Ah, sugar! Can’t live without it, can’t-. No, actually, that’s it. Can’t live without it. Chocolate, cakes, cookies, soda, ice cream, did I mention chocolate? Yummy! But, as no good thing is meant to be good only, there just had to be a downside. Too much sugar is bad for you. How many times have we heard that? But just because we don’t like hearing it, it doesn’t make it any less true.
How did we become so obsessed with the stuff when it’s a relatively new thing? Sugar has only been introduced a few hundred years ago! Did you know that in the time of Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century, having black teeth was actually quite fashionable because it meant that you were rich enough to afford a lot of sugar? And sugar was very expensive back then! Even the Queen herself was not exempt from this: you could say she had royally bad teeth…
In our (very unhealthy) modern diet sugar is one of the main ingredients of, well, almost everything. And the effect it can have on our bodies is pretty big and pretty bad. We already mentioned the teeth, but what else can the sweet substance do to hurt us? Well, it causes obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. So all we need to do is reduce the amount of sugar we consume, and all will be fine. Except, we don’t know how much is too much.
According to scientists, even an obscenely small amount of sugar is considered to be unhealthy. For women, the daily dose shouldn’t be over 25 grams or 6 teaspoons, and for men 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons. Just to put that into perspective, here’s how much sugar there is in our favorite snacks:
1 can of regular Cola – 39 grams
2 tablespoons of BBQ sauce – 14 grams
1 bottle of regular Vitaminwater – 32 grams
1 Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar – 43 grams
1 can of Mountain Dew – 24 grams
100g of Wheaties cereal (but you’ll probably have more than that) – 13 grams
So, it’s not an unfair assumption to say that you are eating too much sugar already. And your body may have even been trying to warn you, but not knowing what to look for, you have probably missed the signs. Don’t worry, we’re here to tell you exactly what to look out for, courtesy of Aunty Acid.
1. A constant craving for sugar
The more you have, the more you want. Classic addiction. It’s true. Sugar is an addictive substance which gives you a temporary high, followed by a crash. Which of course makes your body want more, and on and on the vicious cycle goes. Besides the increased craving for sugar, another thing that changes is our taste buds. They adapt to the amount you consume, resulting in you needing more to get the same taste.
2. Feeling sluggish
Constantly being tired and sluggish could well be connected with your sugar intake. Your energy is directly related to your blood sugar levels, and when you consume sugar, those levels go up and down like crazy. Blood sugar levels that are too high can be very dangerous for your health, so do your best to keep them stable.
3. Skin breaking out
Acne can be caused by consuming sugar. When your intake is higher, the chances to break out are higher as well. The sugar binge can be seen on your face in just a few days.
4. Weight gain
Sugar doesn’t fill you up as protein or fiber would, so eating it is just needless consumption of calories. And what do calories lead to? Weight gain.
5. A bad attitude
Your physical health is not the only victim of a high sugar intake. Your mental health is going to be affected as well. When you have too much sugar you become moodier. During the sugar crash, you’ll be plagued by mood swings and irritability. If you suffer from anxiety, the ups and downs of your blood sugar levels can worsen the symptoms.
This is the most common consequence of too much sugar. Cavities are caused by bacteria who eat the leftovers of your sweet treats releasing acid which damages the enamel of your teeth.
7. Foggy brain, especially after meals
Another common side-effect of excessive sugar intake is brain fog, which happens when your blood sugar level is low. Ups and downs in blood sugar levels increase the odds of cognitive issues and impairment.
8. Nothing’s sweet enough anymore
We already mentioned this: sugar can also impair your taste buds. They adapt and build up tolerance, which means you will need to eat more sweet stuff to feel satisfied. This can be fixed, however, if you cut down on your intake. Eventually, your tolerance will be lowered once again and you will be satisfied with less.
How to cut down on your sugar intake?
It’s scary when you see that you’re eating way too much sugar for your own good. But, you can still reverse this situation, if you apply yourself. Here’s what you can do:
1. Write down everything you eat every day. This may be slow, but as days go by and you realize how much you’re eating, it will keep you motivated to reduce your intake.
2. Get yourself a buddy, someone who will go through the process with you. When you have someone to hold yourself accountable to it’s much easier to stick to the plan and keep your eyes on the prize.
3. Start having healthier snacks instead of your usual sugar bombs. Fruit, for example. It’s a great source of natural sugar, and once you’ve weaned yourself off of the unnatural stuff, you’ll see a whole other and much sweeter side to fruit.