In October of 2018, I made up my mind to stop taking soda because of its high sugar content – and I’ve stuck to it. It was supposed to be the start of a no-sugar diet for me. This was just before I resumed for my final year in the university.
Why did I do this?… For starters, I’ve always dreaded the thought of having diabetes and I wanted to make sure I stayed as far away from it as possible. My mum frequently speaks of this man whose family is plagued by diabetes but has himself managed to avoid it by totally avoiding soda, alcohol, or any drink that’s not water. He’s done this for decades; probably forever. That story of immense discipline inspired me.
A part of me also wanted to know how my reduction of the intake of sugar (by totally cutting off soda) would help me reach my bodybuilding goals of being lean and having mostly muscles.
You’re itching to ask me now what my no-soda thing has done for me. Well, it’s taught me. I can inform you that since I stopped taking soda, a lot of things have become clearer to me, especially those things that have to do with weight loss. I now know for sure that cutting off soda alone isn’t enough to help you lose weight.
It’s also usually a pleasure to watch people’s amazement at the fact that I don’t take soda. But do you ever wonder WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU STOP TAKING SUGAR as a whole?
Before I jump into the thick of things, let me start with what sugar is and the types of sugars that we have and whether sugar is bad.
Sugar refers to soluble carbohydrates with a sweet taste. We have two major types: simple sugars also called monosaccharide (they include glucose, fructose, and galactose) and compound sugars also called disaccharide (they include sucrose, lactose and maltose). All of these can be extracted from plants, except lactose.
Sugar could be naturally present in foods or could be added. Honey and fruits are natural sources of unbounded simple sugars. Vegetables contain natural sugars too. Added sugars can be found in cakes, cookies, soda, doughnuts, most beverages and junks. Sucrose which is usually added to sweeten foods is abundant in sugarcane and sugar beet, and this makes them (sugarcane and sugar beet) ideal for commercial extraction to make processed sugar.
Sugar lifts your mood- temporarily. In the long run however, if taken in high quantity, could result in bad health.
Does this make sugar all bad? or all sugars bad?
Reports have provided evidence that HIGH INTAKE of sugary drinks (including fruit juice) increased the risk of obesity by adding to overall energy intake. This proves that sugar itself doesn’t cause obesity. It however adds to your total calories (energy) intake and makes you prone to having a caloric surplus which could eventually lead to obesity.
Meta-analysis showed that excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Eating too much sugar is also bad for your heart, your head (headache), your skin (acne), and your health in general.
Sugar is considered an “empty calorie” because even though it adds to food energy, it provides little in terms of nutritional values.
However, is it all sugar that should be thrown out? There is a difference between added sugars and natural sugars as I’ve earlier noted. Added sugars are sugars that are found in foods which are not there naturally e.g. in cakes, soda etc. It is added sugars that have been noted to contribute to many health problems. They are the enemy!!
Natural sugars deserve a place in your diet. Fruits which contain natural sugars also contain minerals and vitamins which may not be gotten from other foods.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU STOP EATING SUGAR?
Some studies show that when someone stops eating sugar, they may experience exhaustion, brain fog, headaches, irritability and sometimes, depression, but just for the first few days.
Reducing your sugar intake can help improve your complexion by strengthening elastin and collagen and reducing the level of inflammation present in your skin.
When you reduce or eliminate sugar, storage of fat will decline slowly too, and you will gradually lose some weight.
It’s important to note that going on a no-sugar diet doesn’t automatically solve all your health problems. It is however a good step, especially if you’re battling with obesity and other diseases that can be influenced by the intake of sugar. What you can do is drastically reduce the amount of your daily added sugar (or you completely cut it off) and eat only natural sugars found in fruits and other natural sources whenever you feel the urge to eat something sweet. That way, you’d at least be getting some nutritional value. Also, fruits have fiber that causes our body to absorb sugar at a slower rate.
Let these be your takeaway: not all sugar is bad sugar. Added sugars are the enemy. You don’t have to completely cut sugar off. It isn’t the consumption of sugar that causes heart disease, cancer etc. but the inordinate consumption of sugar could accelerate the process of having them. Limiting your sugar wouldn’t make you lose weight automatically if you keep having a caloric surplus. In the end, in order to lose weight, it’s your net caloric intake that matters.