It’s easy for me to talk about acing an exam, writing an A-paper, or mastering your job interview. But, when it comes to health, I’m not exactly Dr. Oz. That’s why this blog post took more time than usual, because I had to do extra research on the subject of a healthy diet and sugar.
Through all my research, the biggest thing I discovered is this: the worst enemy of a healthy diet is sugar.
You can load up eating as many calories, carbs, and fats as you want, as long as you’re monitoring your sugar intake. I’m kidding about that.
But what I’m not joking about is that the negative effects of sugar are huge, so it’s in your best interest to be in the know about sugar.
Why Sugar Is Bad For You
First of all, I believe sugar’s most dangerous quality is how addictive it is. When someone regularly consumes large amounts of sugar, and then goes a short time without it, they will start to experience cravings and withdrawal. These cravings and the withdrawal points to the individual’s dependence on sugar, which is exactly what a drug addict goes through when they need their cocaine to function.
Besides this powerful addiction, these are the other effects of sugar and the reasons why added sugar is bad for you:
- Obesity: When we consume large amounts of sugar, our liver gets too much to handle and starts turning this fructose (from sugar) into fat. Consistently eating and drinking sugar also messes with your body fat regulation, leading to more weight gain and potentially causing you to get fat in college.
- Mood swings: We all know the rush of a quick sugar high, but this feeling soon goes away and leads to a crash. Then we want more sugar to get the same high again. But, this repeated cycle of high and lows stresses out and exhausts our body. And often we don’t know why we are feeling so down, because sugar is a deceptive suspect.
- Lack of energy: Besides the emotional fatigue after a sugar rush, you will also experience physical fatigue. This is because sugar decreases the orexin levels in your brain, which causes the tired feeling that can force you to struggle the rest of the day.
- Memory loss: A study from the Charité University Medical Centre in Berlin concluded that eating a high consumption of sugar damages the composition and the function of our brain. Besides memory loss, eating a heavy sugar diet may correlate with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Teeth damage: When we eat sugar, some of the sugar remains in our mouth. Bacteria then lives on this leftover sugar to cause damage like cavities and tooth decay. Although all you future dentists will make a killing due to the effects of sugar on teeth, this is another problem caused by sugar.
- Diseases like diabetes and cancer: Too much sugar messes with your body’s glucose levels (glucose provides energy to every cell in the body) and can many times cause type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can lead to serious health problems with your kidneys, nerves, eyes, and feet. Plus, unhealthy sugar intake can increase the likelihood of suffering from a heart attack, stroke, or cancer.
Not all sugar is the same. There is good sugar—called natural sugar—and bad sugar—called refined sugar or added sugar.
The good sugar is high in glucose and includes foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans. These foods give your body necessary minerals, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, which your body thrives on.
However, the sugar added to your food (or drink) during processing is unnatural, and referred to as bad sugar, which is high in fructose. Added sugars are commonly in soda, energy drinks, candy, and baked goods like cake, brownies, and cookies.
The problem with these foods is their added sugar contributes zero nutritional value and no fiber, which is why they’re a waste to your body—no matter how good they taste.
The 7-Day No Sugar Challenge Official Rules
To be certain I stay serious about this challenge and hold myself accountable, I need some guidelines. These are the two official rules of this no bad sugar challenge:
1. Every single time I eat and drink, so breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, etc., I won’t consume any bad sugar for a week straight (from Thursday, November 19 to Thursday, November 26).
2. At the end of this challenge, I’ll post my results and key insights as a comment below. This way, if I’m tempted to lose my willpower and I blow it, I’ll have shame in front of my readers.
While I won’t make it an official rule since it would be difficult to track, I want to severely decrease my bad sugar intake beyond this challenge for the rest of my life. I know I’ll miss out on some good tasting foods, but the dividends like increased daily energy and hopefully a longer life are definitely worth it for me.
Please Join Me
Achieving goals is much easier when you have people to do it with you. For example, my best work out tip is to find a reliable partner because you will push each other to better results.
With that said, it would be awesome for us to be virtual partners in this challenge of eating and drinking no bad sugar for a week. But, if this seems impossible to you, think about if it makes sense for you to first go one day without eating bad sugar. Or maybe you start by cutting soda out of your diet, and then stop eating another type of high-sugar food.
Whatever your starting place is, I know you can improve by decreasing your sugar intake. What do you have to say, are you in?
Comment below if you’re in for The 7-Day No Bad Sugar Challenge, or some type of related challenge. It would be even better if you came back after a week, like me, to comment below with your results and insights so we could all learn from each other.
And if being healthy is your thing, you might be interested in reading 13 Sleep Tips For Out Of This World Rest.
Readers, do you notice the negative effects of sugar in your life? Do you have any other reasons to add for why sugar is bad for you? What are your other thoughts or comments on this subject?