Is sugar making you fat?
If there’s one question I’m asked most about my weight loss, it’s what’s the one thing I’d recommend other people change in their diet to start losing weight. My answer is always the same. Stop eating so much sugar.
Since the introduction of high fructose corn syrup and other sugar additives in processed foods in the 1970’s, sugar consumption has risen along with obesity. Americans are 25 pounds heavier today than they were 25 years ago.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men daily yet according to a Harvard School of Public Health study, 70% of Americans are eating 22 teaspoons of sugar a day or more and this doesn’t include the sugar consumed from fruits and vegetables.
What happens when you eat sugar? Your body stores it as fat if you’re not active enough to burn it and if you’re overweight, you will continue storing sugar as fat until your body’s energy requirements exceed what you’re eating. So yes, sugar is making you fat.
Isn’t fat the enemy?
In 1982, the USDA, AMA and AHA recommended people reduce fat intake to lower heart disease. But instead of eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, Americans began eating more simple carbohydrates and processed foods. What’s in low fat processed foods? Sugar.
The fat is simply replaced with added sugar. What are carbohydrates? Sugar. And what happens to sugar in the body when you’re overweight? It gets stored as fat (assuming you’re not eating less than your daily expenditure).
Sugar is everywhere
Americans are grossly overeating sugar and don’t even realize it. You may think you’re eating well, but the truth is sugar is added to nearly every packaged or canned food. It’s disguised in the form of 61 names.
Broth, crackers, cereal, peanut butter, jelly, ketchup, dressing, yogurt, canned vegetable, canned fruit, soda, fruit juice, breads, pasta, frozen meals, ice creams and baby formula all can have sugar added to them.
Sugar is also in meats as animals can be injected with sugar prior to slaughter to make the meat taste better. Sugar is in medications which is ironic because sugar causes inflammation. What happens when you have inflammation? You can get sick. What do you do when you get a cold? You take cold medicine. What’s in cold medicine? Sugar. The same thing that’s making you fat is contributing to your weakened immune system making you susceptible to getting a cold. A vicious cycle.
Eating less sugar equals fat loss
Everyone needs sugar to survive. In fact the brain lives on glucose, but when you’re overweight you have stored fat you can survive on less because your body will convert stored fat into glucose for energy aka ketosis. This is what I did to jump start my own weight loss.
The doctor on the show My 600 Pound Life prescribes this for his weight loss patients. He doesn’t allow them to eat fruit either because the body will store sugar from fruit as fat. Not something the average individual needs to do, but the point is sugar is sugar regardless of the source.
My sugar expirement
For two years, I struggled with hormone imbalances that led to weight gain in my mid-section and no matter how good I ate or how much I worked out, it would not go away. This was a sign of insulin resistance and it wasn’t until recently that I realized if I changed my diet I could reverse this. To test my theory, I put myself on a low sugar diet within the range the AHA recommends of 6 teaspoons a day for women. 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams.
It’s been nine weeks since I started my sugar experiment. Not only did I lose weight in my midsection, but my joint pain has dramatically reduced, my plantar fasciitis is gone and I’m not constantly bloated anymore. Overall, I feel so much better. Actually, I haven’t felt this good since my weight loss which coincidentally was the last time I was on a low sugar diet.
Last year I saw dozens of doctors and not a single one recommended I change my diet to improve my hormone and joint problems. Sugar is known to cause an inflammatory response. This should have been the first thing recommended. Medicine does a good job of fixing problems, but it sure falls short of preventing them.
So is sugar making you fat?
It is known from many scientific studies that too much sugar consumption causes leptin and insulin resistance meaning you will crave more and more sugar and consume overall more calories.
How much and to what extent that sugar is to blame depends on your body, type of exercise you do, your lifestyle and stress.
More importantly, sugar could be contributing to your other health problems – causing inflammation, hormone imbalances, pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome and more. My advice is to be aware of how much you’re eating and do your own experiment!