Sugar. Sugar is the fakest friend you’ll ever have. She is a basic bitch. She will talk shit about you behind your back and probably make out with your boyfriend…all while somehow making you fat in the process. She needs to go!
I have written a bit about sugar in the past, but I wanted to dive a little deeper and talk about HOW sugar affects your body, your weight and the health of your skin. Sugar causes weight gain and accelerates the aging process in your skin- those two facts alone should make you drop that sugar packed cupcake right now!
Today, humans consume so much sugar, and the truth is we really don’t NEED it. We like it, we want it, but its only stirring up problems. In my opinion, the best way to clean up your diet is to ditch the sugar- when I ditched sugar a lot of my skin problems cleared up and my body found its groove.
Now, I know it’s almost impossible to ditch all sugar and to not have any fun…of course you should allow yourself to indulge every now and then. BUT, that being said, cutting back daily will make a huge difference in your body. You will see a big shift if you become more aware of how much sugar your intake daily. When I eat sugar, it comes in small amounts in non-fruit foods that have them naturally or from berries. I keep special sugary “treats” to a minimum and only in small amounts on special occasions. Most treats that people typically crave are loaded with sugar. In fact, many people claim to have a sugar “addiction”..and there is actually a lot of scientific truth behind this “addiction” that I will explain in a second.
First of all, sugar has two options inside your body:
- Is used for energy, to burn off immediately (like right before a workout, or during an endurance run)
- Is converted into fat and stored in your body, your fat cells, and around your organs (YUCKKKK!)
Some people are blessed with a faster metabolism and burn off sugar a little easier, while others tend to store it as fat more more easily…and to be honest, more people store it as fat at a faster rate than they do burn it off. When your body sees the glucose in your bloodstream, it tries to use it for energy and store it in the muscles to use…and whatever is left over and not used right away will be stored as fat…no matter how fast your metabolism is. SO, if you have a piece of cake and then sit on the couch watching a movie for a couple of hours, you will most likely store more of that sugar as fat. I like to eat most of my sugars at a time in the day when I know I will be busy working out or on the go- that way I know I will burn it off and use it as energy. That being said, I rarely eat much sugar because I would prefer my body to burn fat and carbs as fuel instead of excess sugar…wouldn’t you agree?? When I cut out sugar, my body functions better, my skin is clearer and it’s easier for me to keep my weight in check.
Like I touched on above, when you consume sugar your body senses the sugar rush and needs to get it under control and put in the right places. SO, your body starts producing insulin to deal with the sugar. The trouble is, when we eat TOO much sugar at one time, or constantly throughout the day, our body produces too much insulin, which will then cause your blood sugar to drop below normal levels. The more your insulin surges, the more your hormones will tell your brain to eat more sugar to compensate for the sugar crash. We have all heard of a sugar crash, and we have all experienced them-when you’re all hyped up from that ice cream cone, and then an hour later you feel weird, tired and sometimes shaky. And what do people typically do when they feel this “crash”?? They consume more food to bring themselves back up…and usually its in the form of.. you guessed it: more sugar. Your hormones TRICK you into thinking you need more sugar, even though you don’t. This is referred to as having a short blood sugar curve- it’s what we DO NOT want.
The goal with a healthy diet is to elongate your blood sugar curve so you keep all your hunger hormones in check…so you aren’t hungry every two hours. A balanced meal should keep you full for 4-6 hours, and if your meals are not doing that, you need to take a closer look at the nutrients you are consuming! I wrote a blog post about how to do that here! Check it out for all the details!
Here is a video I love that explains the process in very simple terms: think 8th grade science class video but super informative. It’s short, watch it!!!
Sugar also causes inflammation- so if you suffer from skin troubles, cutting out sugar may really clear up your issues such as dryness, fine lines and breakouts. Inflammation is terrible in your body- it causes so many adverse reactions that can show up on your skin. In addition, inflammation from sugar also produces enzymes that attach to collagen in your skin and break it down at a faster rate, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. SUGAR WILL MAKE YOU AGE AND WRINKLE FASTER!!! And for those suffering from rosacea like me, sugar worsens the redness and can even lead to acne (yikes!!). When I cut back on sugar, my rosacea flare ups became so much easier to control and way less frequent. Cut the sugar, cut inflammation, keep your skin looking clear, young and vibrant!
OK, so let’s discuss the difference between sugars….not all sugars are created equal, BUT at the end of the day our body doesn’t really care and doesn’t really notice the difference. Sugar from fruit (fructose), and raw organic sugars, coconut sugars etc can cause just as much of a problem as white refined sugar from a twinkie. Crazy right?!? So that organic, gluten free, raw sugar dessert is not doing you any good and may even have more sugar than its processed counter part, and both will absolutely spike your blood sugar and cause an insulin roller coaster.
And as for fructose, it actually stores as fat FASTER in your body than other sources of sugar! Most sugar stops at the liver before being stored as fat, but fructose bypasses that step and if it isn’t burned immediately….it goes to the fat cells. So, those big-as-your-head smoothies filled with mango, pineapple and banana are all sugar bombs and you should re-think adding fruit in your daily smoothie. It’s too much fructose for one sitting, and just because its fruit, it doesn’t change the fact that it can carry insane amounts of sugar…and will most likely be stored in your body as fat. If you still want to eat fruits daily, make sure you either chose low sugar ones like apples and berries, or balance the sugar out by eating them with fiber and fat. AND don’t go overboard!
To take a giant leap toward better health and clearer skin, try cutting back on ALL sugar. Try it for a week. Then decide to make it a lifestyle choice. Choose whole berries, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy grains like oats and sweet potato, or a protein shake instead of a fruit smoothie. It may be hard for the first few days, as with any change, but I think you’ll enjoy the immediate health benefits!
For reference, I try to keep my sugar grams per day under 12 grams (15-20g on a day where I am doing a lot of activity) and to do this I logged my meals into My Fitness Pal to gauge where I was at. Now, I know how to keep it low and what is in the things I eat daily. The lower the better! On some great days, I go as low as 6-7 grams.
And to learn more about all of this, I highly recommend reading “Body Love” By Kelly LeVeque– she is a Registered Dietician who breaks all of this down so well and provides recipes, eating plans etc that I have been following!
Keep all of this in mine for the weekend ahead! Indulge wisely!
*No sugar was eaten in the making of this post 🙂