to be said to increase the risk of heart disease, is no longer the energy. So what is the enemy? You guessed it, sugar, combined with bad fats (trans fats) is what’s actually incredibly bad for your heart.  

3) Have “No-Prep” Meals on Hand 

having healthy no prep meals on hand can help you beat a sugar addiction

In our busy lives, it can be hard to eat healthy while on-the-go. And most fast foods are filled with sugar, processed oils, and other unhealthy ingredients. Instead, always make sure you have ingredients for effortless meals on hand, so they can become your go-to sources when time is tight. This will help ensure you don’t order takeout or head to the nearest drive-thru.

One of the best options to always have in your kitchen is meal replacement shakes like 310 Shake – which provide the nutrients you need to feel your best, while being low in calories. Plus, they’re so easy to make… Just mix the shake powder with water or a healthy beverage of your choice, shake and go! We even have On-The-Go packets for added convenience.

When you give your body enough protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, such as you’ll find in 310 Shakes, you immediately feel satisfied, and you won’t feel the need to reach for sugary foods. Plus, 310 Shakes have NO sugar or artificial sweeteners, so you can kiss cravings goodbye. Instead, they’re sweetened with natural sugar alternative, Stevia, which does not spike blood sugar or increase cravings!

4) Swap out the Sugary Beverages 

swapping out sugary beverages for healthy ones can help you beat a sugar addiction

If you really want to make progress in avoiding the dangers of sugar, you need to completely cut out sugar-laden beverages. Some of the worst offenders including sodas (diet and regular), juice, sweetened iced teas, vitamin waters, sports drinks and lemonades.

Along with meal replacement shakes, there are also other drinks that can help crush your sugar cravings, without crushing your health. Try sparkling water with lemon instead of plain water, or 310 Lemonades if you want something flavorful. The lemonades are only 10-13 calories per serving, with no artificial sweeteners, yet they totally satisfy your taste buds.

They come in a variety of flavors and help to boost energy naturally, without caffeine. In addition, they contain alkalizing minerals that help keep your body in balance – so you don’t reach for sugary things out of tiredness.

5) Get Up and Move

getting up and moving around can help you beat a sugar addiction

Finally, add some exercise into your day! Physical fitness is known to increase the same “food good” hormones that sugar does. So when you get the urge to splurge, go for a walk or take a run.

Try to make physical fitness a regular part of your weekly schedule. Short on time? You can do quick, at-home workouts in 15 minutes or less that can still give your brain and body the boost it needs. 

Now that you fully understand the answer to, “Why is sugar bad for you?!”, are you ready to kick your sweets addiction once and for all?! Join the 310 Nutrition Community for the support you need, and to get personalized advice from 310 Nutritionists on how to accomplish your health goals, starting today.

 

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/too-much-sugar#section13
https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/sugar-triglycerides-7329.html
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/3-step-plan-to-stop-sugar-cravings#section4
https://www.scienceabc.com/humans/sugar-affect-brain.html
Zinczenko, David, and Stephen Perrine. Zero Sugar Diet: the 14-Day Plan to Flatten Your Belly, Crush Cravings, and Help Keep You Lean for Life. Ballantine Books, 2016.


 

 

 

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