Ways Sugar Makes You Fat
Every nutritionist, dentist and parent will tell you that sugar is bad for you. Its something we all know, and yet most Americans consume almost 57 pounds of sugar each year. It is surprisingly easy to do. Pre-packaged foods are often loaded with added sugar, even ones that the average person wouldnt think of as sweet.
Too much sugar in your diet can be harmful in a lot of ways, but today we are going to focus on the fact that regularly eating lots of sugar can and will make you fat. And in more ways than one.
It Triggers An Unnecessary Biochemical Drive
While we all have to eat, most people also really love to eat. Just take a look at how many cooking shows and high-end restaurants are out there and youll see that people really enjoy eating.
While theres nothing wrong with liking what youre eating, recent studies have shown that certain foods trigger the same reward circuit in the brain as activities like gambling or cocaine. This pleasure-eating trigger completely bypasses the brains normal biological triggers for being hungry, which can cause people to crave certain foods even if they are full or have plenty of calories in their system.
It wont come as a surprise to anyone with a sweet tooth that sugar is one of the biggest triggers for this biochemical response. Its why people will still order a dessert if they are full or snack on a candy bar even if they just ate.
Sugar And Fats Together
Sugar is quickly metabolized, while fat is slowly metabolized. But if you eat a sugary snack that also contains fat, or if you eat a sugary food alongside a food with fat, the rate at which your body metabolizes the sugar will be somewhat delayed. This is useful in controlling blood sugar — say, for diabetics — and tempering the effects of simple carbs on blood sugar levels.
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And Which Fats Are Good
Most people find a fat-free diet too hard to follow. The good news is that you dont have to forgo all fats to stay healthy. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats actually are good for your heart.
According to the AHA, replacing saturated fats in your diet with poly- and monounsaturated fats can lower the rate of cardiovascular disease. In other words, making the switch can have the same effect as taking statins.
Its good to incorporate these good fats into your diet, keeping in mind that all fats have 9 calories per gram, says Patton.
Good sources of monounsaturated fats include olive oil, canola oil, avocados and nuts.
Omega-3 and omega-6 are types of polyunsaturated fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that the body cannot make. They reduce risk of blood clots and lower inflammation. Sources of omega-3 fat include fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, and walnuts and flaxseeds.
Omega-6 fats build healthy cells and nerve fibers. Sources include soybean, corn, sunflower and safflower oils.
Make Sure You Keep Track
Most manufactured products as well as restaurant and frozen foods contain sugar or fat for taste. This means many low-sugar products can have a high fat content, and low-fat products may have added sugar. How can you find out whats in your food?
I suggest reading nutrition facts labels, especially the ingredient list, and using an app to help you see where your calories are coming from, says Patton.
This article originally appeared in Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor.
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How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body
Chances are you already know that eating too much sugar isnât good for you. Yet youâre probably still overdoing it. Americans average about 270 calories of sugar each day, thatâs about 17 teaspoons a day, compared to the recommended limits of about 12 teaspoon per day or 200 calories.
Sugary drinks, candy, baked goods, and sweetened dairy are the main sources of added sugar. But even savory foods, like breads, tomato sauce, and protein bars, can have sugar, making it all too easy to end up with a surplus of the sweet stuff. To complicate it further, added sugars can be hard to spot on nutrition labels since they can be listed under a number of names, such as corn syrup, agave nectar, palm sugar, cane juice, or sucrose.
No matter what itâs called, sugar is sugar, and in excess, it can negatively affect your body in many ways. Hereâs a closer look at how sugar can mess with your health, from head to toe.
Sugar Raises Your Cholesterol And Gives You Heart Disease
For many decades, people have blamed saturated fat for heart disease which is the #1 killer in the world.
However new studies are showing that saturated fat is harmless .
The evidence is mounting that sugar, NOT fat, may be one of the leading drivers of heart disease via the harmful effects of fructose on metabolism .
Studies show that large amounts of fructose can raise triglycerides, small, dense LDL and oxidized LDL , raise blood glucose and insulin levels and increase abdominal obesity in as little as 10 weeks .
These are all major risk factors for heart disease.
Not surprisingly, many observational studies find a strong statistical association between sugar consumption and the risk of heart disease .
For sugar-free treats please check out Desserts section at Nutriplanet Health Hub.
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Control Of Hepatic Lipogenesis
Schema of XBP1 in hepatic lipogenesis.
ChREBP was originally identified as the transcription factor that binds to the carbohydrate response element motif in the L-type pyruvate kinase gene promoter.49 Glucose synergizes with insulin, which signals through SREBP-1c to induce glycolytic and lipogenic genes, and ChoRE is the promoter element that mediates the glucose signal.50, 51 ChREBP is a large ~100 kd bZIP transcription factor.49In vitro inhibition by siRNA or genetic deletion of ChREBP abolished glucose induction and suppressed the expression in the liver of the Lpk, acetyl CoA carboxylase , and fatty acid synthase genes, suggesting that ChREBP indeed plays an important role in hepatic lipid metabolism.52â54 Uyeda and colleagues demonstrated that ChREBP is primarily regulated by both a kinase and a phosphatase at the level of nuclear translocation. Hence, the nuclear translocation of ChREBP is inhibited by protein kinase A -mediated phosphorylation, while promoted by the protein phosphatase 2A phosphatase, which is activated by glucose.31, 55 XBP1s is induced by glucose, and our data suggest that this occurs post-transcriptionally hence there appear to be similarities between the signals that regulate XBP1s and ChREBP, a topic we are currently exploring.
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Looking At The Real Life Evidence
People who get their calorie intake primarily from fruit are called fruitarians. Ive met quite a few long term fruitarians and none of them are fat! Theyre all slim, fit and healthy, even though their sugar intake is extremely high.
On the other hand, Ive also met a lot of people who avoid sugar and many of them seem to be fit and healthy too!
Thats where it gets really confusing. These two approaches are completely opposite, yet somehow both of them seem to be working to keep people slim and fit. Perhaps science has the answer?
Sugar Doesnt Make You Fat Separating Food Fact From Fiction
Sugar, somewhat unfairly, has a bit of a bad rep. But its not too surprising why. With little redeeming nutritional value its the perfect dietary villain. But just because a food group isnt abundant in micronutrients & minerals does not necessarily make it bad. Sugar actually makes up the backbone of our DNA it powers our cells, stores energy for later and feeds our good bacteria. We cant blame one chemical or food for all the health problems we have, and yet thats exactly what weve done.
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What About Low Fat Products
Low fat products are a popular option amongst consumers as they tend to have less calories, but its not always the case.
Some low fat foods, such as yoghurts, contain significantly more sugar so being low fat doesnt necessarily make it healthier.
For example, if you tend to eat quite a lot of dairy produce then it may be better to go for low fat dairy options.
Added Sugar Contains No Essential Nutrients And Is Bad For Your Teeth
Youve probably heard this a million times before but its worth repeating.
Added sugars contain a whole bunch of calories with NO essential nutrients.
For this reason, they are called empty calories.
There are no proteins, essential fats, vitamins or minerals in sugar just pure energy.
When people eat up to 10-20% of calories as sugar , this can become a major problem and contribute to nutrient deficiencies.
Sugar is also very bad for the teeth, because it provides easily digestible energy for the bad bacteria in the mouth .
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The Insulin Resistance Can Progress To Type Ii Diabetes
When our cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, the beta cells in our pancreas make more of it.
This is crucial, because chronically elevated blood sugars can cause severe harm.
Eventually, as insulin resistance becomes progressively worse, the pancreas cant keep up with the demand of producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels down.
At this point, blood sugar levels skyrocket and a diagnosis of type II diabetes is made.
Given that sugar can cause insulin resistance, it is not surprising to see that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages have up to an 83% higher risk of Type II diabetes .
Do Carbs Get Turned Into Fat
When high amounts of unhealthy carbohydrates are consumed, they’re converted to triglycerides, a form of fat, and are stored in fat tissue, states the National Council on Strength & Fitness. The glucose-to-triglycerides pathway results in fat accumulation, which has fueled the low-carb craze…. see details
It would take 875 grams of sugar to equal 1 pound…. see more
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Which Fats Are Bad
Saturated fats and trans fats are bad for you, period. Both prompt the creation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the type that causes coronary artery disease . Trans fats increase LDL cholesterol levels, decrease good high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and cause inflammation, which accelerates the development of coronary artery disease .
Saturated fats are found primarily in animal products They are also found in certain oils derived from plants, including coconut oil and palm oil.
If you need to lower your cholesterol, the AHA recommends you consume no more than 5 to 6% of your calories as saturated fats. Otherwise, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting saturated fat to no more than 10% of total calories.
On the other hand, no amount of trans fat is safe to eat. Trans fats are not found in nature. They are a byproduct of the process that turns healthy oils into solid fats, such as margarine, and prevent bakery goods from going rancid.
Fat And Blood Glucose Levels
Unlike sugar, fat has little immediate effect on blood glucose levels and this a key reason why low carb, higher fat diets tend to produce better blood glucose control.
However, its important to note that taking in excessive fat, if it leads to an excessive calorie intake, will result in increased insulin resistance and therefore higher blood glucose levels.
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The Best And Worst Type 2 Diabetes Choices By Food Group
As you pick the best foods for type 2 diabetes, heres a helpful guideline from the NIDDK to keep in mind: Fill one-half your plate with nonstarchy vegetables. One-fourth of your plate should feature your protein , and the final fourth should include a grain or other starch, such as starchy vegetables, a piece of fruit, or a small glass of milk.
Because processed and sugary foods are unhealthy carbs, limit them in your diabetes diet, says Massey. That includes soda, candy, and other packaged or processed snacks, such as corn chips, potato chips, and the like. And while artificial sweeteners like those found in diet sodas wont necessarily spike your blood sugar in the same way as white sugar, they could still have an effect on your blood sugar and even alter your bodys insulin response.
A previous study found that when 17 obese, non-insulin-resistant people ingested a beverage treated with the artificial sweetener sucralose before taking a standardized dose of glucose, their blood sugar and insulin levels rose more than when they drank plain water. On the other hand, a meta-analysis published May 2018 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that artificial sweeteners didnt increase blood sugar levels. More research is needed to determine how artificial sweeteners affect people with diabetes.
For now, heres what you need to know about choosing the most diabetes-friendly foods from each food group.
The Sources Of Fructose
So what are the top sources of fructose in the diet? Beverages is the top source of sugar and should obviously be reduced. But the issue is whole fruit. It makes up a sizeable 18% of dietary intake. Should we reduce it? I confess that I do not have a good answer here. Biochemically, there is no difference between fructose in fruit and fructose in sugar.
However, there are an number of mitigating factors in whole fruit, including fibre. Is it enough? There is no good answer. Epidemiologic evidence does NOT link whole fruit consumption to obesity or diabetes, but that is not quite enough for me to give it a free pass.
Without adequate data, the best answer I can give is this. If whole fruit is the worst that you do in your diet, thats OK. However, if you need to reduce weight, then consider reducing fruit. Yeah, I know, not a very good answer.
In response to Gary Taubes book, there have been some who have responded that dietary consumption of sugar peaked and yet obesity continues to go up. This is considered proof by some that sugar does not play a large role in the cause of obesity.
At first glance, this may appear to be true, and is certainly persuasive. However, a closer look reveals a different answer.
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Foods High In Added Sugar Tend To Be Less Filling
Foods and beverages that are packed with added sugar, such as cakes, cookies, ice cream, candy, and soda, tend to be low in or completely lacking in protein, a nutrient essential for blood sugar control that promotes feelings of fullness.
In fact, protein is the most filling macronutrient. It does this by slowing digestion, keeping blood sugar levels stable, and regulating hunger hormones .
For example, protein helps reduce levels of ghrelin, a hormone that drives appetite and increases calorie intake .
Conversely, eating protein stimulates the production of peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide 1 , hormones associated with feelings of fullness that help reduce food intake .
Eating foods rich in carbs particularly refined carbs high in added sugars yet low in protein can negatively impact fullness and may lead to weight gain by causing you to eat more at subsequent meals throughout the day .
High-sugar foods also tend to be low in fiber, a nutrient that can increase feelings of fullness and reduce appetite though not as much as protein .
Summary High-sugar foods and beverages are generally low in protein and fiber, nutrients that are essential for keeping you feeling full and satisfied.
How Sugar Converts To Fat
What happens to all that sugar when you drink a 64-ounce soda? Liver specialist Dr. Juan Gallegos tracks the consumption, absorption, and storage of sugar in our bodies. He talks about how our modern eating habits have become accustomed to the relative ease of food availability as our evolutionary metabolism struggles to cope.
Announcer: Medical news and research from University of Utah physicians and specialists you can use for a happier and healthier life. You’re listening to The Scope.
Interviewer: Dr. Juan Gallegos, he’s a liver expert at the University of Utah Hospital. I’m hoping you can help clarify something that I’ve heard, I don’t know if this is true of not, but I’ve heard that if you eat an excess of sugar that your liver can’t process it properly and it just turns it immediately into fat. So if I’m eating a tub of ice cream every night, I’m going to get a lot fatter because of that, is that true?
Interviewer: So what exactly is happening? I eat a whole bunch of sugar, it goes into my body, goes into my stomach, gets ingested by my system and then what?
Dr. Juan Gallegos: The way it’s stored is basically in the fat cells or adipocytes, but also sometimes it’s stored in other places where it shouldn’t be.
Interviewer: What about the part of the thing that I heard, that the liver can’t process it all, what does that mean exactly?
Interviewer: Or specific elements like even sugar.
Dr. Juan Gallegos: Correct.
Dr. Juan Gallegos: That is true.
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