Cutting out sugar boosts health | Daily News

Cutting out sugar boosts health

A dietitian has revealed how cutting out sugar, which can cause a drug-like addiction, could boost your health and performance in the gym and at work.

Dr Samantha Coogan, president of the Nevada Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a researcher at the University of Nevada, explains the effects of quitting the sweet stuff. Withdrawal symptoms, including headaches, stomach aches or bowel changes can last for days or even weeks. But once the body has adjusted, you can expect to see a boost in brain function at work and you’ll need fewer sick days at work, Dr Coogan said.

The body will feel less lethargic, making exercise easier and muscles will be replenished quicker with adequate nutrition. Dr Coogan said the hair, skin, and nails improve, while sleep is more restful and weight loss is ‘inevitable’ from cutting out the high-calorie snacks.

Your body will also be better protected against disease – too much sugar is known to raise the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Dr Coogan, writing for the University of Nevada, said: ‘It may be a harsh comparison, but think about how drug addicts live on a day-to-day basis.

‘Work is either low quality or non-existent; workouts are either minimal intensity, or again non-existent; and their sleep patterns are constantly disturbed without ever feeling fully rested. ‘Sugar is an addictive substance for some people, so it really is necessary to approach it in a similar manner to drug or alcohol detoxification.’

The higher a person’s sugar tolerance is, the longer it may take for them to get used to a diet that doesn’t involve reaching for sugary snacks. But once the withdrawal phase is over, Dr Coogan said the benefits can be numerous. People may find their hair, skin and nails look healthier, their belly fat decreases, productivity at work and performance in the gym improve, and they sleep better, Dr Coogan said.

Boost productivity at work

The brain needs sugar as an energy source to function but, like in any part of the body, excess amounts of it can be harmful. Neurologists have found that thinking, learning and concentration are all affected by how efficiently the brain can use the sugar in the body.

Diets high in refined carbohydrates and sugar – such as cakes, chocolate, fizzy drinks and biscuits – have also been linked to cognitive decline in later life, such as memory problems and dementia.

A study by Korean researchers of 317 healthy children found that those who consumed more processed foods, rather than a healthy diet, had reduced cognitive capacity, including poorer short-term and working memory, both needed to concentrate. It was published in the Journal of Lifestyle and Medicine in 2017.

Improve gym workouts

Dr Coogan said: ‘Sugar often makes us feel lethargic, fatigued and begging for more, which also takes a toll on the body. ‘Some people may feel the positive effects of a sugar-free diet right away, while others may take a little longer.’

Cutting out sugar could make your body feel better because it has to be replaced with other – hopefully more nutritious – foods. Exercising uses a lot of energy taken from glycogen stores, and it’s important to eat nutritious food to both fuel the workout and recover from it.

Skin and hair improves

Dr Coogan added that people may notice their hair, skin and nails start to improve when they’ve cut out sugar. Past research has shown that diets high in sugar can damage collagen, the protein that makes the skin youthful.

When sugar enters the body, it triggers a process called glycation, creating a substance which can accelerate the effects of aging, such as wrinkles and sagging skin by degrading collagen and elastin - which both keep the skin firm.

The body’s way of dealing with a surge of sugar is to produce insulin. When insulin spikes, so does inflammation, which is linked to inflammatory skin conditions including psoriasis and eczema.

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