Personal trainer Rachael Attard reveals what really happens to your body when you give up sugar

An Australian personal trainer has revealed what really happens to your body when you give up sugar, and the raft of positive effects you can expect to see within just one week.

Rachael Attard, from Sydney, said there are many reasons to cut back or completely eliminate sugar from your diet – from reduced risk of diabetes to less likelihood of getting liver or heart disease down the track.

But it isn’t just health benefits you can expect to enjoy, but clearer skin, less belly fat, improved mood and fewer cravings.

‘When you stop eating sugar, you will notice some short-term and long-term side effects in your body,’ Rachael wrote on her website.

‘Most of the side effects are positive, but you will have some negative side effects at first too.’

An Australian personal trainer has revealed what really happens to your body when you give up sugar, and the raft of positive effects you can expect to see within just one week

An Australian personal trainer has revealed what really happens to your body when you give up sugar, and the raft of positive effects you can expect to see within just one week

An Australian personal trainer has revealed what really happens to your body when you give up sugar, and the raft of positive effects you can expect to see within just one week

Rachael Attard (pictured), from Sydney, said there are many reasons to cut back or completely eliminate sugar from your diet - from less abdominal fat to clearer skin and better health

Rachael Attard (pictured), from Sydney, said there are many reasons to cut back or completely eliminate sugar from your diet - from less abdominal fat to clearer skin and better health

Rachael Attard (pictured), from Sydney, said there are many reasons to cut back or completely eliminate sugar from your diet – from less abdominal fat to clearer skin and better health 

What are the positive effects?

1. Clearer skin

Tips for cutting back on sugar 

* Start slowly and cut sugar from one meal first, before gradually getting bigger.

* Improve your overall diet and eat as much protein, good fats and fibre as possible as this will reduce sugar cravings.

* Drink enough water and make sure you’re adequately hydrated across the day so you don’t mix hunger with thirst.

* Get plenty of sleep – between seven and nine hours – to avoid feeling grouchy and needing to snack.

* Manage your stress levels as much as possible.

* Exercise regularly, whether that’s high intensity or something more steady like walking.

Source: Rachael Attard 

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The first change the trainer said you can expect to see is an almost instant improvement in your complexion.

‘Lots of sugar can cause your insulin to spike, which causes inflammation throughout your body and can cause your skin to break out,’ Rachael said.

By limiting your sugar intake, so too will you reduce inflammation.

The PT also said that less sugar can strengthen elastin and collagen in your complexion, which can help to reduce fine lines, wrinkles and smoothe out sagging skin. 

You should notice your skin clears from within seven days of significantly reducing or eliminating sugar.

2. Steady supply of energy

When we eat sugar, it causes a quick spike in energy that causes us to feel much more productive, before it later leads to a massive drop in energy that is often described as a ‘sugar low’.

‘Reducing your sugar intake will help you get rid of these ups and downs,’ Rachael said. 

This should lead to your energy levels being much more steady overall, especially if you replace your sugary snacks and drinks with good fats and protein.

3. Reduced abdominal fat 

One of the best side effects of less sugar is reduced fat, particularly in your abdominal region.

Rachael highlighted one study, which showed that those who quit sugar for 30 days noticed 5-20 pounds of weight loss.

Rachael (pictured) highlighted one study, which showed that those who quit sugar for 30 days noticed 5-20 pounds of weight loss

Rachael (pictured) highlighted one study, which showed that those who quit sugar for 30 days noticed 5-20 pounds of weight loss

Rachael (pictured) highlighted one study, which showed that those who quit sugar for 30 days noticed 5-20 pounds of weight loss

4. Reduced risk of diabetes

Keeping to a healthy weight helps to drastically reduce your chance of getting diabetes, but that isn’t the only way limiting sugar helps.

‘When you eat a lot of sugar or simple carbohydrates, your pancreas produces more and more insulin,’ Rachael said.

‘This can overwork insulin-producing cells, making them break down, which eventually leads to diabetes.’ 

5. Reduced risk of heart disease

‘Too much sugar is linked to high blood pressure and LDL cholesterol (or bad cholesterol) levels, both of which hurt your head over time,’ Rachael said.

She added that people who get between 17 and 21 per cent of their calories from sugar are more likely to ‘die of heart disease’.  

How long does it take to detox from sugar? 

Detoxing from sugar happens in stages and it varies person to person.

ONE WEEK: Rachael said after a week, your body will have ‘less inflammation’ and so your skin should appear brighter and less puffy. Your eyes should also be shinier.

ONE MONTH: After a month, you should really see some benefits of reducing your sugar intake. You should have no cravings, more mental clarity and you might have lost some weight.

SIX MONTHS: After six months, you’ll have significantly reduced change of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and early ageing.

ONE YEAR: Your skin will be brighter, your weight will be down and you’re far less likely to have stroke or heart attack.

Source: Rachael Attard 

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Giving up sugar can first of all give you withdrawal symptoms that feel a lot like anxiety, but this will abate according to the PT (pictured)

Giving up sugar can first of all give you withdrawal symptoms that feel a lot like anxiety, but this will abate according to the PT (pictured)

Giving up sugar can first of all give you withdrawal symptoms that feel a lot like anxiety, but this will abate according to the PT (pictured)

What are the negative side effects?

1. Psychological withdrawal symptoms

Giving up sugar can first of all give you withdrawal symptoms that feel a lot like anxiety.

‘You might notice that you are more nervous, restless and on edge than normal,’ Rachael said.

You could also have less patience and more trouble concentrating.

But the good news is that this will subside after around seven days, and you will actually end up with more energy and improved mental clarity. 

2. Change in mood

While giving up sugar will eventually mean you have a better overall mood, that doesn’t mean you won’t feel grumpy at first.

‘Quitting sugar means your body doesn’t have its usual source of dopamine and serotonin, which can make you irritable and moody,’ Rachael said.

Again, this should adjust after a week.

Cravings are a common side effect for everyone who gives up sugar, but they only last 2-3 weeks, Rachael (pictured) said

Cravings are a common side effect for everyone who gives up sugar, but they only last 2-3 weeks, Rachael (pictured) said

Cravings are a common side effect for everyone who gives up sugar, but they only last 2-3 weeks, Rachael (pictured) said

3. Cravings

Cravings are a common side effect for everyone who gives up sugar, but they only last 2-3 weeks.

If you are craving something, instead eat foods that are high in protein, fat or fibre – these will help to keep them at bay.

4. Physical withdrawal symptoms 

Finally, you might notice a few physical withdrawal symptoms.

Like giving up smoking, cutting back on sugar can produce similar physical withdrawal symptoms too including headaches, nausea, weakness, bloating, muscle aches and stomach cramps.

Try and ride them out and they will abate.  

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