So, you’re considering reclaiming your health and quitting added sugar – there are a few things you should know before you take the plunge. From the effects the change will have on your mind to the challenges involved, here’s you look into the sugar-free life.
You’ll feel better
Sugar can do a major number on our mental health, and this is because it promotes inflammation and an imbalance in our gut microbiome – and all of this means trouble for our mental health. Research shows that an imbalanced microbiome is linked to chronic mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. Why? It’s all about the gut-brain axis. This phenomenon is a well-documented, complex communication system between the gut and the brain, with research showing that disruptions to this system can have damaging effects on mental health.
Low mood and mood swings can also be a common side effect of excess sugar consumption as it can leave you with blood-sugar crashes, along with interfering with the production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are vital for regulating mood. Then we’ve also got the aspect of addiction, with sugar known to activate the brain’s reward system in similar ways to drugs like cocaine – this can lead to a cycle of cravings and binging, which can negatively also affect mental health.
That’s why ditching the sweet stuff could be the key to stabilising your mood, as you improve your gut health, you’ll find your mental health improves too. But we’re not just talking about mental health – you’ll feel better physically too! You might find you have more energy as a result of more stable blood-sugar levels, along with having fewer headaches and bowel movement issues as you detox from sugar.
You’ll probably experience withdrawal symptoms
But don’t give up! You may experience headaches, fatigue, mood swings, cravings and even flu-like symptoms when you first get yourself off the sweet stuff, but that’s simply a sign that your body is detoxing and adjusting to this massive change you’ve made. When those cravings hit, be sure to have some healthy snacks at the ready – try some of the following foods and drinks to fight off a sugar attack:
- Whole fruit and yoghurt
- Roasted nuts with cinnamon, cardamom and paprika
- Herbal tea
- Nut butter with celery
- Cream cheese and veggies
- Falafel and hummus
Withdrawal symptoms can be challenging to deal with, but remember that they're temporary and that you'll feel much better once your body adjusts to life without added sugar. Eating protein-rich foods like nuts, eggs and beans can help stabilise your blood sugar levels and reduce cravings, and this is because protein has been found not only to promote muscle health, but also support weight loss and regulate our satiety hormones. Starting your day with healthy fats is a good way to keep your hunger in check until your next meal, with studies finding monounsaturated fats help balance blood-sugar levels and keep us fuller for longer.
It shows on the outside too
When you quit sugar, you don’t just change your insides, you change your outsides too! What we mean here includes everything from skin, hair and nail health to reduced bloating. Excess sugar can cause a process known as glycation, where sugar molecules bind to proteins in the body, and this can affect our internal organs and our skin, with the latter referred to as sugar sag. When we consume sugar, it causes our insulin levels to spike, which can lead to inflammation and breakouts. Plus, sugar can damage the collagen and elastin in our skin, which can lead to premature ageing. That’s why cutting out added sugar can have a massive effect on your skin health, and it’s often an unexpected and exciting benefit of quitting added sugar.
Need a bit of help fighting off a stubborn sugar addiction? We're here to help. Join us for the 8-Week Program where we’ll be quitting sugar and turning our health dreams into a reality. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to JOIN NOW!