Is sugar and weight gain correlated or is it blown out of proportion?
Almost everyone knows at least one person who has lost weight by cutting back on sugar. Indeed, the widespread belief that sugar leads to weight gain is so ingrained in popular culture, it was once the subject of a Saturday Night Live skit. In the sketch set in a grocery checkout lane, an overweight woman reveals her secret for losing weight: “I just stop eating things with sugar.”
So does eating all that sugar actually lead to weight gain?
For the most part, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) agrees that excess sugar consumption is a risk factor for obesity. In its recently released Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the agency warns about consuming too much-added sugar (defined as sweeteners that are not intrinsic to a food, such as those in soft drinks or cakes) while also calling out whole fruits and vegetables for special mention as healthful foods.
Did you know?
The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day! (1)
Nearly 40% of American dieters blame weight gain on eating too much sugar. (2)
Approximately 95% of the population is addicted to sugar and does not know it.
We’re consuming more calories than we need to maintain our weight which leads to weight gain eventually. The sad thing is most of it is made of unhealthy and empty calories.
What needs to be done? Simple: Cut down your intake of sugars, avoid any type of sweeteners or artificial sugars, drink plenty of water, and cut back on refined carbs.
Sugar and Weight Gain
Weight gain is a significant risk associated with a high sugar intake and it is common for sugary foods and beverages to be high in calories.
It is well established that excess sugar in the diet leads to weight gain.
In most cases, sugar-containing products help offset hunger for only a very short period of time, because the body digests them more quickly.
In turn, this can result in more frequent eating and a higher calorie intake overall.
There is a hormone called leptin. With leptin, the body determines how much energy it needs to regulate hunger. Obesity and weight gain can be caused by disruptions of the leptin system.
According to research conducted in 2011, a high fat and sugar diet can cause resistance to leptin. The body becomes resistant to leptin when it no longer responds to it correctly. (3)
Here are the 8 reasons why sugar leads to weight gain:
1) Causes Insulin Resistance
Insulin is a hormone, produced by your pancreas that helps the body use and store sugar from your meals. Insulin also transports some fat molecules into muscle cells for energy or to be burned as fat.
If you don’t use insulin efficiently, most of the sugar you eat goes to fat storage rather than being used for energy. This causes your blood sugar level to rise, which can lead to overeating and weight gain over time. And elevated blood sugar levels are strongly linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
When your blood sugar level rises — either because you ate too much sugar or too much starch (like white bread and pasta) — it triggers enzymes in your body to release a hormone called cortisol that tells fat cells to start releasing bonds between fatty acids and triglycerides.
This causes the fat cells to swell, causing them to release stored fatty acids. In turn, the released fatty acids rise into your bloodstream where they stimulate the production of powerful inflammatory chemicals called cytokines that increase blood pressure, contribute to cardiovascular disease, and can damage the lining of your arteries.
Sugar and weight gain have lots of scientific correlations, let’s continue.
3) High Triglycerides
Insulin promotes the storage of fat, especially in the liver. Fat is used for energy in all animals because it can be burned quickly, leaving plenty of instant energy. Insulin also causes fat cells to release stored fatty acids that raise blood triglycerides from the normal level of 150 to 300 mg/dL. High blood triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
4) High Blood Pressure
Insulin triggers the release of a hormone called vasopressin that tells your kidneys to retain sodium and water. This causes you to retain fluid and causes blood pressure to rise.
High blood pressure is closely related to excess fat in the body and has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, prediabetes, heart failure, coronary artery disease (CAD), too much cholesterol in your blood (high bad cholesterol), and even type 2 diabetes.
Check the article below to learn how to lower your cholesterol levels:
5) Increased Appetite for Fat
When insulin levels are high, psychological processes start to increase appetite for fat instead of carbohydrate. Insulin suppresses the production of leptin, a hormone that is produced by fat cells when body fat levels are low. Low leptin levels cause a reduction of satiety from food, so people tend to eat more quickly and have an increased appetite for fat.
6) Increased Appetite for Carbohydrates
Insulin also increases appetite for carbohydrates, especially sweets. Researchers have found that the addition of sugar or sweeteners to cereal or yogurt reduces blood glucose levels by the same amount as a meal containing carbohydrates and causes people to eat about 30% more calories than they would otherwise. (4) This is a strong link between sugar and weight gain.
This suggests that sugar has an addictive effect on people’s appetite for carbohydrates, which is why healthy foods like cereal and yogurt can cause overeating if they contain added sugar.
7) High Blood Glucose Levels
High-carbohydrate, high-sugar diets are linked with high-calorie intake and increased energy consumption. When there is no insulin response to the carbohydrates, blood glucose levels rise to a level much higher than the brain can handle. This results in an increase in adrenaline and cortisol hormone levels, which cause you to feel hungry again even when you are already full.
This means you are likely to increase your calorie intake by eating more of those foods that cause insulin release (sugars and starches) because your body is fooled into thinking that more is needed.
8) Causes Early Satiety from High Insulin Levels
High insulin levels cause early and exaggerated satiety, making people eat more carbohydrates than they need. High insulin levels also cause a decrease in the hormone ghrelin and a decrease in the hormone leptin.
This is thought to be why people tend to become conditioned to overeating carbohydrates, including sugars and starches, which are associated with weight gain, metabolic syndrome (including high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high blood sugar, low HDL cholesterol), CVD risk factors (stroke), type 2 diabetes, and heart failure.
There are many reasons why a diet that doesn’t cut sugar can lead to weight gain.
In short; it contains empty calories that don’t offer any nutritional value, increase body fat, and make your brain into craving more of it.
Sugar and weight gain are clearly linked. Please get your diet in order to improve your life quality drastically.
Check the articles below to learn more on how you can lose weight:
Thank you for reading.
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