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Side Effects of Sugar Reduction in the Diet

by
author image Sylvie Tremblay, MSc
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist. Based in Ontario, Canada, Tremblay is an experienced journalist and blogger specializing in nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, health and biotechnology, as well as real estate, agriculture and clean tech.
Side Effects of Sugar Reduction in the Diet
Side Effects of Sugar Reduction in the Diet Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Overview

The nutrients in the food you eat serve as fuel for your body. Sugar absorbed into the blood acts as a source of fuel for tissues in your body, including your brain, while other nutrients like proteins are recycled to help form the human proteins found in each of your cells. A poor diet rich in refined sugar and processed carbohydrates can negatively affect your health, with long-term consumption of sugar linked to disease such as type 2 diabetes. Reducing your sugar consumption can have a number of side effects on your body and health.

More Consistent Blood Sugar

Side Effects of Sugar Reduction in the Diet
Eating meals low in sugar and consuming carbohydrates along with sources of protein and fiber helps keep your sugar level consistent. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

One positive effect of reducing sugar intake in your diet is more consistent blood sugar levels. After you eat a meal, the carbohydrate content of the food is broken down and sugar is released into your bloodstream. After eating a meal high in processed sugars your blood sugar spikes, leading to a "sugar high," and then crashes, leaving you feeling drained and hungry. In contrast, a meal low in sugars or processed carbohydrates is broken down much more slowly, preventing blood sugar spikes. The Franklin Institute recommends eating meals low in sugar and consuming carbohydrates along with sources of protein and fiber to help keep your sugar level consistent.

Decreased Risk of Insulin Resistance

Side Effects of Sugar Reduction in the Diet
Following a diet low in concentrated sugars combined with exercise can help prevent or treat insulin resistance. Photo Credit Stewart Cohen/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Another side effect of reducing the sugar in your diet is a decreased risk of developing insulin resistance. Your pancreas, a small organ located near your liver, releases a number of hormones into your bloodstream, some of which control blood sugar. Normally, the release of insulin into the bloodstream leads to a decrease in blood sugar, allowing blood sugar levels to remain within a healthy range. Consuming large amounts of processed sugars and carbohydrates over time can lead to insulin resistance, a condition that develops when insulin in the bloodstream can no longer properly control your blood sugar levels. The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse indicates that following a diet low in concentrated sugars combined with exercise can help prevent or treat insulin resistance.

Fatigue

Side Effects of Sugar Reduction in the Diet
Low blood sugar can lead to a number of symptoms including fatigue. Photo Credit Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

While cutting processed sugar out of your diet has beneficial side effects, following a diet too low in carbohydrates and sugars can affect your energy levels. Many low-carb diets, such as the Atkins diet, allow for very limited consumption of healthy sugars, like the natural sugars found in fruits. As a result, following a low carbohydrate diet with little to no sugar intake can lead to low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. This low blood sugar can lead to a number of symptoms including fatigue, headaches and difficulty focusing, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center. You can help prevent the development of hypoglycemia by following a diet containing whole grains, fruits and vegetables as a source of healthy carbohydrates and sugars.

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