Does sugar make you fat?

The short answer is no. Let’s explore what sugars are, why they’ve gotten a bad rap, and what their role is in weight loss/gain.

What are sugars?

Sugars are not just the white crystalized stuff you put in your coffee or use in cakes. Sugars refer to a group of molecules that share a similar structure. This group consists of:
  • Glucose
  • Fructose
  • Sucrose
  • Galactose
  • Lactose
  • Maltose

And pretty much anything else that ends in ‘ose’

Sugars are carbohydrates. They are simple carbohydrates meaning that they breakdown quicker compared to complex carbs like starches and fiber (potatoes, rice, whole grains).
Sugars are naturally occurring in most foods.
While sugars are a type of carbohydrate, and most carbs are broken down into sugars, not all carbohydrates are sugar, and not all carbohydrates get broken down into sugar.

But does sugar cause weight gain?

While it may seem logical that sugar equates to weight gain, science says otherwise. In studies done comparing weight loss between high sugar and low sugar diets, weight loss was equal, as long as calories remain the same.

So why did I lose weight when I cut back on sugar?

The most likely answer is you were eating fewer calories. Sugar, especially in processed foods, is highly palatable and not very filling. When it comes to processed foods, there’s another factor often overlooked, fat. Most processed sugary foods are high in fat. So not only are they easy to overeat, but you’re getting a lot of fat and carbohydrates in a relatively small portion. Which makes it easy to consume too many calories leading to weight gain.

Does this mean I can eat as much sugar as I want?

Yes and no. As long as you’re eating fewer calories than you’re burning you will lose weight. However, as I mentioned processed foods like candy and cake is usually not very filling, and it doesn’t have a whole lot of nutrients either. Fruits, vegetables, and dairy all contain sugars but also contain nutrients, fiber (fruits and veggies), and protein (dairy) which will help to keep you full and meet your nutritional needs.
For health and satiety reasons, making sure the majority of your food comes from whole unprocessed foods will help ensure that you stay full, which makes you less likely to binge.  If you’re not sure how much you should be eating, read this.

We’re all different.

Just because the research says that eating sugar doesn’t affect weight loss, doesn’t mean you should eat a ton of it. We’re all different and how I react to sugar and how you react may be very different. Pay attention to how your food makes you feel.
For more help and to find out how other women just like you have lost the weight and kept it off. Get your free guide here.
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