There’s not eating sugar at all and then there’s not eating added sugar. You need to make a distinction between the two first, in order to fully understand what exactly will happen to you, when you stop eating sugar.
Sugar is found in many fruits and vegetables, and even in some grains in small amounts. That sugar isn’t usually a problem for most people, certainly not to the degree that added sugar is. Products like sauces, candy, sodas, dressings, and other processed and prepackaged foods contain large amounts of added sugar.
Added Sugar – the Definition of a Bad Habit
Added sugars are what you find in most junk foods. Some accurately describe added sugar as empty calories. They are sugar carbohydrates that are added for extra flavor. Because on a molecular level, added sugars and naturally occurring sugars are identical, the term “added sugar” is used in reference to that extra serving that has no beneficial purpose (if you aren’t counting the appealing taste).
What happens when you stop eating sugar is a slow but noticeable weight loss process. Why? – Here’s how sugar intake causes weight gain to begin with.
A high sugar intake causes your body to produce extra insulin. When this happens, the cells in your body will absorb more glucose than they usually would. This, in turn, causes the body to store fat for future use.
But that’s not all. While all this is happening, the fructose in sugar is metabolized by the liver and turned into fat. That fat will get secreted into the blood and distributed throughout your body. The cells with excess fat will only become larger.
As a result, your body secrets excess leptin. In time, you’ll likely develop a resistance to leptin. Why is that a bad thing? – Because leptin keeps your eating habits in check by giving you a sensation of fullness when you’ve had enough to eat. Resistance to leptin is one of the main causes of overeating.
You Might Have Less Energy in the Beginning
It’s happened more than once for someone to feel less energetic after quitting added sugars or sugar entirely. However, although you might feel this in the beginning, it’s important to understand that what happens when you stop eating sugar is not something that lasts forever.
When you’re eating a lot of sugar you’re essentially having a high caloric intake diet. Calories are what give you cravings. At the same time, these calories can be processed by your body for energy a lot faster than fat and other sources.
That’s why some sugary treats are good energy boosters in some situations. Now, although you won’t feel as energetic if you go cold turkey, this doesn’t mean that you won’t feel as lively ever again. Your body will just need a short period of time to adjust to processing other natural and healthier fuel sources.
Substitute sugar with Stevia, coconut sugar, or honey. These are natural sweeteners with no links to weight gain. Also, make sure that you’re eating plenty of vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats, and fruits. A healthy diet will give you tons of energy.
Some Good Things Happen in the Long Run
Here’s a perk you didn’t think about. Once you go off sugar, whenever you give yourself a natural energy booster, you won’t feel the drop off as fast as you would when consuming sugar. Therefore, what happens when you stop eating sugar will eventually be the ability to sustain a high energy level for a longer period of time.
Sugar and Sugar Withdrawal
There’s no definitive proof that cutting sugar out of your diet will cause any noticeable withdrawal side effects. Sugar isn’t a narcotic. In fact, sugar doesn’t even have an effect on your eating habits. It’s the calories in the sugar that give you cravings and boost your energy levels quickly, only to have them crash down even faster.
As long as you maintain healthy eating habits after cutting out added sugars, you shouldn’t feel anything remotely like what an alcoholic or a drug addict feels when they quit cold turkey.
Reduced Mouth Acidity
Eating sweets or anything with a high sugar content tends to increase the pH levels in your mouth. As a result, the saliva becomes more acidic. This is a common cause for accelerated tooth decay.
As you start eliminating sugar from your diet, the pH levels in your mouth will begin to stabilize. This means that the saliva will undergo remineralization faster and fight the acids. As a result, tooth decay and plaque formation will slow down. Your gums will also be healthier and less prone to inflammation.
Of course, that’s not enough to maintain a healthy denture. You’ll still need to brush your teeth, use mouthwash, and visit the dentist regularly. But, not eating sugar will still have a major impact, and make your trips to the dentist less costly.
Weight gain is tied to an increase in triglycerides. Cutting added sugars from your diet lowers your calorie intake, your body weight, and lowers the triglyceride levels. This can be very beneficial as high triglycerides have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. It can also lower the risk of diabetes.
Ways to Cut Down on Sugar
Obviously one of the fastest ways to cut down on sugar is to stop eating junk food, candy, and stop drinking soda. But there are many more foods that have high sugar content. Things like sports drinks, alcoholic beverages, preprocessed foods, ketchup, mustard, sweet and sour sauces, and many others contain a lot of sugar.
Here are some tips on dealing with the “sugar withdrawal:”
- Drink more water
- Use honey or Stevia as sweeteners
- Eat bigger, healthier meals
- Exercise more often
- Increase dietary fiber intake
- Manage your stress better
Sugar Is Not the Only Sweet Thing out There
Yes, candy, alcohol, cakes, sodas, junk food, and many more delicious treats are partly that appealing because of their high sugar content. While not everyone will be affected in the same way, at least now you know what happens when you stop eating sugar and consequently, those highly “addictive” processed foods.