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Ditch the Sweet Stuff

Ditch the Sweet StuffWhat’s Hiding in Your Pantry? Go ahead – open the door.  It’s in there and you won’t have to look too far. Take the first package you see and turn it around. Find the nutrition label and look about two-thirds of the way down the list.  What do you see?  Total Carbohydrates – eeeek!  Sugar is hiding in places that you would least expect and may be the prime culprit in your battle of the bulge.

Carbohydrates tend to be mostly empty calories and leave us wanting for more almost as soon as we’ve finished whatever was in the package.  These sugars cause an excess blood sugar surge and trigger an insulin release in your body. Insulin, also being a fat-storage hormone, promptly sends these calories packing – right where you don’t want them – around the mid-section (aka Belly Fat!)

Cutting back on carbohydrates may help you do more than just lose weight.  Studies show that there are dozens of additional health benefits when eliminating extra sugar from your diet.  Here are 10 of our favorites!

1. It lowers your chance of diabetes

Just 2 sodas a day increase your chance of becoming one of the millions with Type 2 diabetes by 26%.  Steady sugar intake can result in insulin resistance. Easy decision – drink water!

2. It reduces your risk of certain cancers

Research suggests that risk of certain cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, can be attributed to excess sugar intake. Why take chances?

3. It may lower your blood pressure

Excess weight has long been considered the major factor in hypertension. New studies indicate that sugary foods can also increase blood pressure. When the heart and arteries are taxed over long periods of time, damage can occur in the whole circulatory system.  This can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, kidney damage, artery disease and other coronary conditions.

4. It promotes healthy skin

Added sugar can leave the skin looking dull and wrinkled. Sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins, a process called glycation, that results in damage to your collagen and elastin. It may also leave your skin more prone to sun damage.

5. It improves brain function

Sugar can eat away at your brain cells much like it does your tooth enamel! Research shows a correlation between impaired cognitive function and excessive sugar intake. It has also shown to reduce the proteins that are necessary for memory and responsiveness.

6. It decreases your bad cholesterol

Consuming too many carbohydrates may lead to lower levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and higher levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) as well as higher triglycerides (blood fats).  Clogged arteries can lead to heart disease!

7. It may help you avoid fatty liver disease

Fatty liver disease is very common in this country and is directly related to the excess sugar in the American diet.  High blood sugar results in excess insulin in the system that drives fat into the liver cells. This disease can increase your risk of diabetes, heart attacks and even cancer.

8. It makes for easy breathing

Those that partake in a high carbohydrate diet may be more likely to suffer from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  COPD is the third leading cause of death in the country!

9. You’ll have more energy

Carbohydrates give you energy – right?  Wrong!  Excess sugar actually decreases the activity in our orexin cells. These cells help keep us awake and lift our metabolism – that could explain the need for a nap after a carb-filled lunch.

10. You’ll have more $$ to spend on the fun things in life!

We recently talked with a surgical patient who had added up the cost of all the sodas and junk food he had been buying compared to what he was now spending on good food.  Even we were amazed!  You can save hundreds of dollars each month – and spend it on something to celebrate your healthy life!

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