It isn’t an Illuminati secret that sugar is pretty terrible for you. Like, yeah, the occasional artisan Fair Trade organic dark chocolate bar or cranberry vodka is one thing. But if you’re filling your body with a lot of sugar between one and 18 times per day, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of health problems. Here are some of the sneaky things sugar is doing to your body that are like, less than desirable.
1. It’s Giving You Acne
Yes, it really is. According to Healthline, “sugary foods quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, causing increasing androgen secretion, oil production, and inflammation, all of which play a role in acne development.” Cool! Even neater, there were studies done in rural communities that don’t have access to Hershey’s bars and Starbursts and, guess what? The people had, like, NO ACNE in comparison to urban, high-income areas. Hmm. The more you know.
2. It’s Making You Gain Weight
Color me shocked. WebMD (my source of daily anxiety) says that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages tend to weigh more than those who don’t. WebMD states, “One study even found that people who increased their sugar intake gained about 1.7 pounds in less than two months” which, wtf. I guess I can’t keep rewarding myself for getting through another workout with Thin Mints? Then again, correlation does not imply causation. Thanks, AP Psych, for helping me justify my sh*tty life choices.
3. It’s Making You Eat More
Fun fact: sugar actually leaves you craving more, regardless of how many Skittles you eat. According to an Australian study, refined sugar intake was associated with “an inability to realize you’re full.” I mean, the same thing happens to me after I eat a box of tacos while blackout, but who am I to argue with science? Because you aren’t eating anything your body actually NEEDS when you’re stuffing ice cream or cake into your face, your body wants to keep eating. So, in addition to making you gain weight because, like, it’s sugar, it’s also making you gain weight because you want more food.
4. It’s Giving You Wrinkles
YEP. In addition to f*cking up your skin with zits, sugar is also adding crow’s feet and folds to your face. Thanks to some v fancy reactions between sugar and protein in your body, diets high in sugar can actually cause your skin to age faster. Sugar can produce AGEs: Advanced Glycation End products (what a CONVENIENT ACRONYM). Those can damage collagen and elastin, which are legit the two things you need to keep your skin looking like it did when you were 21. Rather than looking like a slowly deflating beach ball.
5. It’s Making You A Junkie
Sad and true. Although it isn’t exactly heroin, sugar can trigger dopamine in the same way hard drugs can, making it really hard to stop eating AND leading to literal withdrawals. According to Prevention magazine, “In rat studies looking at sugar addiction, when animals binge on the sweet stuff, they experience chattering teeth, tremors, shakes, and anxiety when it’s taken away.” Wow, that’s not at all terrifying.
This is your brain on sugar:
6. It’s Making You Sad
This one is kind of shocking, considering how OUTSTANDING I feel when inhaling a Heath Bar. However, studies have linked high sugar intake to a greater risk of depression. Why? Science nerds that are busy ruining everything delicious have found that blood sugar swings and “neurotransmitter dysregulation” seem to be directly related to depression in both men and women. Guess I can’t actually fix all my probs by re-watching The Notebook four times with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
7. It’s Making Your Back Hurt
Yah, so like, in addition to aging you prematurely with wrinkles and sadness, sugar is also making your joints hurt. Why? Sugar can cause inflammation in your body, making your elbows and knees ache. Consuming lots of sugar can up your chances of developing arthritis. So if you’re really into bending down, walking, or general movement without pain, sugar is not the answer.
So, all in all, sugar is pretty awful for you when you make it an integral part of your diet. However, a dessert here and there isn’t going to kill you or make your back explode or result in you being covered in acne head to toe. Just remember that sugar in moderation is fine, but don’t be treating yourself to cakes twice a day. K? Kisses.
Images: Unsplash/Noah Buscher; Giphy (8)
So you’re looking for an easy way to shed those extra pounds. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to transform from a solid five out of ten (hi) into an Instagram model overnight. On the bright side, there are certain things you can do and small ways to change your diet to de-bloat, drop some pounds, and improve your health at the same time. Here are five little (BIG) things to cut out of your diet if you’re looking to feel better and maybe lose a few pounds.
Dairy is inflammatory. Like, it’s literally cow breast milk that’s meant to bulk up baby calves. Yes, cheese is f*cking delicious and so is a gigantic ice cream sundae with whipped cream and a cherry on top, but that disgusting, heavy feeling you get after eating a quesadilla or pint of Ben & Jerry’s is real. Cut out any milk-based products in exchange for dairy-free options like almond, coconut, cashew, or oat milk instead.
2. Artificial Sugars & Sweeteners
Natural sugars, like those found in fruit, are okay because they’re natural (duh). Artificial sugar, on the other hand, is basically the devil. Sugar alternatives like stevia are hyped up to be low-calorie and “better” for you, but that’s not exactly the case. Consuming artificial sugars can actually make you crave more sweet foods, a fact I’m sure you already know but bears repeating. Avoid eating candy and snacks with fake sugars, sweeteners, aspartame, and high-fructose corn syrups whenever possible.
3. Carbonated Drinks
Sure, carbonated drinks like soda, seltzer, and beer taste great. However, those sweet, sweet bubbles aren’t worth the calories, sugars, indigestion, bloating, or burps. Substitute all of these drinks for water or tea and watch the pounds melt off (if you don’t believe me, my ex-boyfriend lost 15 pounds after he quit drinking soda).
Allow me to elaborate. White foods are bleached and are not good for you. Swap out all white ingredients in your diet and replace them with brown ones, including bread, rice, flour, sugar, and pasta. These complex carbs are way more natural, easier to digest, and kinder to your stomach.
5. Processed Foods
Frozen meals are quick and easy to make—there’s no argument there. What I will argue, though, is that processed foods aren’t worth the convenience. Pre-packaged bags of produce are one thing, but microwavable rice side dishes, dumplings, and canned soups are trash. Quit being lazy, stop eating sh*tty TV dinners, and start cooking meals at home with fresh ingredients. There are more fresh food delivery/meal prep services than I could even name off the top of my head, there’s literally no excuse anymore.
Be an adult. You love ramen noodles and Taco Bell cheesy gordita crunches because they’re cheap and delicious… I get it. All of the things on this list taste pretty good, but they’re also super unhealthy and easily replaceable. Just by following these simple rules and removing some toxic foods from your diet, you’ll be on your way to better health, a smaller waistline, and maybe even a couple more Instagram followers too.