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Sweet Tooth Doesn’t Only Ruin Your Health, But Also Your Mind And Productivity

Sweet Tooth Doesn’t Only Ruin Your Health, But Also Your Mind And Productivity

Obesity is a prevalent problem across the world. Take America as an example, the national obesity rate is now estimated at 35.5%, which is statistically higher than the number of citizens who are merely overweight.

While there are many potential triggers for obesity, an excess level of sugar consumption is thought to be one of the most influential. While the average male should consume no more than 37.5 grams of sugar each day, the average American man takes in an estimated 126 grams (which is the equivalent of 22 teaspoons).

This clear and sizeable difference highlights the negative effects of sugar which remains the primary cause of obesity and numerous other health issues. Therefore, by reducing our sugar consumption, we can drastically improve our physical health, while also improving productivity and mental performance.

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Sugar Can Cause Heart Diseases And Belly Fat

When surfing online, you will probably have noticed that there are conflicting reports about the negative impacts of sugar on the human body and mind. While some scientists have claimed that saturated fat is in fact the primary cause of heart disease and far more dangerous than sugar, however, the validity of these reports have been discredited by the fact that the sugar industry paid Harvard scientists to publish such findings.

Modern scientists have now reversed their position, citing excess sugar consumption as a primary cause of physical ailments such as migraines, adrenal fatigue and heart disease. It is also believed to be the leading contributor to the accumulation of belly fat, and most doctors now suggest that citizens should restrict their intake to a single can of soda each day.

There are other, more far-reaching physical effects of excess sugar consumption too. Not only can too much sugar and fructose damage the liver (in a similar way to alcohol), but it can also increase your uric acid levels and increase your chances of developing heart and kidney disease. It is also cited as a key cause of metabolic dysfunction, the key symptom of which is elevated blood sugar levels and dangerously high blood pressure.

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Your Mind And Productivity Will Also Be Affected…

The issue of elevated blood sugar is particularly interesting, as this suggests that sugar can also have an adverse impact on our mental performance over time, impacting on everything from our underlying mood to our levels of focus and productivity at work. On a fundamental level, studies have shown that the excess consumption of sugar triggers cycles of binge eating and significant dophamine spikes, which in turn can cause physical and emotional crashes at any given time.

A 2013 study from US analytics firm Gallup even cited sugar-related health issues as a potential factor in global levels of employee dissatisfaction, with just 13% of workers actively engaged at work and capable of maintaining their mental focus over time.

These symptoms and statistics reveal that sugar consumption is a primary cause for numerous physical and mental health concerns, which in turn can impact heavily on our quality and longevity of life. This is also a major concern for our employers, particularly with absenteeism thought to cost an estimated £17 billion ($20.8 billion) in the UK alone each year.

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Rethinking Your Approach to Sugar

In some instances, excess consumption is driven by ignorance and a failure to identify the hidden sources of sugar in food and beverages. SugarScience.org recently reported that a staggering 74% of processed foods contained added sugar that is concealed under more than 60 different names, including starch and carbohydrates. In fact, sugar is a general dietary term for sweet and soluble carbohydrates such as glucose, meaning that many of us consume sugar unknowingly through food such as pasta, sauce and ready meals. In some of these instances, sugar is presented in a highly processed and concentrated form, making it even more dangerous to the human body.

This is just the beginning when it comes to identifying hidden sources of sugar, however, with food items such as granola, yoghurt and salad dressing all deceptively high in soluble carbohydrates. The fact that these ingredients are often marketed as healthy alternatives to snacks like chocolate and biscuits is even more concerning, as this often means that even those who are attempting to reduce their daily intake are consuming far more sugar than they think.

This represents a sizeable gap in knowledge, and one that is exacerbating the inflated levels of sugar consumption in the US and across the world.

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How to Reduce your Daily Sugar Intake and Cultivate Positive Eating Habits

Just as the excess consumption of sugar can have an adverse impact on your body and mind, so too reducing your intake requires both physical and mental effort. This process starts with the understanding that sugar, in its natural form, is not inherently bad, and that you must take responsibility to moderate your consumption and identify all highly-concentrated forms of the substance like fructose (which is commonly found in processed foods and carbonated beverages such as soda).

From here, you can begin to eliminate certain foods and moderate others, paying particularly attention to processed products and refined carbohydrates. These food groups include popular items such as ready meals and breakfast cereals, as these items are known to break down the sugar in your body and trigger an increase in insulin levels. Try to replace these initially with food that include natural sugar (like fruit), and gradually try to reduce your intake over time.

It is also recommended that you rethink your approach to grocery shopping, dedicating up to 90% of your budget on whole foods and focusing on the preparation of meals from scratch rather than pursuing processed alternatives. This will help to gradually improve and refine your diet, allowing you to reduce your sugar intake and increase the consumption of healthy fats and fermented foods with beneficial bacteria.

This structured approach will enable you to make incremental but manageable changes, under the understanding that it takes approximately eight to 12 weeks to break bad habits and cultivate good ones in their stead. It also uses knowledge and an understanding of the negative effects of sugar to make progressive changes to your diet, which in turn can lead to a healthier body and improved mental performance over time.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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