26 Jun 10 Reasons to Limit Sugary Treats in the Summer
When the temperature soars into the 90s and beyond this summer, it’s tempting to cool off with a Popsicle or ice-cold soda, but these sweets aren’t doing your health any favors. Here are 10 reasons to limit sugary treats this summer and some healthy substitutes you can use to replace junk food.
Promote a Healthy Weight
The traditional Western diet makes Americans highly prone to obesity. Sugar, in particular, increases the risk of weight gain because the empty calories inhibit your cells from burning fat, drive up insulin levels, and mess with your metabolism. Sugar can also suppress feelings of being full and increase the hunger hormone known as ghrelin. This means that eating sugary treats makes you want to eat more food overall, resulting in weight gain.
Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
The key contributing factors to Type 2 diabetes are insulin resistance and elevated insulin levels in the blood. Excess sugar intake causes both. When you eat sugar, fatty deposits form around the liver, which eventually affects the function of your pancreas. This, in turn, leads to insulin resistance and limits your body’s ability to produce sufficient insulin.
Keep Your Liver Healthy
Your liver is responsible for metabolizing sugar and converting it into lipids. If you don’t limit sugary treats, your liver works harder and produces more lipids, which then affect liver function. As previously mentioned, eating excess sugar leads to fat accumulation in and around the liver, which can cause scarring and inflammation in this vital organ. In addition, sugar is linked with chronic inflammation, another factor that negatively affects liver health.
Promote a Healthy Heart
The fructose in sugar increases the level of “bad” LDL cholesterol and constructs your arteries. As already mentioned, it also increases insulin levels, which raises your blood pressure and heart rate. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
Avoid Anxiety & Addiction
While your brain needs a steady supply of insulin and glucose to function properly, the higher levels caused by excess sugar intake can lead to anxiety and restlessness. Sugar can even mimic the effects of alcohol and drugs by releasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with the brain’s pleasure and reward center. This makes a person more attracted to dangerous, addictive substances.
Protect Your Teeth
There’s no doubt that sugar is bad for your oral health. Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar, creating lactic acid and lowering the pH level in your mouth. These outcomes cause enamel erosion, tooth demineralization, cavities, and bad breath.
Prevent Sleep Disturbances
Sugar causes your blood glucose levels to spike, which gives you energy for a short time. This means that eating a bowl of ice cream after dinner may be enough to keep you up at night. High sugar intake is also linked with less restorative sleep in general, even if you limit sugary treats in the evening.
Fight off Diseases More Effectively
Sugar competes with vitamin C for space inside your white blood cells. Since these cells need vitamin C for the immune system to function correctly, eating more sugar could increase your vulnerability to everything from viral and bacterial infections to cancer and life-threatening diseases.
Promote Brain Health
Eating too many sweets can reduce the level of proteins that your brain needs to retain a good memory and have fast reaction times. This may cause you to be more forgetful, have difficulty learning, and slow your responsiveness in life-or-death situations.
Keep Your Skin Healthy
Limiting sugary treats may be an easy way to help you look younger. After all, sugar is necessary for a process called glycation, which damages proteins in the skin known as collagen and elastin. Sugar-fueled glycation makes your skin sag and wrinkle prematurely. Increased inflammation from overindulging in sugar can also cause acne and wrinkles. Then, raised blood sugar levels reduce antioxidant production, making your skin more vulnerable to sun and pollution damage.
Tips to Limit Sugary Treats
Now that you understand the importance of reducing your sugar intake, the final step is to come up with ways to do it. Here are some tips to limit sugary treats this summer:
- Eat fewer baked goods and candies.
- Add more fruit, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains to your diet.
- Choose seltzer drinks or homemade flavored water instead of soda.
- Replace sweet tea with unsweetened tea.
- Read processed food labels and avoid any that are high in sugar.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with smoothies, yogurt, fruit, and dark chocolate.
- Sweeten foods in healthier ways by using fruit, honey, agave, maple syrup, or molasses instead of granulated white sugar.
Set a Goal to Get Healthy this Summer!
The start of summer is the perfect time to reassess the extra body weight you’re carrying around. By limiting sugary treats and focusing on being more active, you can begin to counteract some of the health problems associated with obesity.
Need help getting started? The health professionals at Mile High Spine & Pain Center can create custom eating and exercise plans for you that complement the natural healing services offered at our clinic. No matter what your health and fitness goals are this summer, working with a professional can help you achieve them faster!
To schedule your free health consultation at our Broomfield office, please contact us at (720) 507-0080 today.