8 Incredible Effects of Giving Up Sugar for a Month, Says Research
If you are someone with a sweet tooth who can never get enough snacks, cookies, and cakes then you are not alone. According to the American Heart Association, Americans consume on average 77 grams of added sugar a day, which is triple the recommended daily amount for women. (To give you a visual, four grams of sugar, as listed on a nutrition label, is equal to one teaspoon of sugar so 77 grams is just under half a cup of sugar!) The American Heart Association also found that the leading source of added sugar comes from beverages (soda, we're looking at you!) followed by snacks and desserts.
Added sugar, unlike natural sugar, is sugars or syrups that are added during food processing or preparation. It may make food taste delicious, but too much of it can wreak serious havoc on both the body and mind. For instance, Harvard Health Publishing reported that elevated added sugar intake is associated with everything from diabetes and weight gain, to fatty liver disease.
Cutting out added sugars for a month may seem difficult at first, but the benefits it can bring are worth it. From a lowered risk of diabetes to better gut health and less anxiety, read ahead for the incredible effects of giving up sugar for thirty days.
Plus, if you're serious about eating healthier, don't miss our best 22 Meals to Melt Belly Fat in 2022.
Less inflammation in the body
A research study from 2006 suggests that sugar may be directly connected to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation, which affects nearly 125 million Americans, has been linked to a wide range of illnesses, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's, and arthritis. Learning to live without added sugar can help reduce the risk of these diseases.
Reduced risk of cancer
Allison Tallman, MS, RDN, CNSC, registered dietitian at Sporting Smiles shares research that shows when you give up sugar you also may be reducing your risk of certain cancers. "Some research suggests that sugar consumption 'feeds' cancerous cells even with those that already have cancer," she says, "Those who consume excess sugar may be replacing nutrient-dense foods with this empty-calorie food, leading to a poor-quality diet."
"While sugar is a source of energy, the type of source, aka the quality, is the most important thing," Tallman says. She points out that refined sugar, such as those found in processed foods, cookies, chips, and cake, can make you feel sluggish and lethargic. "By giving up these foods, and therefore sugar, we're likely to increase our energy and feel better than ever," she adds.
Better gut health
If you are someone who struggles with bloating and an unpredictable digestive system then you may want to give this a try—as it turns out, cutting out sugar for a month may be beneficial to digestive health. For instance, it can help achieve a better balance of good gut bacteria. "Sugar and refined carbs feed bad bacteria in the gut which can lead to digestive problems," explains Jenny Askew, MS, RD, LD, ACSM-EP, integrative and functional dietitian and president of The Nutrition Clinic for Digestive Health. These digestive issues include everything from gas and bloating to diarrhea and constipation. "This can [also] contribute to inflammatory conditions—think acne, headaches, and rashes," she adds.
Better dental health
Since we were kids, sugar has been synonymous with cavities—and for good reason. According to Healthy Food America, adults who regularly consume one to two sugary drinks per day have 30% more dental disease than adults who consume no sugary drinks. In addition, Healthy Food America also reports that children who regularly drink sugar-filled sodas are at nearly twice the risk of dental decay compared to children who do not drink soda. During your month of no sugar, switch out sugar-laden drinks with healthier alternatives, such as flavored seltzer water or sugar-free tea with lemon.
Less depression and anxiety
Ditching added sugar for a month not only has positive effects on our bodies but on our minds, too. For instance, according to a study, higher sugar intake in a diet is associated with a higher risk of depression. In a separate 2019 study, it was also found that a diet high in sugar can also cause neurobiological brain function changes, altered emotional states, and anxiety.
Lowered risk of diabetes
According to a recent study done by UC San Francisco, researchers discovered "increased sugar in a population's food supply was linked to higher type 2 diabetes rates, independent of obesity rates." The risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is the most prevalent form of diabetes, will be lowered if you cut out added sugar for thirty days.
A recent study in France observed over 24,000 adults to see if dietary habits had any effect on whether or not an individual developed acne. What researchers found was that a diet full of sugar, fat, and animal products was indeed connected to an increase in adult acne.
Have we convinced you to give up sugar for a month? If your cravings are out of control, read up on The Unhealthiest Foods Making Your Sugar Cravings Worse
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