If you find yourself in need of a little motivation to eat less sugar, here are 27 reasons why you should eat less of the sweet stuff, annotated and animated (because animated GIFs make even the worst news about sugar more palatable).
(Note: If you’re on mobile, give the GIFs a second to load. I know patience isn’t popular these days, but it’s worth it, I promise. 🙂 )
#1. Seven out of ten Americans eat more than the recommended daily amount of sugar, and the statistics aren’t that great for a lot of other countries either (Germany, Australia, the UK, Finland, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Japan, to name a few).1
Usually it’s pretty cool to be a part of the popular group, but not this time.
#2. In a 2008 study, researchers found that rats that consumed a high intake of sugar began to show behaviors akin to drug abuse, including binging, withdrawal, and cravings.2
So if you’ve ever found yourself doing this …
… now you know why.
#3. In a 2013 study conducted by The Credit Suisse Research Institute, nine out of ten health practitioners surveyed (located in the U.S., Asia, and Europe) believe that over-consumption of sugar is linked to the drastic rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes in the last several decades.
The study also found that the United States ranks #1 in sugar consumption worldwide. The not-so-awesome prize for that honor: hundreds of billions of dollars in medical costs.3
Can you imagine what could be done with an extra few hundred billion in the bank? Free puppies for everyone! (Okay, maybe something a little more serious than that.)
#4. Studies have linked high sugar intake to the increased risk of some cancers, including breast cancer.4
#5. Drinking more than one twelve-ounce can of soda a day—regular or diet—may be linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease.5
#6. Research has shown that an excessive sugar intake can negatively impact cholesterol levels by reducing the level of good cholesterol (HDL) in the body.6
#7. A 2015 study estimated that excessive consumption of sugary beverages kills over 180,000 adults a year worldwide through various medical conditions, including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.7
#8. Sugar consumption can lead to tooth decay by feeding the oral bacteria that helps cavities develop.8
Ugh. I don’t know about you, but this makes me want to run to the bathroom and brush, floss, and rinse … maybe twice.
#9. A diet high in fructose (a component of sugar) may worsen depression and anxiety.9
Before I quit sugar for good, I had a few trial runs. One of the first things I noticed was how much calmer and more level-headed I was when I didn’t eat sugar. I’m not going to win any awards for World’s Calmest Person any time soon, but I’m a heck of a lot better than I was when I was eating sugar.
#10. Sugar can increase inflammation in the body, which can lead to everything from premature aging …
#11. … to inflammatory diseases (e.g., arthritis and autoimmune disease, to name a couple).10
#12. Consuming a large amount of sugar in a short period of time has been shown to lower the immune system for almost five hours.11
#13. The World Health Organization, American Heart Association, and many other health organizations around the globe recommend that we drastically reduce our sugar consumption.
They all agree that too much sugar is not good for our health. (How much sugar should you eat? Get the answer here.)
#14. The body stores excess sugar as fat, so eating less of it can lead to weight loss.12
(That’s a weight loss happy dance, BTW.)
#15. Excess sugar consumption has been linked to an increased risk of dying from heart disease, even in those who are a normal weight.13
#16. Eating sugar, especially sugary drinks, is going to get expensive because of sugar taxes.14
Kiss that cheap 2-liter of soda goodbye! Sugar taxes—mostly on sugary drinks—have been sweeping the globe. Some have been at the country level (e.g., Mexico, France) and others at the city level (e.g., Philadelphia, San Francisco). They’re just getting started and there are definitely many more to come.
#17. Eating too much sugar can overload the liver, which can lead to weight gain and possibly fatty liver disease or insulin resistance.15
Not surprisingly, overloading your liver is bad.
#18. Eating a lot of sugar can cause you to miss out on other valuable nutrients.
While you’re chowing down on a donut and sugary coffee for breakfast, what aren’t you eating? Protein, vegetables, fruit … and all the good stuff in those types of foods.
Aim to be more like these guys (or gals):
#19. Consuming a bunch of sugary food confuses the taste buds and makes naturally sweet foods, like fruit, taste bland in comparison.
If you only get a taste bud happy dance when you eat something with added sugar, you’ve probably been indulging in way too much of it. If you think, say, a pear or banana tastes kind of “blah,” then you probably need to back off the added sugar and focus on recalibrating your taste buds to natural sweetness.
#20. Consuming a lot of sugar can mess with blood sugar levels, leading to energy slumps.16
Eating less sugar can mean more energy!
Your future with less sugar?
#21. Consuming a lot of sugar can also cause an increase in appetite, leading you to consume more than you normally would.17
Plus sugar is highly palatable, so it can be super hard to stop at just one bite.
(Been there, done that.)
#22. Sugar can affect the body in ways that can lead to increased acne breakouts.18
I personally experienced this side effect of sugar consumption, and it’s one of the main reasons I decided to quit sugar for good. My skin seems to be particularly susceptible to the acne-stimulating effects of sugar, so I noticed a major reduction in acne (especially cystic acne) when I removed it from my diet. Yeah!
#23. Eating less sugar can be a “gateway to health.”
If you want to eat less sugar, you are forced to become a meticulous label-reader. And when you start to read labels and see ingredients you can’t pronounce, you might start to wonder if that weird-sounding stuff is good for you or not. (Hint: it probably isn’t.) Quitting sugar can be a “gateway to health” in the sense that you start learning more about what’s in the food you eat, which may lead you to make additional healthy changes to your diet.
#24. A Columbia University study found that eating a lot of sugar can cause poor sleep, which can lead to daytime fatigue.19
#25. Rats fed a highly concentrated form of sugar suffered cognitive impairment, and the researchers believed this is true for humans, too.20
Soo, eating too much sugar might actually make you dumber.
#26. The acidic nature of soda (both those sweetened with sugar and those with artificial sweeteners) literally attacks your teeth enamel for approximately twenty minutes after drinking it.
With every sip, the twenty-minute attack starts over again.21
And finally …
#27. When you have guidance and a plan, eating less sugar really isn’t that hard to do.
Luckily for you, you’ve stumbled across an easy and fun way to eat less sugar called Forget Sugar Friday.
Forget Sugar Friday is a habit-building movement designed to help you supercharge your life by saying “no” to sugar just one day a week: Friday.
By cutting out sugar just one day a week (which adds up to almost two whole months a year, by the way), you’ll develop the skills you need to eat less sugar whenever you choose.
Want to learn more? Check out my book, Forget Sugar Friday: Supercharge Your Life by Saying “No” to Sugar Just One Day a Week, on Amazon.