When you look up proper nutrition, you will often see that you should cut back on sugar. There are actually a lot of reasons to reduce your sugar intake, from saving your teeth to actually boosting your immune system. Here are the top four reasons you should consider cutting back on your sugar intake.
You Can Lose Weight
Naturally, one of the top reasons to cut back on your sugar intake is because it can help you lose weight. Sugar contains quite a lot of calories just in a very small amount, so whether you are adding sugar to your foods or you are buying food with sugar already in it, it is going to add more fat and calories, which then causes you to gain weight. When you start reducing just your sugar intake, you will notice that you begin losing weight, almost without even trying. Cutting down on sugar helps to lower your body fat as well, making it easier for you to lose weight and get fit as desired.
Sugar Doesn’t Contain Nutrients
While sugar can be good for adding flavor to certain dishes, it doesn’t have any nutrients that your body needs. You won’t be missing out on important vitamins and minerals just by cutting out sugar. They are the epitome of empty calories, since you are adding to the calories of your dishes, without actually adding any nutrients whatsoever. Not to mention that foods containing a lot of sugar tend to be less nutritious because sugar is a major component, such as with sweets and desserts. Drinks with sugar, such as fruit juice and soft drinks, have so much sugar they don’t have much else that will be good for you.
It’s Better for Your Immune System
Cutting back on sugar can also help give your immune system a nice little boost. Sugar actually adds to inflammation in your body and can make it harder to fight off infections. It lowers your immune system, which then leads to a high risk of the cold, flu, and other similar illnesses. Sugar in your diet can also lead to high blood pressure, which is another component of damaging your immune system.
You Can Have Better Concentration
Too much sugar in your diet can also slow down your nervous system, which affects your brain and your ability to focus and concentrate. When you don’t have a lot of sugar in your system, you may notice that your energy rises, and as that happens, so does your brain capacity. So when you are experiencing that low blood sugar slump around 3 pm, don’t reach for the candy bar, go for protein/complex carbs/healthy fat combo instead. Good examples would be turkey and avocado on whole grain toast or a plain Greek yogurt with macadamia nuts and fresh fruit with a drizzle of honey.
And make sure you start off your day with a good hearty breakfast. You know you’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s TRUE but you must choose whole grains with protein and healthy fats not your carb loaded breakfast cereals. Good examples would be crunchy almond butter on whole grain bread, a bowl of steel cut oats with almond milk, fruit and chopped nuts, or fried egg with avocado on whole grain toast to help you feel plugged-in till lunch.
Take It in Small Steps
Changing habits (like breaking free from sugar) can be super hard to do all at once. I’m a big fan of changing habits through small sustainable actions. So the best place to start is by replacing unhealthy sugar with natural sugar. I think we all know white sugar is really, really unhealthy for us. So what can you have instead? My suggestions are dates (not date sugar), pure maple syrup, raw honey or black strap molasses. All of these are natural foods that have not been processed and they provide valuable nutrients in addition to natural sweetness. Keep in mind if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, they still impact your blood sugar levels so please use in moderation. Dates are an excellent option as they provide lots of fiber that helps to regulate the blood sugar.
The next time you are making a dish that requires white sugar, try swapping the white sugar with pure maple syrup or honey. You can use this conversion chart to know how much to use. It is not usually a 1-for-1 measure swap.
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