What are the benefits of cutting added sugar from your diet?

What are the benefits of cutting added sugar from your diet?

Lily & Loaf Blog Lily & Loaf Blog
4 minute read

Most food and drinks contain sugar.

It adds flavour and taste to meals, helps your body to produce energy and, in moderation, can help boost your mental and emotional wellbeing.

However, too much sugar, especially the refined or processed kind, can have a host of adverse side effects, including headaches and energy crashes, and can lead to severe health problems over the long term.


Added sugar is usually refined and highly processed from sugar cane and sugar beets. It is used to add flavour to many different types of foods and drinks, but unlike natural sugar – which contains vitamins and minerals – it has no real nutritional value. 
It comes in many forms, so if you are looking to cut more added sugar from your diet, then it’s important you know what to look for.
Sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, fruit juice, molasses, hydrolysed starch, invert sugar, corn syrup and honey are all sugar-based ingredients.
Checking the labels of the food you buy is essential, as they will let you know exactly how much sugar the product contains.
Foods with 22.5g or more of sugar per 100g are classed as high in sugar, while foods with 5g or fewer per 100g are low in sugar. Some product labels use a colour coded ‘traffic light’ system to indicate how much sugar, salt and fat they contain. Go for green or amber if you’re looking for lower-sugar foods.


Excess sugar consumption can contribute to several long-term health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic inflammation, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and tooth decay.
Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet can help reduce your risk of developing these problems. Replacing food that’s high in added sugar with more natural alternatives is also a good way of getting more vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients into your diet without the added calories.
Cutting your sugar intake can also deliver the following health benefits:


Improve your skin

The sugar in your diet directly correlates with the sugar in your bloodstream. High blood sugar levels lead to an effect called glycation, where sugar molecules attach themselves to the collagen and elastin proteins which help keep your skin firm and supple. This can reduce the skin’s elasticity, leading to premature ageing, sagging and wrinkles.

Boost your energy levels

Refined sugar is a simple carbohydrate, which is digested fast and enters your bloodstream quickly. While it might give you a short-term energy rush, your blood sugar will crash once it has been metabolised, leaving you feeling listless and fatigued.
Complex carbohydrates and foods that are high in protein and healthy fat deliver a steadier stream of energy throughout the day, meaning you won’t spike or crash as often.

Lose abdominal fat

Foods and drinks that are high in sugar – including sweets and chocolate, fizzy pop and alcoholic beverages – can increase your belly fat.
As we explained above, sugar causes your blood sugar levels to spike, which triggers your body’s insulin response. Over time, this causes excess fat – known as visceral fat – to accumulate in the cells around your abdomen.

Maintain a healthy weight

While increased insulin causes increased fat storage around your abdomen, it can also encourage extra fat cells to appear around your body as it goes into calorie-storage overdrive. Replacing refined carbohydrates and added sugar with complex carbs and proteins will help level out your body’s insulin response, so fewer calories get stored as fat. This can also help speed up your metabolism and suppress your appetite, which can help with your efforts to maintain a healthy weight.

Reduce your risk of diabetes

Eating fewer sweet treats can help keep your insulin response under control, which can help with weight management and stave off the onset of type 2 diabetes. Because your body metabolises refined sugar quickly, your pancreas has to work overtime to release sufficient insulin with every meal. Over time, this can cause your insulin-producing cells to misfire, which can eventually lead to diabetes.

Improve your heart health

Excess blood sugar can increase blood pressure and heart rate and decrease blood vessel function, all of which can, over time, take a real toll on your cardiovascular health.
Studies have found that people who regularly get between 17% and 21% of their daily calories from sugar increased their risk of developing chronic heart disease by 38%, compared to those who keep their sugar intake below eight per cent of their daily calorific total.

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