When I decided to cut out sugar I was *shocked* at how much of the sweet stuff is in literally everything. Ketchup? -> Corn syrup. Almond Milk? -> Cane Juice. Kombucha? ->Unrefined Sugar.
Estimates vary for how much sugar we should consume every day, but on average it's recommended that adults should consume less than 25 grams of sugar daily. If that sounds like a lot, it's really not. One 12 oz can of soda has 40 grams or more, but even food that you wouldn't think of as "sweet" is loaded with sugar. A plain bagel can have 6-10 grams! This infographic from the Daily Burn shows just how easy it is to hit the 25 gram mark while still eating a "healthy diet"
So why does it matter? Refined sugar is a completely unnecessary food additive, our bodies don' need it, and it causes both short term and long term damage to the body. In the short term, it can cause jitteriness, fatigue, mood swings, acne, sleep problems, and urinary tract infections. In the long term, it can cause cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, inflammation, weight gain (obesity), and mood disorders. And worse? it's almost impossible to avoid.
In the United States corn is a subsidized crop, which means that agricultural workers receive a financial incentive for growing corn over other crops; if you've driven through rural parts of the US it's likely that you've seen acre upon acre of corn, but this corn is not just served up on the cob. Large portions of corn are converted into feed for livestock, which causes them to gain weight quickly, triggering hormone fluctuations that are passed on to us when we eat them. Additionally, corn is processed into High Fructose Corn Syrup, that magic additive that's inexpensive, addictive, and in everything. When you start looking at labels you'll be shocked.
So what to do now? The best thing you can do is pay attention to what you're eating. Read labels and look at the ingredients list; ingredients are listed by how much of the substance is in the food, (i.e. the first thing on the ingredient list is the main ingredient). Start off by trying to go a whole day and staying under that 25g mark, can you do it?
I had been on a moderately lazy fitness/health journey for over 2 years when I cut out sugar (I follow a 90/10 rule), by this point I'd only lost about 5 lbs, and hadn't seen many imporovements in my skin, sleep, or muscle tone. 3 months after cutting out 90% of added sugar in my diet I had lost 15 lbs, taking my 5'8.5" frame from 140lbs, 22% body fat to 125lbs, 17% body fat. I was grumpy and sleepy for the first few days, but as time progressed I felt amazing, and many of the small things that had been plaguing me cleared up, especially my skin. It's been over a year since I cut the majority of sugar out of my diet, and generally I don't breakout anymore, but if I do indulge in something sweet or processed my skin flares up like I'm 17 again.
Have you been able to cut out sugar? Do you want to? Let me know in the comments!