Weight gain and obesity are closely linked to excess sugar consumption, and the reason is simple – fructose. We’ll be diving into what this stuff is and how it affects your overall health. It’s no secret that sugar has an alarming impact on weight management, but you might be wondering how it all works. We’ll be sharing 3 major ways the sweet stuff can sabotage your health goals.
Eating a diet high in added sugar is a scarily simple way to increase your risk for a number of diseases, from type 2 diabetes to heart disease, mental health disorders and autoimmune conditions. But one of the most common consequences of excess sugar is its impact on weight management – here are a few ways your addictive behaviours could have your waistline growing alongside your declining health.
High-sugar foods are not intended to satisfy hunger
Ever notice how after downing a chocolate bar, not only are you still not full, you’re actually craving more? Products with added sugars like confectionery, baked goods, snacks and some cereals are often lacking in other nutrients while leaning in the direction of excess when it comes to sugar. Some of the most important nutrients for satiation are protein and healthy fats, both of which are hard to find in our favourite junk foods – these nutrients also help maintain blood sugar levels. In the case of protein, it reduces hunger hormones, increases total energy intake and slows the digestive process, resulting in greater fullness. One hunger hormone known as ghrelin is particularly notorious for cravings and sending us on a food-hunt around the kitchen, but protein and healthy fats contribute to the reduction of this hormone. Without these anchors, our blood sugar levels soar and we end up coming back for more. Research shows refined carbohydrates and excess sugar leave us feeling hungry and throw our hormones out of whack, leading us to overeat and, over time, gain weight.
Many people lose a sense of control as their fullness hormones are off kilter, meaning they eat when they don’t need to – and they crave foods that don’t improve fullness. Think low-fibre, high-sugar. Another issue here is that, if you’re primarily eating these kinds of foods, you’re missing out on consuming more nutritious foods. If brekkie is sugary cereal and juice, you skip that chance to load up on protein and healthy fats for breakfast. Avocado, spinach and egg toast with yoghurt, for instance, is a far more satiating meal that helps you get a head-start on your veggie intake for the day.
Fructose leads to the development of visceral fat
Fructose is fairly hard to avoid – it’s one half of sucrose, which is what sugar is made of, meaning whenever see added sugars in the ingredients list, you’ll be getting a hit of fructose too. The problem arises as fructose can only be metabolised by the liver, so if you eat too much fructose – and it’s not hard to do if you eat any highly-processed foods – you could be overwhelming your liver and causing the development of visceral fat. This is the bad kind of fat which wraps around the organs and can lead to obesity and weight gain, not to mentioned diseases like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is projected to become the become the leading cause of cirrhosis in the next 10 years. We also know that fructose increases appetite as it can cause dysfunction in the hypothalamus in our brain – this is the part which plays a role in regulating appetite and metabolism. It also results in an increase in ghrelin – that hunger-increasing hormone we mentioned above.
Studies shows that these appetite signals are significantly altered by excess fructose consumption – so fructose not only leads to the development of visceral fat, but it also sends our hormones for fullness out of whack.
Sugar is addictive
One of the biggest reasons for weight gain from sugar is its addictive nature – it’s as simple as that. Many of us keep coming back for more in search of that dopamine hit that the sweet stuff triggers in our brains. We’re predisposed to enjoy sweet foods, with researchers finding that this stuff activates the reward system in the brain – and eating sugar was proven to increase cravings, not satisfy them, along with raising our cravings for palatable foods over nutrient-dense alternatives. We’re talking about chips, chocolates, fried foods and cakes loaded with as much sugar, preservatives and oil as the manufacturers can fit in there! A study found that those who drank 300 millilitres of sweet drinks had a stronger desire for junk food and fewer appetite-regulating hormones. The result? A recipe for sugar addiction and out-of-control eating that leads to weight gain, not to mention a host of diseases like fatty liver disease and heart disease.
Struggling to control your sugar habit? You’re not alone. Unlike ditching alcohol, there are few places where sugar is unwelcome. From birthday parties to the office pantry, Sunday markets and the supermarket. Is it any wonder that so many of us find it hard to quit the stuff? That’s why it can also help to join a program like ours – our 8-Week Program is based on accountability, support and providing the essential resources to set you up for success. We’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining.
We’ve also got nutritionists, personal trainers and naturopaths in our team of experts, and they understand what our bodies need and how to best arm ourselves against those cravings. So, if you’ve been having a little trouble keeping that sugar addiction at bay, we’re here to help. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!