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What Happens When You Go Without Sugar for 10 Days?

August 31, 2016
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Feeling guilty about your sugar intake? According to a study by Dr. Robert Lustig and the University of California, San Francisco, 10 days can make a world of a difference. Lustig analyzed children with obesity and metabolic syndromes, and reduced their sugar intake for 10 days. In just over a week, triglyceride levels lowered by an average of 33 points and cholesterol dropped by five points. It is rare to see a diet with such immediate results, yet all children saw a dramatic increase in their health. Lustig also reported lower blood pressure, reduced risk of diabetes and normalized blood sugar levels. No calorie counting or smaller portions needed. But why is sugar so bad for you? Lustig blames fructose. Sugar is equally made up of both glucose and fructose. While glucose is used as an energy source and quickly metabolized throughout the body, fructose is only metabolized in the liver. A sugary drink like soda can overwhelm the liver, and leaves excess fructose behind to convert into fat. If this continues, the fat can spill into your blood stream and increase your chance of strokes or heart disease. It can be difficult if you're trying to curb a sweet tooth, and understandably so; fructose is linked to your nucleus accumbens - a part of your brain that makes you feel happy. This is where the “treat yourself” mentality kicks in, every time you eat something sweet, the nucleus accumbens rewards you and asks for more. A little sugar can turn into a lot quick, thanks to your brain. This may be why Lustig saw significant improvements in the children he studied; eliminating sugar also eliminated the brain’s urge to overindulge in fructose. While Lustig’s study focused on obese children, it is not incorrect to say adults may experience the same results. Cutting sugar intake in any capacity may be the first proven step to a healthier you.
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