How To Eat Sugar To Lose Weight
Nope, you dont have to ditch the sweet stuff altogether to reach your weight-loss goals.
Okay, so mowing down a brownie after every meal isnt going to do anything great for your weight-loss efforts but we’re pretty sure you know that. What you might not be aware of is that you don’t have to completely eliminate sugar from your diet to slim down.
After all, healthy foods like fruits and vegetables contain sugar, and they’re still good for you. And eating a reasonably sized slice of that ridiculously good red velvet cake can help satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you from bingeing later on.
As it turns out, how the sweet stuff affects your weight has a lot to do with what sugar-laden foods you eat, when you eat them, and what you pair them with, says dietician Georgie Fear, R.D., author of Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss. So instead of forcing yourself through sugar withdrawals, adopt these sane, totally doable strategies to eat the sweet stuff and actually lose weight at the same time.
RELATED: 8 Easy Ways to Cut Back on Added Sugar
2. Eat Sugar Alongside Fiber, Protein, and Healthy FatsI always tell clients to balance their carb and sugar intake with protein, fiber, and healthy fats, says Fear. All three of these nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, which decreases the spike and crash in your blood sugar and your energy levels, she says. That means you won’t feel weak, shaky, or hangry 30 minutes after you eat.
Youll Feel Lighter Brighter And Happier
Sure, eating your favorite cake or ice cream may make you feel better in the short term, but over the long haul, your mental health can take a beating. Did you know that eating too much sugar is linked to depression? The underlying chronic inflammation that happens when we eat a high-sugar diet negatively impacts our brain function one of the reasons we get blue with too many sweets.
A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who ate sugary foods with a high glycemic index increased their risk for depression. Another study published in 2017 in the journal Scientific Reports found that men who consumed more than 67 grams of sugar every day increased their risk for depression when compared to men who ate less than 40 grams each day. Just consider a small child after eating their Halloween or Easter stash. They often turn from little angels to pesky devils! If you want to eat to beat the blues, youll want to stop eating sugar especially if youre prone to depressive states.
Lesson #: Eliminating Sugar From Your Diet Is Not A Weight Loss Miracle
While the number on the scale didn’t change after 10 days, the decrease in carbs did make my stomach appear less bloated and my muscles more defined. My roommates even commented that I looked like I lost weight. But to reiterate, cutting sugar for weight loss isn’t the end all be all and my own results were likely the results of fewer carbs and calories than my lack of sugar.
“Many foods that contain sugar can cause bloating, including carbonated beverages, chewing gum, and candy-they all increase the amount of air we consume,” explains Spano. My flatter stomach was probably a circumstance of the dietary changes, but not a direct result of a sugar-free diet. Either way, I’ll celebrate small victories.
Still wondering how much weight you can actually lose by cutting out sugar? Eh, remember cutting back on sugar for weight loss isn’t a realistic permanent lifestyle change, but this challenge did reaffirm my goal to eat clean, nutrient-dense foods all year long-with the occasional splurge. Instead of trying to eliminate sugar from your diet entirely, Spano suggests cutting down on your sugar intake on a permanent basis by “consuming fewer sauces with added sugar, looking for cereals that are low in sugar and high in fiber, and cutting down your consumption of candy, cookies, and other sweets.” Easy enough! Now if you’ll excuse me, a glass of wine is calling my name.
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Sugar Increases Calorie Intake
One of the things we know for certain about weight gain is that calorie surpluses are the key dictators of weight gain.
Average calorie intake increased in the United States between 1971-2006 by roughly 300 calories per day, which mostly comes from added sugars and added fats.
This suggests that sugar may indeed play a role in weight gain as it increases total calorie intake.
Due to this increase of sugar to make foods more pleasant, people are going to a) consume a food that now has a higher calorie content, and b) may be more likely to consume more of that food since it tastes a little better.
This inherent increase of calories can often lead to fat gain if not consumed in moderation.
When people consume food containing added sugar, they tend to consume more calories. However, when people consume sugar just by itself, they do not consume large amounts of it.
A study completed by Richter and Campbell of Johns Hopkins University and published in the Journal of Nutrition in 1940 found that when given access to pure raw sugar separate from their food, rodents consumed the same amount of calories as they did when there was no sugar present. They found that it is the combination of sugar mixed in with the food that makes them consume more calories.
Ok, so we know that adding sugar to food can increase our calorie consumption which can lead to weight gain. What about the direct fattening effects of sugar?
The Difference Between Dded Sugars Vs Natural Sugars:
Keep in mind that the limits mentioned above do not include the naturally occurring sugars found in fruit, vegetables, and dairy products which groups like the World Health Organization say are less of a health issue. But figuring out the difference between added and natural sugars can be tricky. Luckily, newly designed nutrition labels will be a huge help. By the end of this year, added sugars and total sugar will be listed on all labels, making it much easier to spot foods packed with the sweet stuff. Until then, check ingredients lists for sugar and its 61 aliases, including these:
“Ultimately, you can 100% eat dessert every day if you cut out the sneaky sources of added sugar in your diet,” says Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. “Check labels religiously, but sauces, condiments, dairy products, breads, crackers and beverages are some places you might not expect to find sugar.”
Read Also: Hyperglycemia Foods To Avoid
Are Artificial Sweeteners Better
Artificial sweeteners, which are sugar-free and typically lower in calories than sugar, might seem like healthier options, but that idea is controversial. A 2012 scientific statement from the AHA concluded that using artificial sweeteners such as aspartame , saccharin , and sucralose can reduce the number of calories in your diet, thereby helping you lose weight.
However, there’s also evidence that eating these sweeteners, which are generally hundredsor even thousandsof times sweeter than sugar, can make you crave sweets even more. You undermine the benefit of using artificial sweeteners, for example, if you use a glass of diet soda to justify having a bowl of ice cream.
However, if artificial sweeteners can help you cut back on calories in a meaningful way, then they can be helpful in controlling weight and blood sugar. “For people who are trying to make small changes to their diet, artificial sweeteners are sometimes a good stepping stone, but they’re not a permanent fix,” Dr. Hauser says.
You may wonder which artificial sweetener is best. All of the sweeteners on the market are considered safe. There were reports during the 1970s linking saccharin to bladder cancer in rats that were fed extremely high doses of the sweetener. However, later studies didn’t find any evidence of the same effect in humans. Aspartame was also linked to cancer at one time, but that association has also been disproved.
Should You Avoid Sugars In Fruit And Milk For Weight Loss
Recently, my 13-year old sons friend spent the weekend with us. We have known this boy since he and my son were in 2nd grade together.
His family isn’t shy about sharing their dieting journeys. Their latest weight loss endeavor is pretty drastic. It involves avoiding all sugar including the sugar found in milk and fruit.
I find this worrisome especially for their teenage son. But, this concept of avoiding sugar and all its sources, including healthy ones like milk and fruit, is trending amongst todays dieters. But should it?
Added sugars VS natural sugars
Americans, on average, eat way too much sugar about 17 extra teaspoons beyond the recommended limit. Most of that sugar comes from processed food sources including cookies, candy, sodas, sweetened ready-to-eat cereals, ice cream, and also condiments, bread and sweetened yogurts. But these foods are made sweet due to added sugars.
There are some foods that are sweet because they have natural sugars, like fruit and milk. These naturally sweet foods also have beneficial things like vitamins, minerals and fiber that the body loves and is necessary for good health.
The fiber in these foods also helps slow down their digestibility which helps slow the release of sugars into the bloodstream. They don’t create the spike in insulin levels that happens when we eat foods with lots of added sugars that flood into the bloodstream quickly.
Is sugar all sugar bad?
It quickly adds up!
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Are There Other Names For Sugar
How many names for sugar can you think of?
Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrupand thats about it right?
There are 56 names for sugar!
So when you are reading your food labels you have to be on the lookout for 56 possible names of sugar.
Kind of sneaky right?
Some of these you have likely heard before. Some you may have never heard of before.
But food companies are putting some of these in your food, so its wise to be on the lookout for them on your food labels.
Even though many of these are natural sugars, the effect they have on your body when you eat them is the same.
You want to do everything possible to limit these forms of sugar.
Galactose Crystalline fructose
Some of these you will not see in most of your food. But you will have to read your food labels with a watchful eye to find the rest.
And food companies will try to trick you by using words like organic or all natural or real sugar.
Dont let them fool you!
Sugar is sugar, and if you can avoid any type of added sugar in your food, you will be better off.
Is Eliminating Sugar From Our Diet Healthy
The array of studies reporting the negative implications of added sugar led to WHO making a proposal to revise their added sugar recommendations in 2014. The organization issued a draft guideline stating they would like to halve their recommended daily free sugar intake from 10% to 5%.
The objective of this guideline is to provide recommendations on the consumption of free sugars to reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases in adults and children, WHO explained, with a particular focus on the prevention and control of weight gain and dental caries.
In addition, it seems many health experts, nutritionists and even celebrities like Gwyneth have jumped on a no sugar bandwagon. But is it even possible to completely eliminate sugar from a diet? And is it safe?
Biochemist Leah Fitzsimmons, of the University of Birmingham in the UK, told The Daily Mail:
Cutting all sugar from your diet would be very difficult to achieve. Fruits, vegetables, dairy products and dairy replacements, eggs, alcohol and nuts all contain sugar, which would leave you with little other than meat and fats to eat definitely not very healthy.
Many people turn to artificial sweeteners as a sugar alternative, but according to a study reported by MNT in 2014, these sweeteners may still drive diabetes and obesity.
Added sugars contribute additional calories and zero nutrients to food, they add. But even the AHA do not recommend cutting out sugar completely.
Read Also: How Much Sugar Is In Vanilla Ice Cream
Adjust Your Exercise Routine
One way to boost your weight loss success is to adjust your exercise routine. Many adults hit the gym, perform endless amount of cardio exercise day after day, only to see minimal results. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, your cardio intensity may not be high enough. Consider high-intensity interval training for better results. Second, add a resistance training programlifting weights, for examplewhich will help build muscle. Muscle burns more energy than fat, so this will help with weight loss. Changing your workouts to include high intensity interval training as well as resistance training is a great way to boost your metabolism and add lean muscle mass.
Reducing Sugar In Drinks
- Instead of sugary fizzy drinks or sugary squash, go for water, lower-fat milk, or sugar-free, diet or no-added-sugar drinks. While the amount of sugar in whole and lower-fat milk is the same, choosing lower-fat milk reduces your saturated fat intake.
- Even unsweetened fruit juices and smoothies are sugary, so limit the amount you have to no more than 150ml a day.
- If you prefer fizzy drinks, try diluting no-added-sugar squash with sparkling water.
- If you take sugar in hot drinks or add sugar to your breakfast cereal, gradually reduce the amount until you can cut it out altogether. Alternatively, switch to a sweetener.
The NHS Change4Life website has more tips to help you cut back on sugary drinks.
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Quitting Sugar Means More Natural Unprocessed Foods
What do you replace sugary foods with? Usually it’s more fruit, nuts, salads, water or you just eat more chicken, fish meat and vegetables at your meals.
Here are 9 simple swaps to limit your intake of sugar junk foods.
Related article: The Simple Math Behind Weight Loss
You don’t have to quit sugar entirely to improve your health and your weight . Moderation, as always, is the key to eating healthily, sensibly and in a way that is easy to maintain. However, if you seriously want to lose weight, eating less sugary junk food is a good thing to do.
Tip: write out your day’s intake of food. Circle the sweet foods and drinks you like to consume regularly or in large amounts. The most likely culprits are soft drinks, juices, chocolate, muffins and candy. Or circle the sweet foods you reach for when you need a comfort fix. Cut these out of your diet today.
Okay: How Much Sugar Can You Eat Every Day
According to the American Heart Association, American adults consume an average of 77 grams of sugar per day, which adds up to a shocking 60 pounds annually. Its obvious that this is too much, but the thing istheres actually no official recommended daily sugar intake.
There are, however, recommended limits on how much added sugar you should eat in a day, but even those vary. The FDA suggests that no more than 10 percent of your day’s calories should come from added sugar. So, if you’re eating a 2000-calorie diet that works out to about 50 grams of sugar daily, or 364 grams of sugar in one week.
Other organizations are even more conservative with their added sugar recommendations. Both the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization both suggest about 25 grams per day of added sugar for women, or 175 grams of sugar per week.
Also Check: Are Bananas Bad For Blood Sugar
Helpful Weight Loss Tips
If you have ever been on a diet plan only to see it work briefly and then go south from there, then you should consider a lifestyle change to make your plan more effective. Consider the tips below as some of the most effective ways to boost your weight loss journey so that your previous frustrations turn into successes.
Will Eating Less Sugar Help Me Lose Weight
Healthy eating is one of the best things you can do to prevent and control health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
But, the most important part of healthy eating is cutting back on sugar. Overall, the evidence that high sugar drinks promote weight gain is consistent and moderately strong. Sugar has been labelled as “deadly,” “addictive, and “toxic” and it is blamed for the rise in global obesity. Excessive unhealthy food and sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption has been linked to weight gain, as it provides a major and unnecessary source of calories with little or no nutritional value.
So, the key is to get rid of the white sweetness in your diet and you’ll free up your body to drop excess pounds.
One study, which focused on the prevalence of weight gain in children who consume sugar-sweetened soft drinks, has shown that a high consumption of high sugar soft drinks predicts increased weight gain.
Another study, published on BMJ.com, proves that sugar intake can have a significant effect on weight over time. The study found that people who ate less sugar lost an average of nearly 2 pounds over a period of 10 weeks while people who increased their sugar intake gained nearly 2 pounds in the same amount of time. These seem like small changes but over time this weight gain can really add up. Over the course of only two years, thats a 20 pound increase in weight.
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