A low-sugar diet means reducing how much added and natural sugars you consume in a day. Less restrictive than a no-sugar diet, low-sugar diets encourage you to reduce your sugar intake and focus on healthier, balanced eating habits, such as switching out processed foods for more nutritious produce and whole grains.
Many health professionals recommend starting a low-sugar diet sooner rather than later to prevent harmful weight gain and other chronic conditions. Essentially, the goal of reducing the amount of sugar you eat is to maintain healthy glucose levels in the body.
There are many reasons to try a low-sugar diet, and the benefits greatly outweigh any challenges associated with making adjustments to your eating habits. Here are six reasons to try a low-sugar diet.
By reducing your sugar intake, you are likely to achieve weight loss. Refined sugar is added during the processing of packaged foods and found in nutrient-poor beverages like soda, alcoholic drinks and fruit juice, and snack foods and sweets. Although fruits and vegetables contain sugar, they're naturally occurring and more easily processed by your body.
An effective way to lose weight is to lessen the amount of refined sugar you eat in a day. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends up to 50 grams of added sugar per day based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
The American Dental Association (ADA) highlights the relationship between sugary drinks and foods and dental health. Diets high in added sugar can lead to tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and other severe dental problems.
With a low-sugar diet and good oral hygiene routines, you can improve your oral health significantly. Regularly brushing and flossing can help diminish residual bacteria in your teeth and gums, while ingesting less sugar can prevent irreversible tooth wear.
A low-sugar diet is beneficial for diabetes prevention, particularly if you have a family history of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Reducing your intake of processed carbohydrates allows your body to break down glucose, or blood sugar, and fuel your body's energy throughout the day. Your pancreas then releases insulin so that your body can absorb the sugar.
There are three types of carbohydrates in food — sugar, starch, and fiber — and eating a healthy carb ratio is essential for managing and preventing diabetes. If you’re trying a low-sugar diet, it's best to incorporate carbohydrates that are high in fiber and minerals and low in sugar.
When you eat a low-sugar diet, you decrease your blood sugar levels. You can also lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk for heart disease by doing so.
A 2014 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found a correlation between high sugar intake and a risk of dying from cardiac arrest. The results demonstrated that participants who consumed 17-21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% higher chance of dying from heart complications than those who ate a diet of 8% added sugars.
Reducing sugar intake and making other healthy lifestyle adjustments can improve your heart health for years to come.
Simple carbohydrates are high-sugar carbs that typically lead to a rapid spike in blood sugar. Examples of simple carbohydrates include corn syrup, fruit juices, brown or raw sugar, and honey.
On the other hand, complex carbohydrates derive naturally from produce and whole grains, take longer to digest, and have a gradual effect on blood sugar.
When the body begins metabolizing carbs and breaking them down into glucose, it uses its sugar stores for energy. By adding more complex carbs and reducing simple carbs in your diet, you can improve your energy levels throughout the day and reduce your body's chances of crashing from an excess of refined sugars.
The types of foods you eat can impact your mental health. Studies have shown that a nutritious, low-sugar diet can significantly improve your mood and lower your risk of depression. This means you should consider cutting out processed sweets, fried food, refined carbohydrates, and fattening dairy products.
You may also be wondering where sugar cravings come from. Research has determined that sugar stimulates habit-forming receptors in the brain and is more addictive than cocaine, even in drug-sensitized individuals.
By challenging yourself to lower your intake of added sugars, you can beat your sugar cravings and boost your outlook.
You're going to find sugar lurking just about everywhere, from drinks to snacks and desserts. Becoming more conscious of how much sugar you consume in a day and from where you are getting your sugar intake can help you improve your overall health and prevent serious diseases and conditions.
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