Benefits and challenges of cutting out sugar

If you’re reassessing your health or fitness, a functional medicine doctor says focusing on one thing can help, like reducing or completely removing sugar from your diet.

“We have essential proteins or essential amino acids. There are no essential carbohydrates. Our body can produce this carb or can produce this sugar,” said Dr. Kurt Perkins.

He said it’s important to know that carbs and sugar are essentially interchangeable terms when it comes to how your body processes them.

“Anything that’s a carb is going to raise your blood sugar. Simply put, it turns into sugar, and whether you’re going to use it or store it is the next equation in your metabolic story,” said the Dr. Perkins.

If you want to drastically reduce sugar — or try to cut out processed sugar altogether — Dr. Perkins said that would have many health benefits, but they wouldn’t be the first things you’d notice.

“There will be ‘haunts’ and cravings and that kind of thing, because it hits those dopamine receptors in the brain, and that’s our reward and motivation,” Dr Perkins said.

But, he added, passing the sugar withdrawals is worth it.

“When we eat a lot of sugar and stuff like that, then you increase insulin resistance – not just diabetes or obesity, but now we’re talking about Alzheimer’s as a type of type three diabetes. These plaques in your arteries are signals of insulin build-up. So heart cancers, hormone-specific tumors – all of these have components of insulin resistance. So looking at the long-term benefits of reducing sugar and lowering it is huge for chronic disease,” Dr. Perkins said.

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Richard V. Johnson