One of the biggest problems in Western diets today is the consumption of sugar, both by adults and children. There are multiple ways in which sugar can affect your health, such as weakening your immune system, increasing the chance of diabetes, and much more. Eating too much sugar can even alter the balance of microorganisms in your gut, leaving you vulnerable to Candida or other gut disorders.
Whichever gender or age group you belong to, adding sugar to your diet is generally a bad idea. The good news is that when you quit added sugar, you will start to see the positive effects of this change within a few days. In fact, research has shown that it takes as little as ten days for these health-affirming changes to appear!
More Evidence That Quitting Sugar Can Improve Your Health
A recent study, carried out by a medical team in California, looked at how 43 children were affected by a reduction in their sugar consumption. Before and after the study, the researchers measured some key markers for diabetes.
After the study they noted that, on average, triglyceride levels had decreased by approximately 33 points and LDL (bad cholesterol) had declined by 5 points. Diastolic blood pressure was also lowered. The most encouraging part of this is that all these positive changes took place in a time span of ten days. Just 10 days of a new eating plan had, apparently, significantly reduced the risk of diabetes developing in these children.
What Does Sugar Do To You?
There is a long list of the negative health impacts that eating too much sugar can have on the body. In fact, there are far too many to cover in this article, so today I’m going to focus on just two. Let’s take a look at how sugar can mess up your digestive system, and how it can prevent you from thinking clearly.
Sugar Can Mess Up Your Digestion
Eating too much sugar can change the balance of microorganisms in your gut. In a healthy person’s gut flora you can find Lactobacillus acidophilus and many other bacteria that exist naturally in the intestines. On the other hand, an individual who regularly eats large amounts of sugar is more likely to have an overgrowth of Candida or some other opportunistic pathogen.
Organisms like Candida albicans need organic, carbon-based compounds to provide them with energy. Their cell walls are 80% made from carbohydrates. This means sugars like glucose, fructose and sucrose. They can come from added sugars, from natural sugars, or from both.
If you’re wondering why your gut flora are so important, imbalances in your intestines can have all kinds of effects. The ‘good bacteria’ in your gut perform a number of roles: maintaining correct acidity levels; boosting your immune system; extracting nutrients from your food; and much more. When bad dietary choices (like eating too many foods on this list throw this delicate system out of balance, many of these benefits can be lost.
Sugar Can Affect Your Cognitive Ability
Sugar can directly affect the brain, and most of the sweet foods that we consume contain refined sugar. Anyone familiar with the symptoms of Candida will know about something called brain fog. This is when you experience feelings of confusion, forgetfulness, and a lack of mental clarity. Eating a high sugar diet can contribute to this.
There is also research to show that sugar can have other significant impacts on the way we act. It can make us irritable, impulsive, and cause us to make decisions too quickly without thinking them through. All indications are that refined sugar affects the cognitive ability of individuals in a negative way.
In one well-publicized article from 2015, a journalist named Michael Grothaus documented his journey to giving up refined sugar. After being advised by a friend that his sugar consumption was likely harming his health, even though he was maintaining a healthy weight, he put it to the test. For two weeks he eliminated the refined sugar from his diet. His experience was really interesting, and reflective of the experience that many people have.
The first day he didn’t feel any different, but on the second day he began to experience a lot of negative effects that included headaches, brain fog and cravings for sweet foods. This lasted for a couple of days. By the third day he was experiencing occasional shakes. This is a surprisingly common symptom of sugar withdrawal. He also became irritable and was not able to concentrate.
By the 6th day the ill effects began to subside and by about the 9th day he was thinking far clearer than he could ever remember experiencing before. He reported having much greater mental clarity.
One of the things that he observed was that the natural sugars he was still consuming tasted sweeter. Many people who give up added sugar find that their taste buds seem to be acting differently after a few weeks, so much so that even plain yogurt starts to taste slightly sweet.
What’s the takeaway from this experience? Reducing your sugar intake is not easy, but the benefits are worth it! Get started today and begin your journey to better health.