Before we get into what happens to your body when you stop eating sugar, we need to understand some facts.
- You can’t cut out sugar from your diet entirely. The natural sugars in fruits, vegetables, grains and other foods give your body energy. So when we say “stop eating sugar”, we’re talking about the refined sugar in the processed foods you eat, or in the soft drinks and juices you drink, or that you put into your tea and coffee.
- You probably eat way more sugar than you think. One teaspoon of sugar is 4 grams. The most recent data shows that Canadians consume on average 110 grams of sugar per day. This is equivalent to over 20% of our daily calorie intake coming exclusively from refined sugar.
The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends that to help minimize your chances of heart disease, your daily sugar consumption should be “ideally” less than 5% and no more than 10% of your daily calorie intake. In 2014, the World Health Organization dropped its recommended sugar intake to 5% of your daily calorie intake from 10%.
In other words, the very best scenario is that Canadians are consuming twice as much sugar as they should.
Having a sweet tooth isn’t the only reason why we eat excess sugar. In fact, many people who actively avoid the sweet stuff consume a higher amount of sugar than they should without knowing it.
One of the reasons is that sugar is not always listed on ingredient labels as “sugar”. In fact, it could be disguised as any one of over 60 different names, including decidedly non-sugar-like names like dextrin, maltol, panocha and muscovado.
All that said and it’s easy to see why most of us should at least take a close look at how much sugar we actually consume. And when you find out more about what happens to your body when you reduce your sugar intake, you’ll be even more inclined to do it.
4 Things that Happen to Your Body When You Stop Eating Sugar
Cutting out sugar may initially be a little more difficult than you think. But, at the other end of the spectrum, there are probably far more health benefits to your physical and mental health than you realize.
- It Goes Into Sugar Withdrawal – Research shows that cutting out sugar produces similar withdrawal-like reactions in your body as it does with caffeine withdrawal or withdrawal from narcotics. But, fortunately, if you experience headaches, brain fog, low energy and/or sugar cravings, it probably won’t last for more than a week or two, so hang in there.
- You’ll Begin to Lose Weight – While many of the health improvements you’ll enjoy by not eating a diet high in sugar will take a few weeks or months to kick in, you will immediately set yourself up for weight loss. We get so much energy from the excess sugar in our diets, our bodies can’t use it all. So the body stores it in fat cells and you experience weight gain. When the sugar-train stops, your body won’t store as much excess energy as fat.
- Your Brain & Mental Functioning Will Improve – During the first week of cutting out sugar, you may find yourself in a bit of a “fog” as your brain and body adjust to the new reality. But, within a week or two, you should notice improved cognitive functioning, fewer mood swings (partly because your body can stabilize its blood sugar levels) and your daily craving for sugar should diminish.
- Your Skin Will Start to Look Healthier – Sugar increases inflammation throughout your body, which can exacerbate skin conditions like acne. It also breaks down collagen and elastin, which are the two proteins in your body most responsible for giving your skin’s strength and elasticity.
If you’re looking for help to reduce sugar in your diet, Herbal One’s Pick Me Up herbal supplement, including Indian Gooseberry and Spirulina, can help reduce cravings, fatigue and mental exhaustion, and increase energy levels, brain functioning and food absorption.
If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article about how to keep your nervous system healthy.