Cutting out – or at least, cutting back on – sugar is a cornerstone of almost every weight loss plan. But aside from slashing your calorie intake, you might be surprised to know the other benefits of this approach.
Lower blood pressure. Added sugars increase blood pressure, which increases strain on your entire cardiovascular system. Removing sugar from your diet, and therefore lowering your blood pressure, can cut your risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and other conditions.
Lower cholesterol. People who eat diets high in sugar tend to have higher LDL cholesterol, the type that is linked to heart disease.
Increased brain health. Eating too much sugar can actually impair your brain function, reduce your responsiveness, and impact your memory. Sugar even reduces your brain’s production of a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). And since low levels of BDNF are linked to Alzheimer’s and dementia, lowering your sugar intake might actually ward off age related problems with memory and cognition.
Improved mood. High sugar intake has also been linked to mood disorders. The continuous sharp spikes and drops in your blood sugar can lead to moodiness, irritability, depression and anxiety.
Reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. Sugar intake has been linked to certain cancers, such as pancreatic cancer. Excess sugar is also known to exacerbate fatty liver disease, and is a direct cause of diabetes in many cases.
Younger, healthier complexion. Through a process called gylcation, sugar in your bloodstream damages the collagen and elastin in your skin. This leads to dull and prematurely wrinkled skin. Sugar also affects your body’s hormone levels, which can trigger acne flare-ups. People who cut sugar out of their diets often report clearer and healthier-looking skin.
You will break your addiction. When you think of addiction, you probably think of substances like nicotine, alcohol, or heroin. You might even think of activities such as gambling or compulsive shopping. But sugar actually activates the same addictive processes in your brain. Over time, you need more and more sugar to achieve the same rush of pleasure.
As with other addictions, going “cold turkey” is the best way to break your addiction, replace it with healthier habits, and reset your brain’s chemistry to a healthier balance. Cutting out sugar will give you the power to make better food choices, and find more success with your weight loss plan.
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