Added sugar is one of the most unrecognized issues in preventing weight loss across the globe. As people continuously attempt to lose weight, they remain unaware of how prevalent hidden sugars are in many foods of our modern diet. All too often when considering weight loss most only focus on maintaining restrictive diets and rigorous exercise plans. While diet and exercise do help facilitate weight loss, it is important not to overlook the vital role that added sugar plays on our journey to maintaining healthy bodies. Understanding how sugar affects weight gain helps understand why it is possible for someone to stick to a diet and exercise plan and still not see the desired results. Recognizing sugar to be a subtle culprit circulating throughout our food industry helps give clarity to why weight loss can often prove to be challenging for many. In this way, learning how to moderate and decrease daily sugar intake will aid in cultivating a successful weight loss journey for sustained success.
According to Jillian Kubala RD, on a whole many consume too much sugar on a daily basis. Found in even the most “health conscious” foods, sugar takes many hidden forms disguised behind big names and complicated chemical formulas. Although sometimes hidden beneath fancy language, sugar remains the same addictive substance no matter what form it takes. Often referred to as a drug in its own right, it is easy to become addicted to sugar without a clear knowledge of doing so. While sugar addictions are easily formed, understanding how sugar shows up in food and how it is used in the body can help regulate such addictions which in turn aid in sustaining weight loss.
Sugar as a Carbohydrate
When we consume food the body breaks what we eat down into what are called macronutrients. While there are three macronutrients that the body uses for energy, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, carbohydrates are needed in a larger amount. Sugar, in all of its various forms, is a carbohydrate and therefore utilizes a large part of energy storage in the body. When sugar is broken down in the body it increases our blood glucose levels which then alerts the body to take action to decrease our sugar level. As blood glucose levels decrease, any excess sugar in the body is stored for the body to use at a later time. With such an increase in the storage of excess glucose, weight gain occurs so it is in this way that increased sugar consumption can lead to an increase in weight gain. This subtle increase in weight gain, though directly related to the amount of sugar consumed can be mediated and reversed by becoming more mindful of how much sugar is being consumed daily.
How to Reduce Sugar in Your Diet
Although sugar is prevalent in our food, there are still ways in which we can manage our consumption of it. A simple act such as paying closer attention to what sugar is in food being served can help consumers make smarter food choices that can aid in maintaining weight loss. In this way the easiest and most convenient way to decrease daily sugar intake is to start paying closer attention to the quantities of sugar present in your food. An easy way to do this is by reading nutrition labels and following it up with making healthier substitutions such as substituting vegetables and olive oil for pasta and sauce. Such a simple substitution can allow those attempting weight loss to enjoy hearty meals minus unnecessary added sugar.
Although substituting sugary foods for foods lower in sugar can help make such an adjustment, sugar consumption can also be evaluated by paying attention to the type of sugar being consumed. The Food and Nutrition Research journal found that a diet high in refined sugar such as white grains was associated with weight gain, while a diet rich in whole grains was linked to weight loss. Similarly, incorporating carbohydrates that are also high in fiber can mediate any potential weight gain as fiber helps rid the body of unnecessary excess toxins. Smarter snack choice is also beneficial to any weight loss efforts as choosing healthier snacks with less sugar can help lower sugar intake. As reviewed by Kelly Kennedy RD, berries, a handful of nuts, and vegetables all make great low sugar snack substitutes that can contribute to long term success.
As researchers continue to understand the effects that sugar has on the body consumers continue to understand how limiting sugar intake can aid in increasing weight loss and decreasing the prevalence of conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Understanding the important role that sugar consumption has on weight gain allows for a greater understanding that while diet and exercise plans are great for weight loss, there are other things to consider when maintaining weight loss goals.