6 Reasons to Take a Sugar Break and 1 Pitfall to Avoid
Here are the top 6 research-driven reasons to take a break from sugar
Do it to reset your metabolism. When your body's using sugars and grains for most of it's fuel, it tends to slow way down in order to fend off possible starvation. Taking a break from sugar can help your body start to burn fat as your fuel instead. When this happens, your metabolism naturally increases and your body runs more like a well-oiled machine.
Kevin Hall, Ph.D from the National Institutes of Health, found when you measure every ounce of food, every movement, every breath and every calorie burned, you find that those who ate more fat compared to an identical amount of carbs burned more calories a day due to an increase in metabolism.
Do it to reset your taste buds. Sugar can be addictive, according to Dr. Mark Hyman, "In animal studies, they find that the rats go for the sugar and that it's eight times as addictive as cocaine. Small amounts of sugar can be part of a normal diet, but most of us are addicted to sugar and don't know it."
We're wired to seek out sweet things because more nutrients are found in the ripest and sweetest fruits. The problem is that when sugar is processed it becomes much sweeter than even the sweetest of fruits so we naturally seek it.
The bottom line is that sugar tricks our brains into feeling good for a short time with long term negative side-effects like diabetes, weight gain and heart disease. That sounds more like an extremely ineffective drug than a food to me!
Gain focus and energy. A research group at the University of Wisconsin found that the brain may react to excess refined sugars found in food as if they were a virus or bacteria. The resulting immune response may cause cognitive deficits, such as those associated with Alzheimer's disease.
I wish I could tell you how good it feels to wake up easily at 5 AM and keep up with 3-6 toddlers 5 days a week, over 10 hours per day and then go out dancing to live music. All at age 60!
Or how it feels to be able to walk around every day alert and happy, with no feeling at all of fogginess or lethargy. I can't make you feel what I feel, all I can say is you'll never know how good you could feel unless you try it.
I didn't know I was walking around exhausted and hazy all of the time because of the large amount of sugars and grains I was ingesting on a daily basis. I had nothing to compare it to.
Improve your gut health. Eating too much sugar can really mess with your gut by decreasing the amount of good bacteria that exists there. This is what causes you to have those relentless sugar cravings. Sugar is also linked to inflammation in the gut as well as the entire body. New research is showing that poor gut health is strongly associated with depression.
Eliminate cravings and excessive hunger. When you don't have blood sugar spikes to deal with, you just don't get that hungry. Of course I still feel hunger since I've quit sugar, but it's a different, more normal kind of hunger. The kind that starts kicking in about 3 or 4 hours after a meal and goes away after eating again.
Not the "Oh no! How could I be getting hungry already!" or "How am I ever going to wait for dinner?" kind. Or the kind where you wake up hungry and never feel satisfied all day long, even though you eat plenty. That's why quitting sugar makes it so much easier to lose weight.
Prove to yourself that you can do it! Say to yourself, "(Your first name), You can do this!" Research says that using this exact format actually works to convince our brains that we, in fact, can.
Here's the pitfall that makes so many people fail when they try to quit or cut back on sugar.
They make the mistake of eating more grains and other carbohydrates to fill the gap left by the sugar. Then they end up feeling just as bad as ever and decide that they need a little bit of sugar to feel good after all. Soon they're back at it full force and wondering why they're always so tired and hungry.
In my opinion, the only way to get over sugar is to give all sugars, grains and starches a break for about three days. Clear your system and then start over.
You might have your own reasons to take a break from eating sugar but these are my top 6 based on my own experience. I lost a whole lot of weight after I quit sugar (100 lbs.) but even more important than the weight is the energy I gained.
I've kept the weight off for over 12 years now. I run a child development home full of active infants, toddlers and preschoolers so I really appreciate the energy and the new lease on life.
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