Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How is Sugar Making You Fat?

When the sugar free craze hit in the 80s, everyone started buying fat free everything! Fat free cookies, cakes, hot dogs, you name it, they bought it. Then they thought, if I eat this way, of course I'll lose fat and weight. I'm not eating fat so I'll lose fat. Well....WRONG! 

The problem with this mentality is that eating fat doesn't necessarily make you fat.  Our bodies need fat to function.  It helps with digestion and to keep our organs healthy, among other things.  We need healthy fats such as fats from Omega 3s from fish and from natural foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds and other natural foods.  The reason fat free foods don't help us lose weight is because the fat in those foods is replaced with added sugar.  And what happens to sugar when it's not burned and used for energy?  It turns into fat and is stored in our body's fat cells.  

So, the fat free craze ended up making people bigger instead of smaller because they thought they could eat as much of these fat free foods as they wanted because they didn't contain any fat.  The reality is, that the calorie count was still the same and the food was less nutritious than its full fat variety.  Eating the fat free foods also spiked diabetes in our country because of the increased sugar intake.  

So, what's the solution?  The same as it is for everything in life.  Eat sugar in moderation and get your sugar from natural sources such as fruits and vegetables.  Yup that's right! Vegetables have sugar and the sugar in them, along with fruits, is what your body needs. Not the sugar in candy, pastries, sodas and other packaged foods. 

So, how much sugar should we be eating per day? According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of sugar we should consume per day is 9 teaspoons or 37.5 grams for men and 6 teaspoons or 25 grams of sugar for women.  So, keep this number in mind and try to stay well below it. If you do consume sugar, make sure it's from a natural food source such as fruits and/or veggies!


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