10 Healthy Reasons to Reduce Your Sugar Intake
When we think of sugar, we tend to cook-up a nearly endless assortment of smile-inducing treats. After all, sugar has a sweet reputation—and one bite of a triple-chocolate brownie more than supports it.
But when it comes to health, that sweetness tends to leave a slightly bitter aftertaste. That’s not to say sugar is bad and should be eliminated from our diets. The reality of accomplishing something of that magnitude would be a near impossibility, since sugar occurs naturally in all foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy. However, there are plenty of note-worthy health benefits that come from reducing your sugar intake. All it takes is a better understanding of how sugar affects our health, as well as a little will power to pass on that second scoop of ice cream.
- Reducing sugar reduces cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol found throughout our bodies: HDL and LDL. HDL is often referred to as the “good” cholesterol that “eats” the bad cholesterol, LDL. Studies show that too much sugar can decrease the levels of HDL in our blood. So, by logic, if you reduce the amount of sugar you eat, you could ultimately lower your cholesterol level, particularly the bad cholesterol linked to heart disease.
- Reducing sugar boosts heart health
Too much sugar also leads to higher levels of triglycerides, which are a type of fat that moves through the vascular system. Having high levels of triglycerides can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease or lead to having a stroke or heart attack.
- Reduced sugar, better smile
Sugar may have an innate ability to put a smile on your face, but too much of the sweet stuff can eat away at it, too. Sugars are the primary food source for bacteria, and bacteria is what ultimately causes cavities, infections, and tooth decay. Not only that but certain bacteria produce acid that can weaken or destroy tooth enamel over time. Slowing your sugar intake, including juices and soda, can help slow or stop tooth decay.
- Reduce sugar, achieve a healthier weight
Weight gain often occurs when we eat more calories than we burn. Trouble is that sugary foods tend to be high in calories. And not just any calories—but empty calories, or calories with no nutritional value. The other pain point is that sugary foods taste really good, so we eat more than we should. Combine those two issues together and it’s not hard to understand how the pounds can add up over time. Simply eating less sugar, or switching to whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, can be one of the best things you can do to shed the unwanted weight, especially belly fat.
- Reduced sugar, better skin
When you consider how much money is spent on skin care, it’s a bit of a surprise more effort isn’t made to pursue a less expensive alternative: less sugar in our diets. Studies have shown that diets high in sugar have been associated with acne, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. However, one of the more common side effects of eating too much sugar is prematurely aging skin. Additionally, too much sugar may also increase the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer. So, if you’re interested in maintaining a healthy, youthful glow, reducing you sugar intake is a great place to start.
- Reduced sugar, better sleep
According to a sleep study, restless sleep or trouble falling asleep is linked to how much sugar we eat. Since sleep is essential for our body to function, repair, and restore itself, it’s vitally important for our overall health. And reducing how much sugar you eat may just be the key to logging some quality sleep time.
- Reduce your sugar, stabilize your mood
Eating something sugary can give you a quick energy boost. However, too much sugar can affect your mood over time. In fact, a study concluded that eating too much sugar can have a negative long-term effect on psychological health (particularly in men), not to mention increase the likelihood of mood disorders such as depression. There are obviously many factors to consider with mental health but reducing the amount of sugar you eat is a precaution worth taking when it comes to caring for your mind.
- Reduce sugar, increase satiation
The science is still young on this issue, but researchers believe that how much sugar you eat has a direct influence on how much food you eat. And this includes sugar substitutes, as well. In contrast, reducing the amount of sugar you consume will lead to an increase in the satiation or satisfaction you experience with the food you eat. This means you’ll feel full while eating less.
- Reduced sugar, reduced “brain fog”
Studies consistently show that high levels of sugar in the blood can harm blood vessels due to inflammation which, in turn, can affect brain function. For people with diabetes, this can mean deficits in learning, memory, motor speed, and more. For those without diabetes, it could mean lower scores on tests or slower cognitive function. So, if brain fog is making it hard for you to concentrate or perform well in your daily pursuits, you may want to try cutting back on the sugar.
- Reduced sugar, better finances
It may not directly affect your health but reducing sugar can also put you in a better financial situation. Think about it. When you consider all the potential health issues that can arise from eating too much sugar—beyond the nine listed above—it only makes sense that many of those issues may come with potential expenses, as well. So, it stands to reason that cutting back on sugar may also lead to better finances by potentially reducing doctor and dentist visits, medications, and plenty of other health-related costs. Consider that sugar-free icing on the healthy living cake.
Ultimately, curbing the sugar consumption is one of the best things you can do for your health—and the best place to start is by changing your diet. Simply altering what and how you eat can not only help you lose weight but, as covered above, also help you take advantage of all kinds of other healthy benefits.
There are clearly many advantages to living in a Life Plan Community, the chief among them being the mental, physical and social health benefits experienced by residents. For more information about the benefits of moving into a Life Plan Community, speak with your retirement counselor, or call (801) 758-3138 today.