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Life Lessons: Your body without sugar

The average American consumes more than 19 teaspoons of added sugar a day, even though guidelines suggest we should be eating no more than six to nine teaspoons daily.

You’ve probably heard that cutting your sugar intake can improve your health. But what really happens in your body when you say “sayonara” to sugar?

Ice cream. Candy. Donuts. We know too much sugar is bad, but it tastes so good.

When you reduce sugar intake, big changes happen on the inside. First, you’ll cut visceral fat, that’s the "deep" fat that surrounds organs like the liver, intestine and pancreas. A 2016 study found the more sugar-sweetened drinks people consumed, the higher their levels of visceral fat.

Next, nixing sugar will protect your heart. One study found people who consumed the most amount of sugar had double the risk of death from heart disease.

Your skin will also look better if you consume less sugar. Too much sugar in the blood can lead to glycation: a process that leaves skin less firm and elastic.

Cutting back on sweets may also improve your mood. Women who ate fewer foods with added sugars were less likely to be depressed, and less sugar could help you fight off colds. In one study, eating 100 grams of sugar lowered the body’s white blood cells’ ability to kill bacteria by as much as 50 percent.

So remember, while a little sugar is okay, your body will thank you if you don’t overdo it.

If you’re trying to cut back on sugar, remember to check the ingredient list on all the products you eat. Sugar goes by more than 50 different names. A simple trick to identify it is to look for ingredients that end in “o-s-e” such as dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, and sucrose.

If these are one of the top five ingredients listed, pick another product.

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