• hfcs in soft drinks and sports drinks

Why You Should Cut Back On Sugar

I can’t help being passionate about issues that can have such a huge impact on our health and well-being. Without a doubt, added sugars make the list of ‘things we need to quit right now’.

I know, I know. We all love our sugar. But I’m talking about ‘added sugar’. You know, the stuff they add to fast foods, processed foods, prepared foods, energy drinks, soft drinks and just about anything you’re not making at home yourself.

And while you might think it would be hard to give up, most of us who’ve stopped eating added sugar found it wasn’t as hard as we had expected.

In fact, you will probably find that the hardest part is finding food at the supermarket that has no added sugar in it!

Why You Should Cut Back On Sugar

Sugar has been linked to a number of serious diseases. Here’s a short list of some of the main reasons why you might want to cut back on sugar:

  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Toxic effects on the liver
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Premature aging (1)

Fructose and Leptin Resistance

Much of the added sugar in processed foods and drinks comes in the form of fructose. The natural fructose that we get from fruits and vegetables is not a problem. But the fructose in manufactured foods has been linked to many problems, including a condition called leptin resistance. (2)

Leptin is a hormone that maintains your body’s energy stores in the form of body fat. It is produced by your fat cells and it signals the brain to tell you you’re full once you’ve consumed enough food to replenish and maintain your energy stores.

However, once you develop leptin resistance, leptin’s message does not get through to the brain as and when it should, and as a result, your appetite does not get shut off. That’s why you keep eating after you’ve just finished a large meal. Your stomach is full but your brain thinks you still need more food!

Appetite Run Wild

The lack of nutrients in sugar makes it easy to consume a huge amount of calories without receiving any of the signals we get from eating real food. Food typically contains fiber, protein and fat, all of which let you know you’ve had enough by making you feel full after you eat them.

Not so with sugar! That’s why you can eat a bag of licorice and still have room for a full dinner!

Sugar gives you the calories but not the feeling that you’ve had enough.

The Sugar From Hell (HFCS)

Natural sugar (sucrose) is equal parts glucose and fructose that are bound together and must be broken down before they can be absorbed. To make high fructose corn syrup, sugars are extracted from corn stalks through a chemical enzymatic process.

HFCS consists of glucose and fructose in an unbound form and it is different from natural sugar because:

  • No digestion is required because the sugars are unbound.
  • The glucose is rapidly absorbed and triggers huge spikes in insulin.
  • The flood of insulin leads to increased metabolic disturbances that cause increases in appetite and weight gain.
  • The fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol).

An Easy Way To Be Lean and Healthy

On average, people consume roughly 500 extra calories a day from sugar. (3) Assuming a typical daily intake of 2,500 calories, the average person could cut their calories by 20 percent just by giving up excess sugar!

Once you give up sugar for a few days, you won’t miss it. This makes giving up excess sugar one of the easiest ways to lose weight. In addition, your insulin and leptin resistance will get back to normal and you will be satisfied with smaller portions of food. It’s an easy way to be lean and healthy that pays off in lost pounds week after week.

(1) http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pgen.1000408
(2)  http://ajpregu.physiology.org/content/295/5/R1370
(3) http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v482/n7383/full/482027a.html#ref3


About the Author:

Robert Lalonde is the author of The ELH Diet - The Easy Way to be Lean & Healthy


  1. Avatar
    Haywood February 1, 2016 at 2:35 am - Reply

    I want to be updated on new posts on this website , bookmarked!

  2. Avatar
    Adrienne January 7, 2016 at 5:13 am - Reply

    Good info. It’s not just the extra calories.

  3. Avatar
    Ofelia December 26, 2015 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    I’ve practically eliminated sugar from my diet and I have to tell you I hardly miss it at all. In fact, I have a hard time eating anything that has added sugar in it now.

    • Robert
      Robert December 27, 2015 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      Glad to hear it Ofelia. I’ve had the exact same experience from cutting out sugar.

  4. Avatar
    Renato December 15, 2015 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    Thank you, quite great article.

  5. Avatar
    Trace November 25, 2015 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    Hi there, just wanted to tell you, I loved this blog post.

  6. Avatar
    Candy November 12, 2015 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    Almost as bad as smoking!

  7. Avatar
    essay writing help October 23, 2015 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate
    to this brilliant blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and
    adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates
    and will share this website with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  8. Avatar
    Sue September 25, 2015 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Agreed. If there’s one thing we all could do without it’s sugar.

  9. Avatar
    Danelle September 6, 2015 at 4:32 am - Reply

    Wonderful blog!

  10. Avatar
    Basil August 21, 2015 at 5:44 am - Reply

    Nice looking site. You make a compelling argument about giving up foods with added sugars.

  11. Avatar
    Alexix August 17, 2015 at 5:55 am - Reply

    Watch what goes in your pets food too.

  12. Avatar
    Juanita August 15, 2015 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    We should all avoid high fructose corn syrup. It’s man-made poison.

  13. Avatar
    Bret August 6, 2015 at 9:39 am - Reply

    If you were to suggest cutting one thing out to reduce my sugar intake, what would that be?

    • Robert
      Robert August 6, 2015 at 11:45 am - Reply

      Without a doubt, most people are getting too many empty calories from sweetened drinks Bret; whether it’s pop, sweetened fruit juice or a sports drink.

  14. Avatar
    Juana August 4, 2015 at 11:42 am - Reply

    Awesome article mate, keep up the good work, just shared this with my good friends

  15. Avatar
    Hilda August 3, 2015 at 3:07 am - Reply

    Why do you call high fructose corn syrup the sugar from hell?

    • Robert
      Robert August 3, 2015 at 1:08 pm - Reply

      Too much of any kind of sugar is bad Hilda, but high fructose corn syrup just happens to be the worse kind.

      It’s added to almost every drink and it’s put in many prepared foods. First, it’s made from GMO corn. Second, the fructose is unbound, which means it does not require any digestion; it goes straight to the liver and triggers fat production. For anyone who is trying to lose weight, it is the sugar from hell.

  16. Avatar
    Bridget July 20, 2015 at 1:42 am - Reply

    I’m having a hard time finding things to buy in the grocery store that don’t have sugar in them. I’ve given up on finding breakfast cereal without sugar.

    • Robert
      Robert July 20, 2015 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      It does take a while at first Bridget but don’t give up. Once you find the items that don’t have sugar in them it will be very easy to find them again.

      Post brand Shredded Wheat ™ is one of the few breakfast cereals that doesn’t have any sugar in it. It’s still processed wheat with a high glycemic load of 21 so I would try to limit the servings.

      Breakfast cereals are a convenience food that many people are used to eating every day. You are better off to have Quick Oats or oatmeal if you can find the time to make it.

      A big part of dieting is making new eating habits and eating routines. Remember, we act out of habit over 50% of the time, which means half of what we do is done without thinking or much effort.

      If you invest a bit of time in forming new eating habits up front, it will pay off in the long run in weight maintenance and better health.

      Start forming the habit of eating healthy, high nutrient density foods and you will benefit tremendously in the long run.

  17. Avatar
    John July 6, 2015 at 7:27 am - Reply

    I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep
    it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come
    back later. Many thanks

  18. Avatar
    Sophie June 28, 2015 at 2:30 am - Reply

    I find it very hard to cut back on sugar completely. How much sugar is it safe to eat in a day so you don’t gain weight from it?

    • Robert
      Robert June 28, 2015 at 2:08 pm - Reply

      Having the odd teaspoon of sugar a few times a day in a coffee or tea isn’t really a problem for anyone. The main problem with sugar is that it is very addictive and once you get used to sweet foods you have a hard time enjoying anything else.

      Conversely, once you get accustomed to eating food without added sugar, you won’t enjoy eating anything that has added sugar in it because it will be too sweet. You will instead enjoy the natural flavor that is in the food itself.

      That’s the problem with eating out or buying prepared foods. These foods are loaded with a lot of sugar and even one meal a day provides so many empty calories it leads to weight gain and addiction to junk food.

  19. Avatar
    Jimmy June 27, 2015 at 4:55 am - Reply

    I know we shouldn’t use a lot of sugar, but is natural brown sugar better for you than the regular white sugar for occasional use?

    • Robert
      Robert June 27, 2015 at 1:08 pm - Reply

      You’re right about not using lots of sugar Jimmy. Highly processed white sugar is obviously not as good for you as a natural brown sugar, both affect you in very similar ways.

      If you’re only using a bit of sugar occasionally, I would never use the processed white stuff and would choose the healthier natural product.

      I personally haven’t used sugar of any kind for some time now. I use stevia as a sweetener about 90 percent of the time. For cooking, I will sometimes add a bit of natural maple syrup when stevia won’t do. But I only do this on occasion.

  20. Avatar
    Sibyl June 22, 2015 at 4:38 am - Reply

    I’m having a hard time finding breakfast cereal that doesn’t have sugar. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Robert
      Robert June 22, 2015 at 1:35 pm - Reply

      You’re absolutely right Sibyl, nearly every breakfast cereal out there is full of sugar. It’s a big problem, especially for children’s cereal.

      Of the big brand cereals, Post Shredded Wheat is the only one I know of that is made without any sugar at all. It’s what I use almost exclusively.

      It’s pretty bland on it’s own, so I add some fresh fruit like blueberries, rasberries or bananas. In fact, I often add a bit of each.

  21. Avatar
    Art June 9, 2015 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    I’ve tried to cut back on sugar but some food and drinks just taste terrible without it. What is the best sugar substitute?

    • Robert
      Robert June 22, 2015 at 1:23 pm - Reply

      I use a pure stevia extract to sweeten drinks. For cooking I use pure maple syrup. Maple syrup is still sugar though, so you have to use only a small amount. You can always add a bit of stevia if needed, but the maple syrup will give you the natural sugar flavor your taste buds are craving.

  22. Avatar
    Donna May 24, 2015 at 2:36 am - Reply

    Interesting post. Like many people I eat too much sugar and I’m having a hard time cutting back. Do you have any tips?

    • Robert
      Robert May 24, 2015 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      Donna, a good place to start is by looking for foods that don’t have any ‘added sugar’. Whether you buy something in a package or a can, read the label and choose a product that has no added sugar in it.

      You’d be surprised how much sugar you’re getting in this way.

      My next suggestion is to substitute sugar with stevia. Buy a pure leaf extract with no additives in it. It takes only a tiny amount because it’s about 200 times sweeter than regular sugar.

      Let me know if you have other questions. I’m here to help.

  23. Avatar
    Lorenza May 22, 2015 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Great post! Keep up the good work.

  24. Avatar
    Judson May 22, 2015 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    Very nice website!! Lots of helpful information within the post. Thanks
    for sharing.

    • Robert
      Robert May 22, 2015 at 4:04 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the feeback Judson!

  25. Avatar
    Gretta May 22, 2015 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Heya i’m here for the first time. I came across this board and I find It really useful &
    it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you helped me.

    • Robert
      Robert May 22, 2015 at 4:03 pm - Reply

      Glad you found the post helpful Gretta!

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