Sugar is sweet and addictive, and the fact that it’s almost in every food that we eat makes it so difficult to avoid. Sugar intake is not only a problem for diabetics but it’s also a huge problem for the general population as a whole due to the many health issues it tags along. The World Health Organization advises us to lower our sugar intake to a maximum of six teaspoons per day to curb sugar-related health issues. Here’s how to tell if your sugar intake is on the higher side and the tricks to cut back on sugar intake.
You’re Too Moody Too Often
When you take too much sugar, it temporarily causes a spike in serotonin, the feel-good hormone found in your brain. This will make you feel super happy at first but then what goes up must come down. Sugar interferes with the neurotransmitters that regulate your moods, and this can cause blood sugar swings and depression. So, if you notice that you feel active in one instance and tired and cranky in another, your sugar intake is super high.
You Have Difficulty Sleeping
Eating foods high on sugar or taking sugary drinks when you’re just about to snooze can keep you up for long hours. Sugar causes a spike in your energy, which is the opposite of what you want when going to bed. The false boost will only last a short while, and when it drops, you may have a restless night. It’s advisable to avoid eating anything, especially sugar-rich foods and drinks at least two hours before bedtime to allow food to be digested.
You’re Always Breaking Out
Too much sugar has been linked to constant breakouts, especially around your mouth and chin. Sugar increases the production of androgens, the hormones responsible for inflammatory hormonal acne, which commonly appear around the mouth and jawline. The sugar spike causes a hormonal imbalance which causes skin breakout.
Sugary foods and drinks are addictive because of the instant fix they give us. It’s said that sugar triggers the release of the reward hormone, dopamine, which explains why you’ll always want to come back for more. This high is always followed by a crash making you crave for sugary foods even more. If your cravings for sugary goodies are becoming too much, it’s time for a lifestyle change which involves limiting sugar in your diets.
You Feel Fatigued Throughout the Day
Added sugars like those found in processed foods impair the functioning of your mitochondria, reducing the overall fuel that your body makes. The high sugar levels in your bloodstream mean that your cells are working extra hard to deal with the stress of too much sugar, hence severely affecting your overall energy in other activities. Similarly, sugar leads to a drop in testosterone, thus fatigue and lethargy kick in. As a result, you might end up feeling unlike yourself for a couple of days until the body auto repairs itself.
Sugar is the worst enemy on your weight loss efforts. Sugar in itself doesn’t cause weight gain. However, it’s easy to eat excess cookies because they are not satisfying. Together with the increase in cravings and the high number of calories in sugary foods, you’ll find yourself adding on weight even if you’re working out. Constantly indulging in too much sugar will leave you looking puffier and a few pounds heavier. This is temporary weight gain caused by increased insulin levels which deposit fats in your belly. If your jeans start to feel snug, you might need to cut back on sugar.
Premature Skin Wrinkles
Sweet stuff doesn’t just cause breakouts, it also ages your skin prematurely. This is because too much sugar in your bloodstream affects skin protein, collagen, and elastin, which are responsible for keeping your skin smooth and wrinkle-free. The damage to the structural proteins in your skin makes your skin look aged and you appear older. You can reverse this by lowering or cutting back on your sugar intake.
You Have Frequent Visits to the Dentist
Undoubtedly, sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay. Sugar feeds the plaque bacteria found on your teeth producing acid that erodes your tooth enamel. This leads to cavities. Sodas, sports drinks, and cocktails are the biggest culprits here and if you have dental problems, it’s best to steer clear of anything sugar.
Arthritis has been linked to regular consumption of high-sugar foods and drinks. Although more studies are needed to find conclusive evidence, it’s safer to cut back on sugar intake for your own health.
Your Wounds Heal Slower than Usual
Excessive sugar intake also impairs normal blood circulation and can lead to vascular damage. The impaired circulation means that there is insufficient blood supply to your limbs hence your tissues suffer malnutrition. This becomes evident when your wounds take longer to heal.
Low Concentration Levels
You need fuel for proper brain function. But if you’re getting it from refined carbs, it will cause a temporary energy boost, which when blood sugar drops, the result is brain fog and your concentration levels become affected.
Tricks to Cut Back On High-Sugar Intake
- Drink plenty of water after eating sugar-laden foods to avoid dehydration.
- Avoid all kinds of soft drinks. They have nothing but added sugars and other harmful additives.
- Avoid fruit juices since they contain just as much sugar as sodas.
- Eat fresh whole fruits instead and include plenty of vegetables in your diet.
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