Giving Up Sugar: Consequences and Benefits
The trend of giving up sugar is evolving. Today, only kids aren’t aware of the dangers of sugar. And some parents, only by inertia, continue to be sure that children definitely need it to improve cognitive abilities and behavior.
Thanks to WHO advocacy for the prevention of the type 2 diabetes epidemic, everyone has heard about the dangers of foods and drinks with added sugar. But many do not risk giving up or even limiting the consumption of sweet foods, thinking that this will adversely affect their health. And indeed, is it possible to completely eliminate sugar, and what will happen if there is no sugar in your diet at all?
Why People Are Giving Up Sugar?
Fast carbs are delicious. At the same time, addiction to it occurs as quickly as addiction to alcohol and cocaine. But it is much easier to give up sugary foods and drinks, since sugar, although it is called a drug, does not belong to this kind of substance.
If we stop eating sugar, then where do we get the energy that we draw from carbohydrates? It’s OK. First, a great alternative to fast carbohydrates is their slow forms: lactose and polysaccharides (starches).
Secondly, if necessary, the body will begin to use fat reserves or proteins from food as an energy source, and in extreme cases, use muscle tissue proteins.
Today, the consumption of sugar (including not only additional but also its hidden forms) reaches 50 teaspoons per day (250 g), when the norm for women is 6 tsp. (30 g or 100 kcal), and for men – 9 tsp. (45 g or 150 kcal).
Why is sucrose, which almost instantly breaks down in the body into glucose and fructose, which are also instantly absorbed into the blood, dangerous to health?
Conditions You May Face
Excessive consumption of sugar, which means a frequent and prolonged increase in blood glucose contraction, means:
- Decreased absorption of vitamins and minerals.
- Fatigue, lethargy, drowsiness.
- An increase in body weight due to an increase in subcutaneous fat and visceral obesity in the waist area.
- Metabolic syndrome.
- Development of insulin resistance in muscle and adipose tissue.
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus and its complications: damage to the kidneys, blood vessels of the heart, lower extremities, brain and eyes, peripheral and autonomic nerve fibers.
- Hypertension, atherosclerosis (reducing life expectancy by 15 years), angina pectoris, coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke.
- Caries. Periodontitis.
- Disorders of the intestinal microflora. Flatulence. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Ulcerative colitis.
- Vulvovaginal candidiasis (thrush).
- Skin problems. Glycoaging of the epidermis due to a decrease in the mobility of collagen and elastin.
- Slow down regeneration processes. Increase in the number and depth of vertical wrinkles.
- Increased sweating.
- Acne rashes on the face, back, neck, and chest.
- Mammary cancer. Uterine cancer. Oncology of the colon and rectum.
- Irritability. Unreasonable anger General mental disorder. Anxious state. Depression.
- Violation of cognitive functions of the brain. Decreased ability to learn.
Is Fructose “Bad” Too?
Unlike glucose, which is absorbed by muscle and adipose tissue, fructose is metabolized only in the liver tissue and converted into glycogen. Therefore, an excess of fructose leads to an increase in the load on hepatocytes, disruption of the organ, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – fatty hepatosis (steatosis). Pathology can be recognized by such symptoms as heaviness in the right hypochondrium, fatigue, nausea, bitterness in the mouth, and sleep disturbance.
We also note that, unlike fast natural carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables, artificial sugar decomposes in the intestine, releasing carbon dioxide, which combines with salt bases. Such desalting inevitably leads to a weakening of the immune system and the “withering” of muscle tissue.
Giving Up Sugar: Consequences
Many people ask what will happen if one excludes sugar from the diet. We answer – Nothing catastrophic will happen.
Life without added sugar will be healthier!
But in order to make the period of weaning from the sweet life a little more comfortable, you should know how the absence of sugar affects the human body in different periods after the introduction of the restriction.
|Time interval||Manifestations and possible actions|
|First day||Anxiety, impatience – can be stopped by dried fruits|
|Second day||Irritability – leveled by bitter chocolate|
|Third day||Headache, mood swings – a banana will help|
|Fourth day||Disappearance of flatulence|
|Fifth day||Enhanced taste perception|
|Sixth day||Improved skin condition|
|Seventh day||Weight loss by 0.8–1 kg|
But what happens to the body if you are giving up sugar for a month? The thinning of the waist due to weight loss by 4–4.5 kg.
In addition, well-being will improve, since a long-term restriction of the use of fast sugars, subject to the basic rules of sleep hygiene, leads to its normalization. A pleasant surprise will be an improvement in short-term memory and an increase in the time of maximum concentration of attention. After a year of giving up sugar, you forget about caries and periodontal disease, and your body weight stabilizes within the ideal range.
What is The Adequate Amount of Sugar in The Body?
Excessive sugar consumption can be recognized by indirect signs – sudden mood swings, frequent episodes of apathy, drowsiness, increased sweating, clogged pores and acne, and a constant desire to snack.
You can accurately determine the level of glucose in the blood using laboratory tests: Fasting venous blood glucose and a more accurate study – Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). Pregnant women at 24–28 weeks are regulated to undergo a Glucose tolerance 3-point test.
However, today you can find out the blood sugar indicator within a few minutes: at home or at an appointment with an endocrinologist. This is done using a household glucometer, test strips, and a drop of blood from a finger.
Blood glucose levels depend on age and gender. The analysis is done on an empty stomach because after eating, within 2-5 hours, the results will be incorrect and increase depending on the quantity and quality of fast and slow carbohydrates eaten. They will also be affected by the functional state of the beta cells of the pancreas, which produce the insulin hormone.
Normal Blood Sugar in Children
In a newborn baby, the normal blood glucose level is 2.22–3.33 mmol/l. In the first 4 weeks, it can range from 2.79 to 4.44 mmol/l, and then, until the end of puberty, stay in the corridor between 3.0-6.0 mmol/l.
If there is a family history of type 1 diabetes, then special attention to the well-being of the child, and regular blood sugar tests should be done from about 5 years of age until the onset of puberty. It is in this period of life that the vast majority of people who have inherited this pathology will debut hereditary diabetes mellitus.
Here we clarify that a child can grow up absolutely healthy both physically and mentally if they do not consume foods, dishes, and drinks with added sugar. For its full development, there will be enough fast carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, lactose (milk sugar) from dairy products, and slow carbohydrates from cereals, legumes, bread, and flour products.
By the way, it has been proven more than once that the less sweet a child eats, the more effectively their education is.
Protect children not only from carbonated sweet drinks but also from industrial juices. 200 ml of the former contains from 3 to 5 teaspoons of sugar, and in industrial juices and nectars – from 3 to 6. Slightly less sugar is added to flavored yogurts, and a little more – up to 8 tsp, in energy drinks.
Norm of Blood Sugar in Women
Normal blood sugar readings from a finger on an empty stomach in women are as follows:
- in girls and women under 50 years old – 3.3 to 5.5 mmol/l;
- from 51 to 60 years old – 3.8–5.95 mmol/l;
- from 60 to 90 years – 4.4–6.4 mmol/l;
- over 90 years old – 4.6–6.9 mmol/l.
The norm of glucose for pregnant women is less than 4.6 mmol/l. During this period, the nighttime production of glucose from glycogen by the liver decreases in the female body. This occurs due to the fact that the developing fetus takes glucose and amino acids from the mother, which are necessary for its synthesis in the liver. Therefore, the norm of blood glucose for pregnant women is lower.
Normal Blood Sugar in Men
The values of the norm of glucose in the blood from a finger in men (age – in mmol/l):
- from 16 to 50 – 3.3–5.5;
- from 51 to 60 – 4.1–5.9;
- over 60 – 4.6–6.4.
Please note that before testing blood, both children and adults should refrain from exercising, walking for more than 5 minutes, and drinking more than 300 ml of water/liquids.
But who should give up 100% sugar and go on a low-carbohydrate and low-calorie diet is those whose reference values of the analysis “Leptin in peripheral blood” exceed the upper limit of the norm. In men, it is 15.0 ng/ml, and in women, it is 40.0 ng/ml.
Source – Normal and Diabetic Blood Sugar Level Ranges
Sweets Without Sugar
Many replace sugar with honey, corn, maple or Jerusalem artichoke syrup, agave nectar, or coconut sugar. But it should be remembered that all of the listed substances contain both glucose and fructose, and the last monosaccharide in them is more than in beet or cane sucrose. Fructose itself should not be used as a sugar substitute, as it is a 100% guarantee of rapid non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and the highest risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
For healthy sweetening of foods and drinks, natural non-nutritional sweeteners (NNS) and sugar alcohols are used: maltitol, xylitol, melon erythritol, stevioside, licorice glycyrrhizin (from licorice), fern osladin, citrus hesperidin and neohesperidin, miraculin, thaumatin, monellin.
The most popular sugar-free drinks and sweets are made not only with natural but also with synthetic sweeteners. Of the new generation of artificial sweeteners, aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium are the safest and most common.
Healthy sugar-free sweets are berry-fruit jelly, marmalade, marshmallows, apple and plum jam, and almost everything, with the exception of dates, and dried fruits. The fast carbohydrate in dried dates is dextrose, which causes a higher insulin release than the standard 100, glucose. The glycemic index of dates is 103. The most useful are dried apples, bananas, cranberries, grapes, apricots, plums, cherries, mangoes, and tomatoes. They have a large amount of the necessary vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, other trace elements, and fiber.
Bottom Line Under Giving Up Sugar
Is it possible to completely give up sugar? Yes, but it is quite difficult to do this since they try to add it everywhere as a flavor enhancer and preservative. To minimize sucrose intake do the following:
- give up sugary drinks, industrial juices, and fruit drinks;
- learn to drink tea and coffee without sugar;
- avoid convenience foods, fast food, and street food;
- to exclude accidental use of hidden added sugar, read the information “Sugar” on the labels of sauces, alcohol, dairy products, canned food, smoked meats, sausages, pates, confectionery, and flour products;
- do not buy products with 0% fat content, “low fat” and/or “diet” labels, as well as those where fructose was used as a sweetener;
- do not get carried away with sweeteners and artificial sweeteners;
- replace sweet pastries, muffins, and confectionery creams with natural sweets without sugar – dried fruits, natural fruit jellies, marmalade, marshmallows, and classic ice cream with frozen juices;
- diversify the menu using ketchup, sauces, and sugar-free jams, as well as spices that give dishes a false sweetness: vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom;
- snack on healthy sweets – cookies, waffles, muffins and sugar-free protein bars, nuts, dried fruits;
- include 25–35 g of dark dark chocolate in your daily diet;
- do not forget to drink enough clean water – the body often perceives thirst as hunger, so a glass of table mineral water without gas can be the best suppressor of cravings for sweets.
Control your intake of added and hidden sugars by not exceeding 30 g/day (6 tsp) for women, 45 g/day (9 tsp) for men, and 20 g/day (4 tsp) in the elderly 60+. Do not give sugar to babies under 3 years of age. If the child is from 3 to 10 years old, then make sure that the amount of added sucrose does not exceed 15 g/day (3 tsp), and from 10 to 16 years old – no more than 25–30 g/day (5– 6 tsp).
The daily intake of total added sugar in both children and adults with normal body weight, according to the WHO strong recommendation, should be within 3-5% of 100% of total energy intake (kcal), and should not exceed 10% on holidays. The restriction does not apply to fast carbohydrates contained in vegetables and fruits.
Do not abuse sugar, honey, maple syrup, fatty sweets, foods, and drinks with added sucrose. Consider giving up sugar. Let your body live the way nature intended.
Find out more about giving up sugar here:
- Healthy Sugar Alternatives: Top 8 Products
- No-Sugar Weight Loss Diet Stereotypes
- Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe? 2021 Update
Follow us on Social Media Platforms: