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What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Eating Sugar?

Updated on August 9, 2018
Kaitlyn Lo profile image

Kaitlyn has a background in psychology and writes articles that teach you how to lean on your body, mind, heart, and on those around you.

By rawpixel.com. CC0 Creative Commons
By rawpixel.com. CC0 Creative Commons | Source

Refined, processed sugar is one of the most addictive substances currently known to science. Yes, that means it’s more addictive than hard illegal drugs like cocaine. Researchers gave rats a choice between cocaine and sugar water. Ninety-four percent of rats chose sugar over cocaine. Even that rats who were addicted to cocaine switched to sugar. Scary, right?

But that’s not to say that you should cut out every last gram of sugar from your diet. Naturally occurring sugar like that in fruits are obviously just fine. The American Heart Association says less than 6 teaspoons of added sugar is also acceptable for women; 9 teaspoons for men.

With that being said, most of us are getting too much sugar in our diets. According to the USDA, the average American eats 156 pounds of added sugar per year. That’s about 16,982 teaspoons a year, or about 46 teaspoons a day. That’s way over the recommended 6 or 9 teaspoons a day.

So whether you’re newly committed to a sugar detox or just looking for ways to improve your health, here’s a list of great things that will happen when you embark on the journey to cure your addiction to sugar.

Poll: Your Sugar Consumption

If you were to estimate how much sugar you eat on a daily basis, how many grams do you think you're eating in a day?

See results

8 Awesome Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Sugar

By Anete Lusina. CC0 Creative Commons
By Anete Lusina. CC0 Creative Commons | Source

1. Your Sleep Will Improve

Say goodbye to lethargy from sugar crashes and the uncontrollable need to nap multiple times during the day only to lay awake at night, staring at the ceiling. Added sugars also make your body release cortisol, a stress hormone, which prevents quality sleep. So when you stop eating sugar, you’ll have more energy during the day, and a better sleep at night.

If you’re just starting to cut back on sugar, don’t be discouraged if you feel more tired during the day. Your body is used to using sugar for energy, so it’s normal to experience headaches and fatigue until your body retrains itself to live on a healthier diet.

2. You'll Lose Weight More Easily

When you eat sugar, insulin levels in your blood will shoot up in an attempt to balance out your blood sugar levels. The problem with insulin is, too much of it will cause you to store more fat around your stomach and make your body retain more calories as fat instead of burning them for energy. In short, too much insulin will make fat loss almost impossible.

So when you cut out added sugar from your diet, your insulin levels will stabilize, which will help your body come out of fat-storage mode. As a result, you’ll feel less hungry, and your metabolism will increase, which will make losing fat a much easier thing to do.

3. Your Memory Will Get Better

Too much sugar can cause forgetfulness and brain fog. Chronic high levels of sugar consumption can even cause brain damage. A study by UCLA found that high sugar consumption impaired cognitive abilities because sugar distracted the molecules responsible for brain synaptic plasticity (your brain’s ability to learn and remember things) from doing their job.

Since most of us eat so much sugar on a daily basis, it’s good to know that we’ll literally get smarter if we cut out the white stuff for good.

4. You’ll Have a Healthier Heart

Studies have shown that added sugar is hard on the heart. According to a 2014 study, people who had 17 to 21 percent of their daily calories come from sugar were 38 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, as opposed to those who had less than 10 percent of their daily calories come from sugar.

The takeaway lesson here is: less sugar + more exercise = healthy heart.

Too much sugar in your bloodstream creates a very friendly environment for cancer cells.

5. You'll Get Better Skin

Glycation is a process that prevents your skin from replenishing its collagen. Without collagen, your skin will look wrinkly, tired, and dull. While glycation is part of the natural aging process, eating too much sugar will speed that process up and make you look older sooner. So, the sooner you stop eating sugar, the longer you’ll be able to stay looking young and vibrant.

Sugar is also a known inflammatory, and we all know what happens to our skin when we're inflamed. Acne. So if you're struggling to clear up your acne, cutting out sugar might save you a lot of time and money searching for a cure.

6. You'll Lower Your Risk of Cancers

Sugar is like fertilizer for cancer. Cancer cells take in ten times more sugar than normal healthy cells. So why give the nasty cells more food?

Cancer cells also thrive in acidic environments. Since sugar is about a 6 on the PH scale (anything below 7 is acidic), too much sugar in your bloodstream creates a very friendly environment for these bad cells. Studies have found that sugar is linked closely to breast, prostate, endometrium, and pancreas cancer.

When you quit sugar for good, you’re building a healthy environment for your normal cells to function effectively, and minimizing any chances for cancer cells to develop.

7. You’ll Have More Willpower

Because sugar is so addictive, you could spend all day trying to control your sugar cravings. When you’re so preoccupied with thoughts of sweet treats, it can be hard to focus or push yourself to accomplish goals.

So, while you will experience withdrawal symptoms at first, quitting sugar will give you the mental capacity to focus on what really matters to you. That means you can finally concentrate on that pet project you’ve been trying to complete for years.

8. Your Immune System Will Get Stronger

Sugar is known to interfere with our white blood cells’ ability to fight off invaders, so when you stop eating sugar, you’ll allowing your immune system to do its job more effectively.

An interesting side note is that starchy carbs don’t have the same effect on white blood cells. This means that you can still eat carbs like whole wheat bread and other grains without having to worry about sugar from the digested carbs weakening your immune system. Just focus on cutting out added and processed sugars.

By Victor Freitas. CC0 Creative Commons
By Victor Freitas. CC0 Creative Commons | Source

And Many More….

But that’s not all the good things that will happen when you stop eating sugar. Here are a few more.

  • Reduced risk of diabetes
  • Less inflammation and reduced arthritis pain
  • More energy
  • Healthier liver
  • Better oral health
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced belly fat

© 2018 KV Lo

Comments

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    • profile image

      Jean Labitoria 

      22 hours ago

      I've tried! I just didn't have any willpower aside from when I was pregnant, then I cut majority of sugars.

      after birth, hello sugars again!

    • Kaitlyn Lo profile imageAUTHOR

      KV Lo 

      2 months ago

      @Homesweetholmes.net: Definitely! Sugar crashing is the worst.

    • Kaitlyn Lo profile imageAUTHOR

      KV Lo 

      2 months ago

      @paige: Thank you! Glad you found it informative. :)

    • profile image

      paige 

      2 months ago

      love this post! such an important subject and love how informative this is!

    • Kaitlyn Lo profile imageAUTHOR

      KV Lo 

      2 months ago

      @Pamela Oglesby: I'm glad you found my article useful. :) A little sugar once in a while is perfectly fine so I wouldn't stress about it too much. But I've done sugar detoxes a few times a year where I cut out all added sugar for about two weeks, and I've loved it! It is hard, but it really helps to reset my body. :)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      This list is amazing and to know sugar can cause so many problems is a bit depressive. i really try to stay away from sugar almost all the time, but every once in a while it is tough. I am glad to be aware of the many things that will improve without sugar. Very good article for good health.

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