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.