Should You Declare Your Independence from Sugar?

June 29, 2013
Independence Day Cupcakes

Do you panic if there is nothing sweet in the house?  Start with just a bite, and then end up polishing off a pint?

If your cravings have been controlling your life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…it might just be time to declare your independence from sugar!

Sweets raise our blood sugar, which offers a quick energy boost.  They also deliver serotonin to the brain, which makes us happy.  So it is not surprising that the average American tends to overdo it, consuming over 150 pounds of added sugars each year.  But the energy boost and happy feeling from sugar is short-lived, followed by a crash.  So that is when we need another boost…and so the cycle of dependence begins.

We all know that sugar is certainly is not good for our waistline.  But is it just “empty calories?”

5 ways the white stuff impacts our overall health:

1. Sugar makes us Hungry:

Sugar is lurking in not just soda, candy or cakes; it is also in alcoholic beverages, sweetened teas and coffees. Because refined flours quickly convert to sugar, they create a similar reaction too.  When we eat these things, our blood sugar rises. This signals the pancreas to release insulin – which is needed to deliver glucose from the blood into the cells, and therefore lowers blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels drop, this signals the body that it is hungry, so we tend to reach for that quick fix again, read more about How Carbs Can Trigger Food Cravings in the New York Times.

2. Sugar Makes us Moody & Sluggish:

When the blood sugar gets low, so does our energy and mood, some people might even get shaky and lightheaded. Naturally, we will want to reach for something that will boost our energy and make us “happy” and energized again, this puts us on a “sugar rollercoaster.”

3. Excess Sugar is Stored as Fat

When insulin is released, it signals to the body to store those calories as fat – so sugar promotes the storage of fat in the body. Eating a lot of sugar and carbs over time makes the body resistant to insulin, so more of it has to be released to get the job done. And when there is more insulin, there will be more signals to store the glucose as fat.  Increased fat stores (especially around the midsection) is a major contributing factor to developing heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases.

4. Sugar AGEs Us

Sugar creates something called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs), which damages the collagen and elastin in our skin, literally sagging our skin and making it look more wrinkled. Ditch the sweets and the skin can recover some of it’s youthful glow again.

5. Sugar Raises our Disease Risk:

When we eat something sweet, the pancreas releases insulin to reduce the elevated blood sugar and deliver it to the cells.  Insulin inhibits the release of human growth hormone, which depresses the immune system, making us less equipped to fight off infections and viruses.  Sugar also raises our risk of many diseases:

  • Stroke and Heart Disease: Studies show that excess sugar consumption increases our risk of heart attack and stroke.  Men who drink 1 soda a day increase heart disease risk factors by 20%.  And before you pick up a diet soda – realize that drinking diet sodas are linked to a 44% increased risk of heart disease.
  • Insulin Resistance/Diabetes:When we spike our blood sugar over and over, our body eventually becomes less effective at lowering it- creating a problem called Insulin Resistance.  A precursor to Diabetes, insulin resistance also makes it very hard to maintain a healthy weight.  Insulin resistance makes our body slower to process sugar, and prevents the cells from using the glucose.  That means that sugar hangs around longer in the blood stream – so the cells are not getting the energy they need, it is getting stored as fat, and increases our risk of heart attack.
  • Cancer – Sugar is a cancer cells’ favorite food. A recent study found that high insulin and Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF) levels increase the proliferation of cancer cells. According to the study, “many cancer patients exhibit an altered glucose metabolism characterized by insulin resistance and may profit from an increased protein and fat intake.” Various studies have demonstrated that malignant cells die when starved of glucose.

This AHA statement (http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/106/4/523.full ) summarizes many studies that have examined sugar’s link to various diseases.
Convinced that sugar is not just empty calories? Are you ready to declare your independence?

5 Tips for Breaking Free from Sugar:

  1. Follow my “Rule of Three”: Get plenty of healthy fat, protein or fiber each time you eat to help keep blood sugar levels even.
  2. Ditch the artificial sweeteners – they stimulate your sweet tooth even more than sugar.
  3. Cut back on caffeine, it has a negative effect on our serotonin levels, so people will often alternate between caffeine and sugar to keep energy and serotonin levels up.
  4. Get your C’s – cinnamon, chromium and vitamin C all are helpful in breaking free from sugar and leveling out blood sugar.
  5. Banish it – get the sweet out of your purse and your house – you will be less likely to indulge if it means heading out in your PJs to get ice cream.

Realize that you can effectively “reset” your sweet tooth.  Skip the sweets for a week, and your taste buds become more sensitive to sweets – so those candies are too sweet, and the apple is just right.  So give yourself a vacation from sweets and declare your independence from sugar!!!

If you are ready to declare your independence and take back the control from sugar, consider signing up for Sara’s Break up with Sugar eCourse.  

Learn more here. 

Sara Vance Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book
The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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