First and foremost, keep in mind that there are good forms of sugar, even if you are diabetic. Naturally occurring sugars, like those found in fruits or honey, help give the body energy, and in the case of fruit, are packaged in the food with plenty of fiber, which helps slow down the release of sugar during digestion. While some medical conditions demand that even natural forms of sugar be regulated closely, for the average person, these types of sugars are fine in moderation. The problem comes with concentrated sugars, which are usually processed. Corn syrup, glucose, and your common white granulated table sugar are all examples of “bad” sugars. Those are the types of sugars you need to give up! Keep in mind that sometimes foods are filled with bad sugars even if they do not taste sweet. For example, white bread and other refined carbohydrates can really cause your blood-sugar level to spike.
One of the most beneficial results of cutting sugar out of your diet is weight control. This is not a crash-course way to diet, but over time, cutting the bad sugars out of your life will help you stabilize you blood-sugar levels on a daily basis. Sugar, or, more specifically, glucose, is meant to give you energy. The bulk of that energy should come from complex carbohydrates, which give the body energy over longer periods of time (hence the reason most nutritionists suggest a high-carb breakfast to start the day). Simple sugar, on the other hand, is meant to give the body a shorter burst of energy. When you eat sugar and do not need that energy, the body’s blood-sugar levels spike. The body tries to compensate by storing the extra glucose for later, as fat. Eating sugar is not, by far, the only reason why you may be overweight or obese, but it is a contributor.
Another major advantage to refraining from eating too much sugar is that it can help you avoid potentially serious medical problems. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, then you know how hard it can be on your life. Diabetes, although common in the Western world (especially the United States), can be extremely dangerous if left unregulated. If your blood-sugar levels spike or drop, you could fall into a diabetic coma and die. Refusing to regulate your sugar intake can also lead to vision problems and other complications if you have diabetes. By controlling the sugar in your diet now, you are lessening the chances that you will develop insulin-related problems in the future. Most cases of diabetes in the United States are avoidable!
A sugar-free diet also helps you eat a healthier, more well-rounded diet overall. Many of the foods we eat that are filled with sugar are also lacking in nutrients and filled with empty calories. By ridding your diet of sugar, you are cutting out the foods that are, in general, bad for you. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but when you focus on sugar-free foods, you automatically prepare meals that are healthier for you and filled with the vitamins, minerals, and proteins your body really needs. Sugary foods tend to fill you up without giving you much in return, while if you eat high-quality foods, you feel full without packing on weight or leaving your body lacking key nutrients.
Lastly, eating a sugar-free diet has a positive effect on the body that most people don’t think too much about – it helps with oral health. We all know that dentists warn kids against eating too much candy, but whether you are seven or seventy, sugar is bad for your teeth. Why? Some of the bacteria that are responsible for tooth decay, gum disease, and other mouth-related problems are kicked into gear when they come into contact with sugar. So, unless you brush your teeth and floss every time you eat something, not eating sugar is one of the best things you could do for your oral health.
Eliminating sugar from your diet is not easy. Not only is it found in almost all foods, but also the list of ingredients can be confusing on food labels. If you plan to go sugar-free with your diet, make sure you talk to your doctor about doing so in a safe, healthy way.