Whether it’s that granola bar you have in the afternoon or the dessert you have after dinner, it’s sometimes quite difficult to reduce how much-refined sugar you eat. But with (sometimes a lot) of will power, it is possible to give it up.
Studies that were later picked up by the Guardian have shown that when you stop eating sugar, your body experiences consequences similar to those observed in people who go through withdrawal from more addictive substances. In fact, when we eat sugar, our opiate receptors go crazy and we feel happy as a result. However, eating too much sugar is linked to headaches, a lack of energy, a higher risk of obesity and becoming overweight and even hormone problems.
But this type of sugar is not to be confused with the sugar that is naturally found in food (such as fruit for example), as this sugar is good for you. Refined sugar, which contains lots of calories, actually provides no nutritional benefit, unlike natural sugars which contain vitamins and minerals.
So what happens when we stop eating it?
When we eat sugar, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin because the reward areas of our brains are stimulated. When you stop eating sugar completely, ‘the body begins to sense this and you may feel cranky or irritable, especially in the first few days,’ explains Robert Glatter, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, to Insider. Headaches and even fatigue can start to appear. But luckily, ‘after a week or so, your energy will begin to improve, and you will feel more alive and less irritable,' continues the doctor.
If you suffer from acne, your skin could become less prone to spots, simply because refined sugar causes insulin spikes in our body that cause breakouts which, as a result, prematurely age the skin and lead to acne and rosacea.
Reducing your sugar intake has also been found to improve your quality of sleep after a few weeks. According to Insider, refined sugar reduces the degree of slow-wave sleep, the restorative sleep that consolidates memories and information, and rapid eye movement sleep, the dream phase. Eating less sugar has also been said to reduce how often you wake up throughout the night.
You might also lose weight, but this won’t happen overnight. As we are all aware, when we eat too much-refined sugar, our body turns it into fat. But you will only notice weight loss from no longer consuming this sugar after one or two weeks, as Robert Glatter adds. So, ready to take on the challenge?