Reducing your refined sugar intake is one of the best things you can do for your body, and while doing so may be challenging, it's the best step towards regaining control over your health.
Research has shown that a high sugar intake can be linked to various health issues such as Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, cardiac complications, poor dental health, insulin resistance, and in some cases even cancer. Sugar also tends to reduce your energy levels, as a diet comprising of highly refined sugars can give you an instant boost of energy, followed by a drastic crash, besides also putting your blood sugar levels on highs and lows that are witnessed in the stock market.
So why is it so hard to quit sugar?
Studies indicate that refined sugar affects the brain’s reward system, a system that has helped humans survive and if left unchecked, can lead to various addictions as well. Studies have shown that refined sugars are extremely addictive and can trigger dopamine in the nucleus accumbens - the same part of the brain that is impacted by drug addiction. If your daily sugar intake is high, your brain may soon develop the need to consume higher amounts of sugar to feel the same effect.
So what happens when you cut sugar from your diet?
Since every individual is different, the reactions to this can vary from person to person. One of the most common symptoms noticed among individuals is weakness, irritability, sugar cravings, all of which tend to last from anything between a few days to weeks. As your body slowly starts adapting to the new normal, the severity of these symptoms will gradually reduce as well. You may also notice that whenever you feel stressed, your sugar cravings increase as well.
What sort of impact does it have on your mind?
When you reduce your refined sugar intake, you may or may not feel the following symptoms:
Feeling low and moody:
Studies have shown that quite a few people have indicated feeling low on energy, lazy, and the lack of will to do anything upon reducing their refined sugar intake. This is linked to a reduction in dopamine levels, that come about with a low refined sugar diet.
Another common symptom that many have experienced is the general feeling of anxiety, feeling nervous or restless, and also feeling irritated at small petty things. Thankfully, this lasts only for the first few days and it gradually reduces with time.
While not so common, a few have reported a change in their sleeping patterns after reducing or stopping their refined sugar intake. Upon reducing your refined sugar intake, you tend to sleep late or find it hard to sleep at your usual bedtime. Fortunately, this also goes away within the first few days as your body adapts to the new normal.
Reducing or giving up refined sugar can be tough and unpleasant for many, especially since it has an impact on you physically and mentally but in the long run and for the sake of your health, it's the right call.