Many of us our addicted to the sweet taste of sugar, but just because it tastes good doesn’t mean it’s good for us. The average American consumes about 71.14 grams or 17 teaspoons of sugar per day. That’s twice as much as the recommended daily intake. In addition to the sugar we add to our coffee or baked goods, hidden sugars are lurking in nearly 80% of the packaged foods we buy at the supermarket, including juice, yogurt, cereal, bread and even vegetables.
Eliminating sugar from our diets can be a real challenge, but the benefits of a sugar-free diet make it worth the effort. Sugar contains no healthy nutrients and when consumed in excess it often leads to weight gain and a variety of health problems.
If you need more convincing, take a look at the benefits of a sugar-free diet.
- Improved Gut Health
Consuming too much sugar can have a negative impact on the digestive system. Our digestive tract is home to a variety of beneficial bacteria, which work to keep us healthy. Sugar can throw off the bacterial balance in the gut, causing IBS, hormonal balances and joint inflammation, among other issues.
- Lower Blood Pressure
People consuming excess sugar often experience weight gain, resulting in high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke. A diet low in sugar combined with exercise will help you maintain a healthy blood pressure.
- Diabetes Prevention
Regular consumption of sugary beverages like soda and fruit juices, along with a diet high in sugar, contribute to type 2 diabetes. Reducing or eliminating sugar from your diet can prevent diabetes or even reverse it.
- Increased Energy
After consuming large amounts of sugar, people initially experience a short boost in energy, followed by a dramatic dip once the sugar leaves the blood stream. As a result, you’ll feel tired and develop cravings for more sugar to raise your energy levels back up. Eating more fresh, natural and unprocessed foods is a healthy alternative to energize the body and mind.
- Better Skin
Sugar can have a negative impact on the skin. Increased consumption of sugar has been shown to trigger inflammation and hormonal disturbances, which contribute to skin issues such has acne, eczema and premature aging.
- Healthier Immune System
Every time we eat something sweet the increased insulin released in our bodies inhibits the release of human growth hormone, which depresses the immune system, reducing our ability to fight off infections and viruses. Over time our immune system weakens, making us more susceptible to cold and flue viruses. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in sugar and carbohydrates will ensure our immune system functions at peak levels.
Limiting or quitting sugar altogether will have you feeling stronger and healthier. And a sugar-free diet doesn’t have to be void of sweet flavor. An all-natural sugar substitute like stevia will allow you to enjoy the same baked goods and sweet dishes you’ve always loved without the unhealthy side effects.