Often when we find our waistlines expanding, we are quick to blame the fat we are consuming in our diet and immediately begin to reduce that without looking at the other factors that might be causing weight gain. In reality, it is the sugar in our diets that is often responsible for sabotaging your weight and well-being.
We already know that sugar can lead to tooth decay, diabetes, and a sugar crash, but what most people don't know is the effect that sugar can have on our weight. In order to understand why sugar is so detrimental to our weight loss efforts, especially in the area of our stomachs and hips, we first need to understand what happens in our bodies when we consume sugar.
Sugar in The Body
Once we have consumed a food with sugar in it, our body converts it one of two ways, it either burns it for energy or converts it to fat and stores it. In moderate amounts, our bodies are capable of using fiber to convert the sugar into energy and not having any significant amounts of sugar left over to convert to fat.
However, when you consume sugar in excess, your pancreas detects it and releases a hormone called insulin to deal with the excess sugars. Insulin is responsible for helping regulate the level of sugars in our bloodstream, so the more sugar there is in the blood, the more insulin the pancreas releases. Insulin is responsible for lowering our blood sugars.
Insulin helps our bodies to store the sugar as glucose, or energy, in the liver and as glycogen in the fat cells. Glycogen is triglycerides, which are fatty deposits in the blood that are created by your liver to build and repair your body's tissues.
When your liver is hit with high doses of sugar and insulin, the liver responds by sending out more triglycerides. This increase in triglycerides is a signal to your body that it is time to store abdominal fat for use later on. What this means is that when we consume high amounts of sugar, especially fructose, our bodies store it as fat around our waistline.
The process of high amounts of insulin being produced on a regular basis to combat sugar leads to your cells becoming numb to insulin; this is what leads to type 2 diabetes. When your body becomes resistant to insulin, your metabolism goes haywire and no longer functions the way it should, which also results in weight gain.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes, on average, about 32 teaspoons of added sugars every day, that’s equivalent to 108 pounds of sugar each year, and doesn’t even include the carbohydrates that are converted into sugars, or the sugars that occur naturally in our foods.
Sugar is a huge part of the reason there is such an epidemic of obesity among Americans.
Ultimately, cutting out sugar is almost impossible. There are so many foods that contain added sugars and carbohydrates that convert into sugar after we consume them. There is also no hard and fast rule for the amount that you should consume in the run of a day although the standard recommendation is six teaspoons for women and nine teaspoons for men.
When choosing food, choose options that have the least amount of added sugar to them and eat whole fruits instead of fruit juices because the fiber in the whole fruit will help you break down the sugars in the fruit more effectively.
Eliminate table sugar altogether, and if you do use it, use raw sugar which is less processed and healthier, but remember moderation is key! Drink water instead of soda and stay away from processed foods wherever possible to help minimize the effect sugar is going to have on your waistline.