Chocolate chip cookies, jelly-filled donuts, warm chocolate brownies- these are some of the treats that make life delicious, and it’s difficult to imagine giving them up. Yet, these sweets are filled with sugar, and the health problems associated with prolonged sugar consumption are becoming more day by day. From diabetes to obesity, the sweet stuff is doing more harm than good. But eating less sugar doesn’t mean that you have to give up on desserts. Here are five reasons to give up sugar so you can live a long, healthy life.
See Also: How to Beat Those Sugar Cravings At Work
1. Sugar Makes You Stressed
It turns out that that an afternoon cookie can make you feel stressed: cortisol, a hormone linked to stress, forms when your blood sugar is elevated, which happens from sugar consumption. Since our work days are filled with stressful tasks that need to be accomplished, sugar is not fuel but can instead impair your productivity and ability to perform at the office. Sugar’s effects can last a long time- even five hours after eating a few slices of cake, your body is still feeling the effects.
2. Sugar Zaps Your Energy
There’s a reason you feel like taking a nap after your mid-morning coffee and blueberry muffin: all that sugar. It drains your energy when what you really want is to feel the opposite. Sugar makes you feel exhausted because it slows down the movement of your body’s orexin cells. We all know the foggy-headed feeling we get after a chocolate bar -- that’s the sugar crash happening. Swap that muffin for an apple or handful of almonds and blueberries and you will most likely notice how different you feel.
3. You Can Still Eat Treats
Cutting down on sugar doesn’t mean saying goodbye to anything sweet. You can swap the sugar in any baked goods recipe with a small amount of any alternative sweetener, from honey to maple syrup. Honey actually makes you feel energetic thanks to its carbs. It’s even consumed by athletes for this very reason. Maple syrup is another good option thanks to its zinc levels. You can even swap the spoonful of white sugar in your morning coffee with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. If chocolate is your vice, you can find cocoa powder which is a healthier, more natural form because of its flavanoids. It is even known to help with the health of your heart.
4. Sugar is Hidden in Almost Everything
If you heat up a jar of tomato sauce for a pasta dinner or pour some almond milk on your breakfast cereal, you’re already consuming added sugar without even realizing it. You can give up sugar and still enjoy some convenience food if you buy unsweetened versions of beverages and sauces with only all-natural, easy to pronounce ingredients. If you do this, you can enjoy sugar where you can actually see and taste it by making healthier versions of baked goods with the sweet alternatives mentioned above. Becoming aware of your sugar consumption can only help your heart in the long run as it’s found in every processed food product you can buy.
5. You Can Replace Sugar with Fruit
Fruit is often referred to as nature’s candy and for good reason. There is literally a rainbow of options and you could pick which fruit you want to eat based on color alone. If you can’t crush that sugar craving at 3 p.m. while working and want a sweet snack, you can eat a handful of sweet strawberries, an orange, or even make some homemade applesauce with cinnamon for added flavor. Anytime the need for sweets arises, try a piece of fruit instead. Your family tomato sauce recipe may include a tablespoon of brown sugar but you can add honey or just leave it out- when tomatoes cook, they get even sweeter.
See Also: Top 10 Foods We Should Avoid
With these five reasons to give up sugar, it’s clear that the sweet stuff isn’t doing much for us besides satisfying our cravings. From making us feel lethargic to stressing us out, sugar can really harm our health. But life can still be sweet: simply eat more fruit and explore alternative sweeteners and ingredients.
Did this article motivate you to give up sugar? Or is sugar considered as your guilty pleasure? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.