Sugar-free will change your life!
Your heart will do a happy dance.
While you’ll probably replace some of those sugary calories with other foods (like trading a sugary granola bar for a handful of almonds) you won’t be eating as many calories overall, Powell says. Scaling back your sugar habit by 200 calories a day could help you drop 10 pounds in 5 to 6 months.
Now that’s sweet! Your risk of dying from ticker-related trouble will plummet threefold, according to research from James J. DiNicolantonio, PharmD, a cardiovascular research scientist at St. Luke’s Mid-Atlantic Heart Institute in Kansas City, MO. Why? “Added sugar chronically raises insulin levels, which activates the sympathetic nervous system, increasing blood pressure and heart rate,” DiNicolantonio explains. “Within a few weeks’ time, you might expect to see a 10% decrease in LDL cholesterol and a 20 to 30% decrease in triglycerides.” Your BP would head in the right direction, too, he says.
You won’t have to borrow your teen’s acne cream.
Good-bye, midlife zits! Systemic inflammation is a known acne trigger. And sugar—wouldn’t you know it?—is inflammatory. One study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when non-soda-drinkers consumed one 12-ounce can a day for 3 weeks, their inflammation levels increased by 87%. Give up the soda and other sweetened drinks and you might not need as much of that expensive concealer, research suggests.
You won’t have to fake smile.
It’s normal to be cranky for a while if you ditch sweets. (After all, they’re the foods we usually rely on for comfort and a quick hit of energy.) But once you’re over your sugar fix, you’ll feel better than ever. A Columbia University study found that women who eat a diet high in added sugars and refined grains are more likely to experience anxiety, irritability, and mood swings.
You’ll sleep when you’re supposed to (for a change)
The crash from a sugar high leaves you with mid-day sluggishness and an itching need for a nap. Also, added sugar triggers the release of the hormone cortisol, which interferes with slumber, Lustig says. Give up added sugar, and you should be more awake and alert during the day, and also better prepared to catch some z’s come bedtime.
You’ll remember the name of your boss’s husband.
Battling brain fog? Sugar may be to blame. One animal study at UCLA concluded a diet high in added sugar hinders learning and memory. The study shows that, over time, eating lots of sugar may actually damage communication among your brain’s cells. So when you’re eyeing the doughnuts in a morning meeting (curse that co-worker with a birthday!) tell yourself you’ll be sharper without the sugar.