It is no longer news that consuming added sugar in excess is deleterious to your overall health.
However, many Americans consume lots of added sugar daily. This comes in the form of sweetened baked goods, candy, soda, sugary breakfast cereals, etc.
Reducing your intake of added sugar is beneficial to your health. Why? Because studies have shown that excessive sugar consumption is associated with a high risk of chronic health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and fatty liver (1,2,3,4,5,6).
Many people engage in a “no sugar” challenge to cut down on their added sugar intake. The goal of this practice is to cut out every form of added sugar for a specific period.
This article explains the benefits of a 14-day no sugar challenge.
How does it work?
The primary objective of the 14-day no sugar challenge is to avoid the intake of every form of added sugar for 14 days. Instead of taking foods that contain added sugar, you eat more nutrient-dense, whole foods free of added sugar.
The 14-day no sugar challenge does not restrict the intake of natural sugars, such as those found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Instead, the goal is to exclude foods that contain added sugars from your diet.
Here’s the thing: any diet that reduces or completely excludes added sugar will be of immense benefit to the individual's overall health, especially among those who consume added sugar in high amounts.
For any dietary pattern to succeed, the dieter must be consistent, and this is not necessarily the point of a 14-day no sugar challenge.
If you exclude sugar from your diet for 14 days and then return to a high-sugar diet shortly after that, you’ll lose the benefits just as quickly as they came.
Below are some of the benefits associated with a low-sugar diet:
Every time you consume a sugary food, your pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin, which goes into your blood and pushes the sugars down right into your cells, causing a low blood sugar situation (hypoglycemia) that causes you to crave sugar. So, by getting rid of the sugar, you get rid of the craving for it.
It is important to note that frequently taking in beverages and foods containing plenty of added sugar negatively affects blood sugar management. And this may put you at risk of type 2 diabetes.
Sweetened drinks and foods like candy, soda, baked goods, and energy drinks are loaded with sugars rapidly absorbed by the body.
Diets that contain these types of sugar are linked to insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels. In insulin resistance, the cells of your body lose their sensitivity to insulin.
The result may be elevated insulin and blood sugar levels, ultimately damaging the cells and increasing your risk of chronic diseases (3,7,8,9).
Do you know that it is the sugar that keeps you hungry all the time? This may sound surprising, but yes, it is! When you give up the sugar, you become a lot less hungry because you stabilize the sugar, and now your cells can be fed. However, when you have too much sugar in your body, it becomes toxic, and the body starts rejecting it. This process is known as insulin resistance. So, your body is blocking insulin because it controls sugar, and your body is desperately trying to limit the amount of sugar inside the cells, and your body considers this a bad thing.
Beverages and foods that are high in added sugar are rich in calories. However, they are deficient in nutrients like fiber and protein. This explains why sugary diets have been linked to weight gain (10,11).
High sugar intake is associated with a high level of visceral fat. Visceral fat is a kind of fat that surrounds your internal organs. Having too much visceral fat is associated with an increased risk of chronic disease (12).
It is no longer news that eating sugary food can trigger the release of a burst of energy. But then, consistent intake of added sugar can affect your mood negatively. A 2017 study (14) published in the journal Scientific Reports found that consuming sugar in excess has a long-term negative effect on the psychological health of an individual.
Everyone knows that Americans spend millions of dollars yearly on skincare products. If you’ve ever done a facial or spent roughly $60 for a serum, you’ll understand that it takes so much to maintain the fresh appearance of your skin. But on the other hand, there is a low-cost alternative to better skin, such as cutting down your sugar intake.
Other benefits of moderating or reducing your sugar intake include:
· Improved liver and heart health
· Enhances the growth of brain cells
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