It can be tricky to kick bad habits to the curb, but living a sugar-free lifestyle can be so beneficial to your health. As parents, we always worry about over-indulging in anything that could lead to health problems. Keeping our kids as healthy as possible is essential, but sometimes it can be hard to know why we should do this or say that — no parents are perfect!
Today, we want to talk about all the ways your life and health will benefit positively from going sugar-free. It’s a great lifestyle change for your kids and yourself, and it’s never too late to make healthy changes. We will walk you through some of the ways your body is negatively affected by sugar and 12 of the top reasons why going sugar-free will be the best decision of your life.
Then we will leave you with tips and tricks to spot different ways life may try to throw you off track as well as how to keep yourself going on the path to a healthier you.
Why Do We Crave Sugar?
A few reasons can be the pinpoint of your sugar craving, and many times it can be a combination of reasons why you reach for sweets so often. Our mental health can cause an increase in the amount of sugar we crave.
In moments of stress, we rely on certain outlets for stress relief and a replacement for the energy that stress sucks out of us. Sugar and refined carbs aren’t a good option, but it is an easy one.
Your diet might have been thrown off lately, leaving you hungry faster between meals or feeling less satiated after a meal. If you don’t eat a balanced diet full of adequate protein and fiber, you won’t stay full long enough between meals.
That hunger leads to sluggish feelings; your body will look for ways to get a kick of energy as fast as possible. Even though sugar will eventually lead to a crash in your blood sugar levels, it can help jumpstart your afternoon for a few minutes before causing you even more tired feelings.
What Does Sugar Do to Us?
Even though sugar can replace depleting energy levels quickly, it’s not a good idea. Your body, mind, and soul can be negatively affected by sugar cravings, and we will break those down next.
Sugar’s Effect on the Body
When your body starts to get low on energy, it looks for ways to replace it. While sugar can give you what’s known as a sugar rush, or a quick surge of energy, that rush will lead to a crash. That crash causes a complete halt in your day because it will leave you feeling more tired than before you ate a bunch of sugar for energy.
In addition to this, excessive amounts of sugar can lead to other health concerns, like:
- Weight gain and potential obesity
- Fatty organs
- Inflammation in the joints
- Issues with your gut
- Type 2 diabetes
Sugar’s Effect on the Mind
Giving in to your cravings for sugar over and over again can lead to an addiction to sugar. This addiction will play out similarly to drug addiction, as it is the same area in your brain that becomes reliant on an outside factor. The dopamine hit that you get from that ice cream or cake can be about as addictive as drugs.
Your body will not only begin to crave and require sugar to go through the day, but your brain will tell you that it’s essential to live. The longer you give in to these cravings, the harder it will become to stop eating sugar.
Sugar’s Effect on the Soul
A diet rich in whole grains, fiber, and ample amounts of protein will lower your chances of becoming depressed. When you eat a fully balanced and healthy diet, your body has the right types of fuel it needs to sustain you long-term.
Eating sugar in place of those healthier options can increase your chances of developing depression and anxiety. The link between sugar and depression isn’t always a straight path. Many times the addictive nature of sugar or the physical health issues associated with sugar may lead to depression.
Is Going Sugar-Free Easy?
The question of whether or not going sugar-free (or even low-sugar) is easy depends on your personal situation. While many people can give up sugar fast because they don’t eat much of it anyway, others find it difficult and practically painful to give up refined sugar.
Is It Worth It?
Going sugar-free might not be the easiest thing you do this month. However, given the circumstances of excessive and prolonged sugar consumption, it’s probably the healthiest choice you can make.
12 Benefits of a Sugar-Free Diet
The benefits of a sugar-free diet are not about eating the right foods but also about more natural and prolonged energy, better joint and organ health as well as mental clarity. You and your children deserve the best and healthiest step forward. A sugar-free diet can help get you there.
Reduced Risk of Diabetes
Diabetes occurs when your body can’t produce enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it has properly. Our bodies will create insulin via the pancreas, and overconsumption of sugar causes a breakdown of this process.
The pancreas uses insulin to move glucose throughout your body and create energy. Glucose comes from sugar, so you would think that eating more sugar equals more energy, except the sugars in sweets are sort of an overload for this system.
While Type 1 Diabetes is genetic and unavoidable, Type 2 Diabetes occurs due to poor food choices. Going sugar-free reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, which can greatly benefit your overall health.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Type 2 Diabetes increases your chances of other issues like heart disease. When one consumes too much-added sugar, research has shown a direct link between this and increased rates of heart disease in patients studied. Going sugar-free can help eliminate this concern from your yearly physical.
Low Blood Pressure
Eating too much sugar is a direct pathway to high blood pressure: A study conducted in 2014 confirmed that an excess of sugar is typically worse than consuming too much sodium or salt.
High blood pressure can lead to a multitude of other health problems, including an increased risk of heart disease. Cutting sugar out of your diet will lower blood pressure and reduce the chances of further complications.
Reduced Chance of Liver Disease
Excessive sugar consumption creates a buildup of glucose in the body, which leads to fatty organs as that glucose will stick to areas like the kidneys and liver. This can lead to increased risks of fatty liver disease. Cutting out added sugar in your diet can help bring organs back to a healthy state and eliminate the chances of other health conditions.
Improved Teeth and Dental Health
Just like we tell our children they have to brush their teeth after eating a bunch of candy, the same rings true when we consume a lot of cookies or cakes.
Those sugars will sit in our teeth and between our teeth and lead to cavities and other issues like gingivitis. Cutting out the sugar will create a better environment for healthy teeth and lead to seeing your dentist way less.
Improved Joint Health
Research shows that excessive sugar in the diet can lead to inflammation in the joints and body. Inflammation occurs when the body is fighting off issues.
Complications surrounding joints and bones and the fatty organ issues associated with too much sugar fall under this category. When you reduce or cut out your sugar intake in favor of healthy foods, you can begin to heal from intense inflammation in the body.
Inflammation can also exacerbate other skin conditions like chronic acne and eczema. When you cut out the sugar in your diet, you will see an improvement in redness in the skin. Plus, acne breakouts will decrease, especially around the chin and mouth area, as this is where breakouts due to food occur.
Higher Levels of Energy
Excessive amounts of sugary foods can lead to big sugar rushes that are filled with short bursts of energy, but they also come with big sugar crashes. Such crashes leave you tired and feeling that you simply can’t finish your day.
We get our energy from food, so when you eat a balanced diet, your body can find the right fuel sources to keep you energized and awake all day. So you may think that cutting out sugar will reduce your energy levels, but whole grains and fiber will keep you going the distance better than sugar can.
Less Intense Cravings
Cutting out sugar and creating a better meal plan that includes a healthier, more balanced diet will help keep your body from going through intense bouts of cravings. When you feel full and satisfied after a balanced meal, your body isn’t looking for anything else to fill it.
Hopefully, you will notice that your cravings for sugar or salt after eating will decrease. You will have better mental clarity without worrying about what to eat.
Studies have shown that excessive sugar consumption leads to less restful sleep, as the research shows you will wake up more frequently throughout the night.
When you cut out sugar and increase your intake of whole grains and healthy fats, your body will function better, and that includes your body’s creation of melatonin. A balanced diet will help you get a better sleep pattern started.
Improved Overall Mood
Without those cravings, skin issues, pain from inflammation, and poor sleep, you can begin to see an improvement in your overall mood due to a sugar-free diet. Pain and trouble sleeping can lead to depression and anxiety, as your brain and body aren’t properly prepared for the day due to other issues it is fighting.
When you balance your diet and cut out the problem-causing sugars, you can see and feel the difference in your mental and physical states.
Secret Sugars: Where Are They Hiding?
Now that you know why sugar doesn’t work with your lifestyle, you and your family can begin to find better ways to get your body’s fuel. While that does mean changing your diet and creating a more balanced meal plan, some red flags on labels are quietly waving in the wind.
Here are a few things to look out for:
At the beginning of your new sugar-free journey, you might need to check every label to ensure you're not consuming sugar by mistake.
Many foods, such as dairy products and fruit juices, will have natural sugars, and those naturally-occurring sugars are okay to eat. Still, many will have a separate section that details the added sugars. Condiments, cereals, and more can contain a lot of sugar. This is where food choices get tricky.
You will need to make less processed food choices and start buying meals or products for meals from natural stores or the healthier aisles at your local supermarket.
Do This, Not That
While creating a meal plan can help keep you on track and buying the healthier alternative to many of the foods we all love, there are still other items you will need to consider to keep your body and diet on a healthy path.
These are talking points for your family to create the healthiest path forward for everyone.
Go for a Walk
When you rely on sugar for energy, you crash and burn quickly throughout your day. When you eat whole grains and complex carbohydrates, this isn’t something you will have to worry about. So, you will need to take walks before or after dinner or hike on the weekends to deplete those energy levels before bedtime.
This is a great time to bond as a family and talk about your day, bringing you all closer and healthier along the way.
Maintaining a healthy amount of water in your system is critical for a healthy lifestyle. Water will keep you hydrated. In turn, this keeps you focused and awake throughout your day. If you’re eating right and getting adequate exercise but still feel sluggish, you probably forget to drink water.
Get Your Patch On
Keeping yourself focused and steering clear of sugar and other unhealthy foods can be challenging, especially when you first make the healthy switch. Aromatherapy can help keep your brain focused on the big picture, and our CravePatch is the perfect clothing companion for the job.
These are stickers that go on clothes, not on skin, and release the right combination of essential oils over an eight-hour period of time to keep you on track and keep sugar cravings at bay. Think of them as your sidekick that helps you create a healthier lifestyle.
The best part? Kids can wear them too! So everyone will get the help they need putting their healthiest foot forward.
Be Prepared for Stressful Moments
A big red flag or a possible moment of weakness to watch out for is a stressful moment in your day or a stressful period at work. During these trying times, your meals get thrown off, and your diet can slip off track. When this happens, your body will look to other sources for sustenance; sugar tends to be the first culprit.
Be prepared for these days by prepping more foods ahead of time or buying healthier snack options so that you’re prepared for busy days when you forget meals.
Get Ready for a Life-Changing Experience
We are confident that these tips and tricks are just what your family needs to get on the path to a healthier lifestyle and experience the life-changing effects of a sugar-free diet. Remember that it may not always be fun or easy, but it is so worth it.