Let’s be honest, adding sugar to a recipe often makes it tastier. Unfortunately, eating too much processed and refined white sugar is associated with a number of unhealthy side effects including inflammation, energy loss, and an increased risk of diabetes.
Z Living’s show Healthy Gourmet follows nutritionist Julie Daniluk and chef Ezra Title as they help families make home-cooked meals healthier and tastier — and that includes substituting or cutting back on ingredients like refined white sugar, one of Daniluk's personal no-nos. Check out more about Healthy Gourmet here and find out where to watch the show.
Here are five reasons to quit refined sugar:
1. It Can Cause Inflammation.
Healthy Gourmet host Julie Daniluk recently published the new book The Hot Detox Plan, which focuses heavily on the value of warming foods and anti-inflammatory ingredients. When we spoke with Daniluk about her book, one of the inflammatory ingredients she warned most strongly against was refined sugar. “Removing all of the nutrition from cane sugar and eating white refined sugar makes it into a substance that is extremely inflammatory,” she told us.
Also on Z Living: 5 Inflammatory Foods To Avoid, From The Host Of Healthy Gourmet
2. Sugar Can Make You Look Older.
According to this piece from Time, “Studies suggest that the amount of sugar in the blood (which is affected by how much sugar you eat) sets up a molecular domino effect called glycation, which ultimately leaves skin less firm and elastic. Dropping refined sugar from your diet, therefore, should help you avoid saggy features and premature lines.
Also on Z Living: Turns Out Sugary Soda Is Unhealthy For Your Brain, Too
3. Less Sugar Will Help You Gain More Energy.
When you think of those kindergarten sugar highs that made candy the ultimate childhood score, it seems almost counterintuitive to think that sugar depletes energy. But, sugar highs have crashes, because refined sugar's simple carbohydrates bring you down once they get metabolized. Foods lower in sugar and higher in protein take longer to digest and keep your energy more even-keeled.
Also on Z Living: Eating Healthy 101: How To Spot Hidden Sugars
4. Quitting Refined Sugar Will Lower Your Risk Of Obesity.
This study from AM J Public Health looked at the relationship between drinking soda and obesity worldwide, and found some staggering numbers. The study writes in of its results, “A 1% rise in soft drink consumption was associated with an additional 4.8 overweight adults per 100.” This just shows that just a little extra refined sugar can translate to a lot of extra pounds.
Also on Z Living: 6 Smart Tips For Breaking Your Kids’ Soda Habit
5. Less Sugar Bodes Well For Your Heart’s Health.
According to the previously mentioned piece from Time, “The more added sugar in your diet, the higher your risk of dying of heart disease, even if your weight is in a healthy range.” The piece references a 2014 JAMA study that found people who get more than 21 percent of their daily calories from sugar are twice as likely to get heart disease.
The takeaway? Cut out refined sugar completely, and keep your consumption of natural sugar to the FDA-recommended 10 percent of your daily calories.