5 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Cut Out Added Sugar
What added sugar was doing: Packing on the pounds and sending your numbers in the wrong direction.
What happens without it: When kids who'd averaged about 27 percent of their caloric intake from added sugar had their diets revamped, bringing the total down to 10 percent of the sweet stuff (the upper limit recommended by the USDA), their LDL cholesterol dropped by 10 points, diastolic blood pressure fell by 5 points, and their triglycerides dropped by 33 points—all in just 10 days, according to a recent study in Obesity. Though the kids were given the same amount of calories they'd been eating before the study, most still lost weight (an average of 2 pounds), so it's not quite clear whether it was the weight loss from the diet overhaul, which we know improves overall health, or the lack of added sugar that's responsible.
Your Might Feel Calmer in the Face of Stress
What added sugar was doing: Too much added sugar pumps up the production of cytokines in your body, which also rile up your nervous system, says Roxanne Sukol, MD, doctor of preventive medicine and medical director of the Wellness Enterprise at Cleveland Clinic.
What happens without it: "Things that might have put you over the edge when you were eating a lot of sugar won't have the same impact anymore," says Sukol, because with less inflammation, you'll be less likely to have a strong physical reaction to a stressor.
Another factoid: These cytokines are also involved in your body's pain response, so aches may not be as bothersome as they were before.
Your Taste Buds Wake Up
What added sugar was doing: Overwhelming your sweetness receptors, so naturally sweet eats like berries, melon and more, tasted bland or even bitter.
What happens without it: Those receptors recover, says Lisa Cimperman, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and clinical dietitian at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. "Fruit will be significantly tastier than it was before."
You Stop Face-Planting into Your Desk Every Afternoon
What added sugar was doing: Taking your blood sugar high, then low, then high and low again, leaving you drained.
What happens without it: As long as you've replaced high-sugar foods with ones that your body processes more slowly, you won't get those blood sugar spikes and you'll see an improvement in your energy levels, says Cimperman. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins are all good options. You may also notice that you're having less difficulty concentrating throughout the day.
Your Insulin Levels Get Back to Normal (in a Few Days)
What added sugar was doing: Cranking up your insulin levels (your body releases it to catch the sugar you eat and either use it for energy or store it as fat).
What happens without it: Your body recognizes that you've cut back on the sugar and don't need as much insulin, says Sukol. But it doesn't happen immediately. "If you needed a boatload of insulin yesterday, your body anticipates that it'll need a boatload today too," she explains. "It takes a few days for that feedback loop to reset."