You Don’t Need to Quit Sugar To Eat Healthier
Living our healthiest life is a topic on which humans feed. Sugar free diets have been emerging as the dominant diet choice. These diets usually encourage people to avoid table sugar, sweeteners such as maple syrup and honey, refined flours, condiments, sweets, soft drinks, and even some fruits. These diets also recommend eliminating or restricting dairy products.
Yes, excessive sugar consumption may lead to obesity. This increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. However, you do not need to cut sugar out of your diet. Studies show that quitting sugar can lead to obsessive thinking and a disordered relationship with food. When we tell ourselves not to eat a specific food, it can lead to cravings. Soon, it may lead to a binge session or an unhealthy relationship with that food. Dietitians recommend creating a healthy relationship with sugar instead of cutting it out altogether.
Research suggests that dieting is not effective over the long term, and can lead to weight gain over time. When committing to certain diets, the brain interprets the restriction of food as famine, which then causes the food you eat to be stored as fat in preparation for future shortages. When attempting a diet such as the sugar-free diets, there is often a list of “allowed” and “not allowed foods” which can cause people to worry about accidentally eating the wrong food. Dieting is stressful and can cause your body to release stress hormones such as cortisol, which might also cause your body to store fat. Other than stress, worrying about food can also lead to anxiety and depression and later lead to a condition called orthorexia.
Orthorexia is defined as an obsession with proper or “healthful” eating. Although being concerned and aware of the nutritional quality of food isn’t a problem in itself, individuals with orthorexia become obsessed with it. This obsession can damage their own well-being. They think too much or worry about eliminating foods that are “deemed” unhealthy. Some experts suggest that this behavior can even be a precursor to some eating disorders.
What Should You Do?
All foods in moderation can be part of a healthy diet. Food is fuel for our bodies, restricting food groups can deprive your body of important nutrients. Eat plenty of leafy greens, whole grains, beans, and legumes, and remember fruit is your friend, not your enemy! We can probably agree that most people could eat a little less sugar, a little less often, but you don’t have to completely cut it out of your life to be healthy.
When you do eat sweets, as in chocolate cake, savor every mouthful so your brain can register the pleasure and satisfaction from it. Remember, psychological health, and our relationship with food, is just as important as our physical health.
Do you have any helpful tips to cut back on sugar? Let us know in the comments below!