Most of us can’t resist chocolate and cake. They are our comfort foods when the stresses of the day take over. Personally, I’m a bit of an all or nothing kind of girl. Give me a box of Quality Street or Celebrations and I would think nothing of ploughing through at least half of it in one go! Shameful, I know!
Last year I gave up refined sugar for 6 months. It was not as hard as I thought and, once I got out of bad habits, like a few biscuits watching TV (affectionately known as ‘ninesies’ by my hubby and I) I started to feel the benefits. Sadly, I had a relapse on holiday and slipped into bad ways again. I’m determined to do it again and keep going this time.
There are many ways living a sugar-free life can help you. Here are a few I experienced:
1. Blood Pressure Reduction
My blood pressure was never really high, but it had started to just cross the ‘normal’ line. It is believed that sugar may affect the hypothalamus. This is an area of the brain that helps to maintain equilibrium in the body. It helps to keep blood pressure at a stable point.
2. Weight Loss
In three months I lost two stone. Admittedly, I was exercising quite a bit too, but the sugar reduction helped reduce puffiness in my body.
Sugar also creates blood sugar spikes, which will trick your body into thinking it needs more food, once it has crashed, following the initial high.
3. Lower Cholesterol
My cholesterol dropped from 5.4 to 4.5. This was pretty significant and I found this was the most surprising health benefit for me.
Sugar can raise levels of triglycerides. These are a type of fat that can clog up arteries and may contribute to heart disease.
4. Clearer Skin
My skin became clearer and not as dry. Sugar has a dehydrating effect on the body. That would explain why my skin became less dry when I gave it up. It can also upset hormonal balance in the body. Hormonal imbalance can contribute to outbreaks of spots. I have never really suffered with spots but my skin felt smoother.
We tend to associate sugar with giving us energy. Carbohydrates give us energy. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate so it is released quickly, causing blood sugar spikes. This is great, initially, but does not last long and the inevitable crash makes us feel sluggish again.
Giving up sugar really made a difference to my health. Since my relapse I have since had health checks and my cholesterol has gone up again, along with my weight, not by a huge amount but enough to make me realise I need to jump off that sugar wagon again. It’s time to get back all the benefits I listed above.
Are you ready to go sugar-free? Are you already sugar-free? I’d love to know your stories. Please comment and let’s help each other.
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