In 1822, the average American consumed about 45 grams of sugar every five days — and I’m guessing that he wasn’t getting it from Ding Dongs and Skittles.
You want to take a stab at how much sugar the average American consumes today? 765 grams every five days. Or rather, the same amount that ye old American was drinking, but in seven hours instead of five days.
We have taken something that used to be a luxury and made it into an entire food group. Scratch that. We’ve weaved it into all our food groups.
If we were to take about 20 teaspoon-sized steps back, what would happen to our bodies and our minds? Let’s talk about you not on sugar.
Glycation. The effects of sugar molecules on your body’s cells. Guess which cells are most prone to this effect? The same ones that make you look younger, plumper, and glowy, of course! According to an article in Elle, “when those proteins hook up with renegade sugars, they become discolored, weak, and less supple; this shows up on the skin’s surface as wrinkles, sagginess, and a loss of radiance.”
Okay, okay, we get it. So if we cut out the ice cream (and the sugar-packed cereals, and yes, even the heaping amounts of fruit), how soon can we expect results? Well, Dr. Harold Lancer, Kim Kardashian and Beyonce’s dermatologist, says people can see changes within as little as 72 to 96 hours. “They’ll feel better, their color will look better, their skin won’t be so oily and they won’t be so dry. Their circles will be reduced, perkier,” says Dr. Lancer.
That just might be enough motivation for us.
But wait, there’s more! Apparently, sugar can also cause breakouts. How so? According to Beyonce’s derm, sugar has the ability to weaken the immune system. A weak immune system can’t fight off bacteria, and bacteria clogs pores. Clogged pored cause pimples. Ugh.
In addition, consuming sugar can increase your testosterone levels. And Dr. Lancer told New York mag, “Testosterone makes pores larger, skin is oilier, [and] it turns your beautiful female skin into ruddy football player skin.”
Ruddy and pimply or… Beyonce? Um. We’re with her.
When Ellen Picton cut out sugar, dairy, processed foods, and alcohol from her diet, she wasn’t trying to lose weight or improve her complexion. She was trying to become fertile.
At 29, after suffering a lifetime of endometriosis, Picton met the love of her life and decided she was going to take matters into her own hands. In hearing promising results from her colleague (who also had endometriosis), she followed the advice of Dr. Zoe Harcombe and cut out the sugar. Within three months of overhauling her diet, her period was late. But this time, it had nothing to do with her endometriosis. That’s right. After years of doctors telling her she was infertile and that she may be forced into an early menopause, she conceived a baby.
Again, the research here may be a little light. But there are some potential sugar to fertility connections. Namely, sugar’s effects on hormones. We’ll explain.
A 2007 study from the Child & Family Research Institute found that excessive amounts of sugar can turn off the gene that controls the levels of estrogen and testosterone in your body. This gene is aptly named the Sex Hormone Binding Globulin, or SHBG for short.
You want your SHBG to be just right. You see, if there’s too little of it, an excess of testosterone and estrogen will be released throughout your body which can lead to infertility (see above), polycystic ovaries, and uterine cancers. If there’s too much of it, it still disrupts that E to T balance (estrogen to testosterone) which could lead to cardiovascular disease in women.
All this sounds pretty bad for women. But remember when we mentioned the lowered testosterone that leads to acne? Guess what else lowered testosterone means? Flabby muscles, flabbier bellies, and decreased sex drive in men. Oh boy. Talk about a mood killer. Forget the chocolate molten cake. We’ll take the check!