Why ditching sugar could be your weight loss secret

If there was one thing you should truly cut back on when it comes to losing weight, sugar would be it. Yes, we know there are many glorious tasty things made with sugar, but there are good reasons why your gym trainer nags you when you eat them!

What happens if you eat too much sugar

While our bodies do burn sugar for energy, many healthy, natural foods such as wholegrain bread are actually broken down into sugars and converted into energy by your body. Whether you eat a spoonful of sugar or a piece of bread, you’ll still get energy but one of these is better for you than the other (sorry Mary Poppins!).

Processed sugar can play havoc with your energy levels and if you eat food containing it, you will almost always feel hungry straight away as your body will break it down easily and quickly (thus the term ‘sugar rush’!) leaving you with an energy slump afterwards. This energy level rollercoaster is something we want to try and avoid having on a regular basis.

Why sugar should cause weight loss warning bells

It needs warning bells because sometimes it’s well hidden! One big point to note is to look for the words ‘fat free’ on packaging as the product may still not be all that good for you. An item – for example marshmallows – may be fat free but contain a lot of sugar. If your body doesn’t burn off that sugar, it will turn into stored energy which is…fat.

Even products that claim to have ‘no added sugar’ may still have a lot of natural sugar, so if it’s something you’re concerned about you should check the carbohydrate content on the label but also think about whether you will get other benefits from it as well. For example, fruit has sugar in the form of fructose, but it still has valuable nutrients and fibre to help with digestion, and will still be a better option for you compared to a handful of lollies!

How much sugar is in…..?

There are approximately 4 grams of sugar in one teaspoon, so if you’re reading labels on the back of products, look at the specs for a serving amount and divide the sugar in grams by four to get a better idea of what you’re potentially going to ingest. Drinks are often one of the biggest hurdles for people trying to lose weight as they are easily downed and can contain a lot of sugar even though you can’t see it.

Let’s have a look at the sugar content of some popular drinks:

V Energy drink = 26.5g in a 250mL can = 6.6 tspns sugar

Coca Cola = 38g in a 355mL can = 9.5 tspns sugar

Fresh Up Original Apple Juice = 26.8g in a 250mL serving =6.7 tspns sugar

Primo Chocolate Flavoured Milk = 18.8g in a 200mL serving = 4.7 tspns sugar

Would you take that amount of sugar and eat it on it’s own?

Take it step by step

It may feel like a daunting step to try and lower the amount of sugar in your diet, but if you tackle it in small steps it will feel a lot more manageable. Try swapping your full sugar soft drinks for diet or sugarfree versions, take your coffee with one sugar instead of two, try eating whole natural fruit that contains fibre on some occasions rather than drinking  fruit juices or consider watering them down.

Remember – a treat every now and then will help keep you sane so don’t treat sugar as the root of all evil. However, losing weight and maintaining it is all about making better choices with the kinds of foods you’re putting into your body and moderation certainly helps.

Photo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Victor Habbick

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