Continuing our conversation with sugar, let’s discuss a few positive aspects of how reducing our sugar intake can benefit us.
First, a reminder of the science behind sugar. Sugar is a natural ingredient that has been part of our diet for many years. Sugars are carbohydrates that provide energy for our bodies. A common misconception is that all sugars are bad. Sugars that are refined, meaning they are highly processed, do not add any nutritional value for our bodies. Sugars, in the form of complex carbohydrates, are essential for substantial energy for our organ systems. Let’s keep good sugars in our diets, and try to reduce intake of refined sugars.
Here are a few positive aspects of how reducing refined sugars from our diets may increase our health and kick start your journey to a balanced lifestyle.
Number 1 – We may learn to appreciate natural sweeteners more. And not just fruits. Food and baked goods that were made with honey or maple syrup are so much sweeter. The overall flavors of the foods are more appealing to us, rather than just the sugar aspect. Fruits will taste amazing too. Try and stick to 1 or 2 fruits a day. (When we add protein sources, like nut butter to our fruits it will digest the natural sugars slower in our bodies).
Number 2 – Your taste buds may become more sensitive. Foods that you are used to needing more sugar or salt because they were “plain” now may taste sweeter to you. On paleo pancakes, for example, try adding a splash of maple syrup rather than coating every corner of them. A little bit can go a long way.
Number 3 – Flatter bellies are always a plus. And I’m not just talking about losing weight and looking skinner. I mean the bloating part. Reducing daily amounts of sugar can help our guts function more naturally. That after lunch bloating feeling can be reduced if eat slower and incorporate more whole foods and proteins.
Number 4 – You might discover that most packaged goods contain lots of added sugars. Even peanut butter and spaghetti sauce can have hidden sugars in them. Try out brands that contain less than 5g of sugar per serving. Most nut butters, such as almond or cashew butter will contain a lot less sugar than peanut butter.
Number 5 – Losing weight. Life without sugar is a fantastic way to keep those unwanted pounds off. When we have too much sugar our bodies will store those extra carbohydrates as fat. By reducing the intake of sugar every day, our bodies naturally metabolize the healthy carbs and use them as energy for vital organs.
Number 6 – Creating good habits. We can train our minds and our bodies to make smarter choices at the grocery store. One effective way of creating a habit is to keep a journal. This will keep you accountable for everything you are consuming.
Number 7 – Decision making can become a lot easier, and therefore will reduce your overall stress levels. For example, someone asks you: Want a piece of cake? All we answer is simple “no, thank you”. There, decision made.
Number 8 – You might start to feel less regret. You wake up in the morning and you might not think about the food choices you made the day before. Instead of that oh-no-i-just-ate-three-brownies-before-bed regret, you could start to feel that you made clean and healthy choices.
Number 9 – An upward spiral feeling that things are getting better. No matter where you are in your life, you have the chance to start making good decisions about reducing refined sugar. This may lead to other healthy decisions in your life. If you start feeding your body good things, you will want to upward spiral to continue the progress.
Number 10 – Feeling better overall. Both physically and mentally.
Let’s all take the pledge to reduce our refined sugars. Once you start, I promise you won’t want to go back!