WANT to look younger, feel more energetic, lose some belly fat and improve your health? Of course you do! But you don’t have to buy any expensive “magic” potions or book into a swanky health farm – just give up sugar for a month and you’ll notice some great changes to the way you feel and the way you look.
As this is Sugar Awareness Week I thought you might like to find out the benefits to you if you quit sugar. I don’t just mean the spoonful you add to your tea or coffee, by the way.
I mean being totally aware of the hidden sugar in everyday food and drink and steering clear of it.
You can find out more about hidden sugar in some of my earlier blog posts.
But just take a look at some of the scientifically-proven benefits of a life without sugar.
Quit sugar for younger-looking skin
Research suggests that high blood sugar hinders the repair of your skin’s collagen. So a poor diet can make your skin less elastic and bring on premature wrinkles. Studies show that if you quit it can help reduce visible signs of ageing.
Quit sugar and lose that belly fat
Cakes, biscuits and fizzy drinks pile on the pounds around your middle. This is because high blood sugar levels release a flood of insulin through your body and over time make fat build up around your belly. This is especially dangerous because these abdominal fat cells release hormones that bring on the kind of inflammation that can cause heart disease and cancer.
Quit sugar and keep diabetes at bay
For greater protection against type 2 diabetes, you should quit sugar (or at the very least cut down on it). When you eat a lot of sweet carbohydrate the pancreas releases huge amounts of sugar to cope. Repeat this day after day at every mean – and between meals with snacks – and the cells which produce insulin can get tired and stop working, eventually leading to diabetes.
Quit sugar and protect your heart
A research project shows that people who get between 17 and 21 per cent of their daily calories from food packed with sugar had a 38 per cent higher risk of dying from heart disease than those who kept their added sugar intake to below eight per cent. So stay away from ready meals, junk food, pizza, sauces and all processed food in tins and jars. Their sugar content is huge.
One man in Holland who quit sugar and alcohol for a month for a TV documentary lost 8lbs, saw his blood pressure fall from 135 to 125 and got his cholesterol level to drop by eight per cent.
But going “cold turkey” wasn’t easy. He felt “cranky” and was constantly hungry. This is because sugar is like alcohol – it makes you feel tired, dehydrates you and sucks the vitamins out of your body.
The Dutch guinea pig said he felt much fitter at the end of his month being forced to live on fruit, yoghurt and salads. But it took three weeks for the sugar cravings to finally disappear.
What really grabbed my attention was when I discovered what happened when he started eating sugar again. “I got arrhythmia [irregular heartbeat] twice,” he said. “I also had trouble sleeping. I couldn’t fall asleep before 3am or 4am. My body wasn’t used to sugar any more and it came in like a drug.”
That’s precisely the problem we face in our sugar-laden world today. Sugar is like an addictive drug – and it’s hugely powerful.
Is sugar a problem in your life? Could you challenge yourself to quit sugar for 21 days? Please leave a comment below – I read them all with great interest and they really help me to help others.