Have you been thinking about quitting sugar and leaving behind all the health issues that come with your addiction, but are not quite sure whether – or how – to take the plunge? Before you dive into how to quit sugar, let’s unpack a few reasons why you’ll want to in the first place – and trust us, there are enough reasons to outnumber the ingredients list on a chocolate bar!
Improve your mental health
We often think of the physical benefits associated with quitting sugar, from reduced visceral fat and weight loss to healthier hair, skin and nails, but there’s also a solid body of evidence to show the mental health wins that come with quitting the sweet stuff. Research shows the incidence of depression is higher in those who consume excess sugar, and another study found anxiety was increasingly reported in those over 60 who have higher sugar intakes. It’s clear as day – from kids to seniors, we’re all at risk of the mental health issues that come with a sugar habit – and with the global anxiety rate surpassing 7%, it’s a wide-spread health crisis. But it’s not just major chronic conditions like depression and anxiety, sugar consumption can also lead to a number of short-term mood issues as a result of blood sugar spikes. If you’ve had a sugary breakfast, you might start to notice yourself become anxious, stressed and irritable throughout the day. These symptoms can get in the way of productivity at work and school, disrupt sleep patterns and lead to a vicious cycle of low mood and poor mental health – all of which, yet again, increase our risk for developing mental health disorders. Cutting sugar out is one of the best ways to put a stop to these spikes and help stabilise your mood.
Restore your gut microbiome
The gut has been referred to as our “second brain” – and for good reason! The nervous system uses those same neurotransmitters as our brain, meaning these two parts of the body are linked closely. The foods we put on our plates are integral in shaping the flora living in your gut, which in turn shapes the health of your whole body. Diets high in trans fats, alcohol and, of course, sugar, can lead to a disruption of this system. Excess sugar consumption can lead to changes to the gut bacteria, with research finding it can lower microbial diversity, which lowers our immune system and leads to inflammation. Studies have found it can cause our gut to develop higher levels of proteobacteria, which is a bacterial indicator of an unbalanced microbiome, known as dysbiosis. The consequences of dysbiosis are bleak, from metabolic disfunction and the diseases that follow – think type 2 diabetes, obesity and liver diseases – to autoimmune conditions and bowel diseases. For many of us, the national average of 17 teaspoons of the white stuff a day is easy to consume unknowingly, after all, added sugars seem to be slipped into nearly all our staple processed foods. But the good news is, we have a bit of power to tip the balance back into our favour. It starts with cutting back on added sugar – quitting sugar is one of the best ways to recalibrate your tastebuds and fight addiction – along with increasing your intake of whole foods and fermented foods.
Get your hormones in harmony
Inflammatory foods are all around us – from the obvious culprits like chips, chocolate and cake to some surprising harbingers of chaos like cereal, bread and even some of your major yoghurt brands. You’re likely aware that inflammation skyrockets our risk for diseases like heart disease, obesity and autoimmune conditions, but did you know it can send our hormones spiralling into havoc too? Hormonal imbalance is a health crisis affecting many of us, with an estimation of at least 80% of women living with this condition. More concerning, research has shown these imbalances can lead to the development of other diseases like Alzheimer’s. Take a look at some of the signs of hormonal imbalance:
- Constipation and diarrhoea
- Excess hair growth
- Hair loss and skin issues
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Mood swings
Sound familiar? If you’re dealing with a hormonal imbalance, you’re certainly not alone. There are many environmental, genetic and lifestyle factors that may contribute, but sugar is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to destabilising our hormones. When we eat too much of this stuff, our gut gets thrown out of whack – as we mentioned above, the gut microbiome suffers – and as our gut and brain are linked, it only figures that our hormones won’t come out unscathed from an excessive sugar habit. PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) is one condition where research shows a link to excess sugar intake, with a major contributor being insulin resistance.
Fight the dreaded afternoon slump
Many of us get that 3 o’clock slump like clockwork every day – but have you ever wondered why? While sleep and other general health factors may be at play, it’s worth looking at your diet. If your meals mostly consist of refined carbs and sugary snacks, you might have your culprit. High-sugar foods and fast-release carbs like white bread and rice are digested quicker than their whole counterparts, so if we eat too much of this stuff, we’re likely to throw our blood sugars out of whack. You might notice a number of symptoms if you’re experiencing a blood sugar spike:
- Increased urge to urinate
- Increased thirst
- Numbness in hands or feet
- Mood changes
But one of the most common consequences is that afternoon fatigue that is so far spread that they have a name for the – the dreaded slump! Quitting sugar with us is one of the best ways to ensure you’re consuming meals that promote energy, not sap it. We focus on healthy fats, protein and all those essential vitamins and minerals to keep you at peak alertness. Plus, with all the cakes, slices and roasts we have on the program, you’ll be surprised at how much you enjoy eating wholesome food!
Lower risk for diseases
One of the biggest reasons people are keen to shake the sugar off their backs is down to the long-term effects excess consumption has on their health – and with its addictive nature, we know how easy it is to slide into excess. Not only is sugar a highly addictive substance that wires our brain to crave it over and over, but it also leaves us with a high risk for a number of deadly and chronic diseases that can not only shorten our lives, but sap them of quality too. As we know, once sugar hits the brain’s reward system, we end up in a vicious cycle of intense cravings and low moods leading us to eat more, putting is in danger of developing a number of conditions ranging in severity – here’s the shortlist:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Psoriasis and other autoimmune skin conditions
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Type 2 diabetes
Two of the biggest health crises on our hands, obesity and type 2 diabetes, have been linked to excess fructose consumption as it builds visceral fat, puts our liver under the gun and destabilises our hormones, leading many to develop obesity. This condition affects 1.9 billion people around the world, and with sugar slipping its way into all everything from bread and cereal to yoghurt, is it any wonder so many of us are struggling with obesity? Liver disease is another major concern for sugar addicts, affecting a quarter of the population, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is projected to become the become the leading cause of cirrhosis in the next 10 years. Even the less dangerous symptoms of sugar overconsumption, like fatigue, mood swings and headaches, can crop up after a single meal. So, if you’ve been thinking about quitting sugar, you’re on the right track to protect your health. All that’s left to do is take the plunge! That’s why we’re here.
Ready to start living your life on your terms? Join us for the 8-Week Program. It’s no secret that a sugar habit is a tough one to beat – wherever you go, sugar is there. Unlike ditching alcohol, there are few places where sugar is unwelcome. From birthday parties and functions to the office pantry. Is it any wonder that so many of us find it hard to quit the stuff? That’s why it can also help to join a program like ours – our 8-Week Program is based on accountability, support and providing the essential resources to set you up for success. We’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining. We’ve also got nutritionists, personal trainers and naturopaths in our team of experts, and they understand what our bodies need and how to best arm ourselves against those cravings. So, if you’ve been having a little trouble keeping that sugar addiction at bay, we’re here to help. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. 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. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!
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