8 Signs We are Consuming Too Much Sugar and How to Kick The Habit
Sugar is usually packed in different forms in almost every product we buy. Probably, we consume sugar more than we know. But, how much sugar is enough? Sugar is unhealthy for humankind because it leads to many diseases.
When we buy a product and on the package, it is written that there is ‘no sugar,’ but the ingredients may say something else.
For instance, a “sugarless” product may have some of the following ingredients which are all sources of sugar: dextrin, disaccharides, sweetener, dextrose, fructose, diglycerides, glucose, evaporated cane juice, sucrose, maltose, rice syrup, etc.
There are many sources of sugar, and we cannot know exactly how much sugar do we consume. So, below we offer you a list of signs that can help you know if you eat a lot of sugar.
1. Feeling Exhausted
Our sleep/wake cycle is controlled by orexins which are a type of neurotransmitters in the hypothalamus. (1) These neurotransmitters are sensitive to sugars, and they have a reaction to the glucose in our organism.
When there is a small increase of glucose in the blood, it prevents the transmission of neural signals, so the sleep state is activated. After we eat sugar, we feel energetic, but when that sugar drops, our neurotransmitters switch off, so we feel extremely tired.
2. Strong Desire for Sugar/Carbs
Did you know that sugar is addictive just like cocaine, and their effects are similar? (2) When you eat sugar, your organism produces dopamine which is the pleasure hormone.
Even when we do not think about it, we may wish to eat sugary foods or carbs in order to feel better. Also, as with other addictions, the more you eat sugar, the more you crave it.
In fact, your body becomes tolerant to sugar, and you want it even when you are not feeling hungry.
Here is a video in which Dr. Mark Hyman talks about a study that gives an explanation about sugar addiction.
3. You Are Often Getting a Cold or Flu
When you eat a lot of sugar, your immune system becomes weaker. But, why? Well, glucose lowers the white blood cells’ activity, and they are the ones who should kill pathogens such as viruses.
Consuming sugar more than enough on a daily basis exposes us to infections because our organisms are unable to fight them.
4. You Are Gaining Weight
Probably you know that eating too much sugar makes you gain weight. Also, activity level and metabolism are included in gaining weight, but our bodies tend to burn sugar to gain energy.
And, when your body cannot use it instantly, it stores it as fat. Additionally, when you eat a lot of sugar, you suppress leptin which is a hormone that tells you when it is time to stop eating.
Even though exercise is good, when you consume a lot of sugar, you will be exhausted, so you are unable to exercise. When there is an increase of glucose in your blood, it affects the production of insulin which lowers the blood sugar levels.
When insulin levels are too low, our body thinks it needs more fuel, and that is why we eat even when we are not hungry. On the contrary, consuming proteins is healthy because they keep us active and awake.
Protein stimulates the production of orexins, and we become alert, and our metabolism becomes more active to burn extra calories. (3)
5. Mental Fog
One study published in Neuroscience revealed that mice who consumed foods rich in refined sugar and saturated fats experienced a decreased function of the brain in two months.
That happened because sugar affects neurotransmitters and proteins in the brain which are responsible for memory and learning. (4)
6. Lost Sense of Taste
The human’s tongue gets used to all kinds of tastes even sugar. Overweight people seem to have lost their sense of taste when it comes to sweets, as reported by British researchers.
Healthy and fit people were tested, they began drinking two soft drinks per day, and after four weeks, they had dulled taste buds as well as sugar cravings.
Moreover, the study explained that because of the power of the subconscious, overweight people feel more hunger and they crave high-calorie foods. (5)
In another study from 2016, when people cut down the amount of sugar intake, they became more sensitive to sweet tastes. So, when you lower the sugar in your diet, food will become sweeter. (6)
When you eat a lot of sugar, you put yourself at risk to get cancer. As time goes by, increased insulin production, as well as internal inflammation, may cause abnormal and rapid reproduction of cells.
In fact, cancer cells live on sugar, and this is a huge and enough reason to stay away from sugar. Thanks to a nine-year research project, scientists have made a breakthrough. (7)
8. You Get Problems With Your Skin
Our bodies have a lot of collagen which is a protein responsible for our skin’s elasticity. Sugar connects to collagen helps its cells to move.
When you consume too much sugar, the collagen cells because less movable, so the tissues, as well as the skin, become stiff. When your skin loses its elasticity, you get wrinkles.
Furthermore, sugar intake causes inflammations, acne, and dermatitis. Carbs such as cereal, rice, pasta, and bread increase the levels of insulin in the body and the production of the male hormone, androgen.
This hormone makes your skin oily, so your pores get clogged, and you get pimples. Did you know that candida is a yeast that feeds on sugar?
So, when you consume a lot of sugar, you put yourself at risk of getting infections on your nails and vagina, oral thrush, as well as athlete’s foot. Additionally, having increased blood sugar leads to diabetic neuropathy and you get pain and tingling in your feet.
How to Know What Amount of Sugar is Too Much?
Fruits contain natural sugars which are rich in minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals that let cells use their nourishment. The sugar intake per day depends on the size, age, and activity.
Anyway, according to the American Heart Association, women should limit their sugar intake to 30 grams per day (six teaspoons, 100 calories), and men should limit their intake to 45 grams per day (nine teaspoons, 150 calories). (8)
Based on practice, consuming more than 22.5 grams of sugar is too much, while less than 5 grams is too low. (9) About 45-65 percent of your daily calorie intake should be carbs.
A daily diet should include 2000 calories of which 900 to 1300 calories (225 to 325g) should be carbs. To see how much sugar and carbs you consume you can check out the labels on the products.
Also, you can use Nutrition facts to find out how much carbs you consume. Below you can see a list of foods and their carb content:
- A slice of white bread has 15 grams.
- A hundred grams of pasta has 8 percent of the recommended daily intake.
- A hundred grams of rice has 28 grams.
- An average apple has 19 grams, and it has fiber too.
- A hundred grams of cereal has 68 grams.
- A twelve-ounce can of cola has 39 grams.
- An average carrot has 6 grams.
Are Artificial Sweeteners a Better Choice?
Even though many people think that artificial sweeteners are a better choice than sugar, they are not.
There is a lot of proof that they cause hypertension, obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, depression, chronic headaches, cancer, and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative illnesses.
Artificial sweeteners contain sucralose, amino sweet, Truvia, aspartame, advantame, and high fructose corn syrup.
On the other hand, honey, fruits, molasses, and maple syrup are natural sources of sugar, and they are safe to use as well as healthy. Since there are rich in nutrients, they satisfy the desire for sweets better than refined sugars.
Here is something more about these superfoods:
- Maple syrup: it is excellent because it kills cancer cells. It contains minerals, phytochemicals, and it is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
- Fruit juice: this juice has a lot of natural sugar, but it is rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Honey: raw and unpasteurized honey is antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and it has a lot of antioxidants and nutrients.
- Molasses: it is rich in potassium, selenium, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
How to Recover From Sugar Addiction
Being a sugar addict means that you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as anger, anxiety or depression, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, shakes, weight loss, headaches, impulsive behaviors, and changes in appetite. (10)
Below we offer you a step-by-step recovery:
1. Get rid of sugary snacks.
2. Understand why you are addicted to sugar, be kind to yourself, and do not feel guilty. Make better choices.
3. When you kick out sugary foods, your brain will not produce as much dopamine, so do other things that will improve your mood.
4. Consume other foods instead of sugar that will make you feel good. For example, eggs, raw cocoa, veggies, spinach, corn, fish, etc.
5. Drink a lot of water to remove the excess sugar and keep yourself hydrated because dehydration leads to sugar cravings.
6. Consume healthy foods throughout the whole day to keep your sugar levels balanced.
7. Use green and sea veggies because they contain minerals that will boost your energy.
8. Consume sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and miso because they contain probiotics that help the processing of sugar and will rebalance your intestinal flora.
9. Peppermint oil is going to help you to soothe the withdrawal symptoms.
10. Consume foods rich in chromium because it keeps your blood sugar stable. (Shellfish, broccoli, garlic, grapes, turkey, beef, and brewer’s yeast)
11. Increase your activity level to burn the extra sugar.
When you lower the sugar intake in your daily life, you will feel the improvement immediately. Your life will become better, and you will live longer. So, it is up to you.