Have you ever looked at the ingredients in your peanut butter? I was shocked to find sugar as an ingredient. Studies have found that sugar is as addictive as any other drug, and just like drugs, it does harm to your body (Corliss). Here are some reasons you might want to rethink that peanut butter and find one that does not contain sugar. The biggest contributor to added sugar in our diets are beverages like soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks.
Here are 4 reasons to cut sugar in your diet (other than losing weight):
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease – Increased consumption of sugar can increase the risk of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) mortality. Many of those added sugars come from beverages, soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks. Studies also show that unhealthy dietary patterns are associated with unhealthy outcomes such as weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and CVD (Yang).
- Depression – Research has found added sugar consumption is associated with increased risk of depression. Sugar depresses the hormone activity or BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which stimulates the production of new brain cells and strengthens existing ones (Bulletproof). Sugar can also cause chronic inflammation and is associated with depression (Sack).
- Healthy teeth – The bacteria that causes plaque on your teeth thrive on sugar. The bacteria use the sugar for energy to grow. This buildup of plaque will eat away at the enamel on your teeth and eventually cause cavities and gum disease. On a side note, increased sugar consumption can increase your risk for diabetes and causes an increase of glucose in your saliva, providing more “food” for the bacteria in your mouth (Medibank).
- Diabetes risk – More sugar requires more insulin and makes the pancreas work harder. Increased sugar intake will require more insulin and increases the demand on the pancreas (Digiulio).
Tips to reducing sugar in your diet:
- Reduce or even eliminate sugary beverages and replace them with water or sparking water that does not contain added sugar.
- Eat fruit for a sweet treat to replace cakes and cookies.
- Make ice cream out of frozen bananas and strawberries to replace sugar-laced ice cream.
- Try dark chocolate with nut butter (that does not contain added sugar) – one of our nutritionist, Ivy’s, go to sweet treats.
8 Ways to Increase BDNF and Keep Your Brain from Aging. (2017, February 18). Retrieved July 9, 2018, from https://blog.bulletproof.com/8-ways-to-increase-bdnf-and-keep-your-brain-from-aging/
Corliss, J. (2016, November 30). Eating too much added sugar increases the risk of dying with heart disease. Retrieved June 29, 2018, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-too-much-added-sugar-increases-the-risk-of-dying-with-heart-disease-201402067021
Digiulio, S. (2017, May 08). 6 Really Good Things That Happen to Your Body When You Quit Sugar. Retrieved July 02, 2018, from http://www.health.com/nutrition/health-benefits-quitting-sugar
Medibank. (2018, February 05). 8 benefits of cutting back on sugar. Retrieved July 02, 2018, from https://www.medibank.com.au/livebetter/be-magazine/food/8-benefits-of-cutting-back-on-sugar/
Sack, D. (2013, September 02). 4 Ways Sugar Could Be Harming Your Mental Health. Retrieved June 29, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201309/4-ways-sugar-could-be-harming-your-mental-health
Yang, Q. (2014, April 01). Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality. Retrieved June 29, 2018, from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1819573