Got a sweet tooth? Then, it’s time to say “bye” to that tooth because it’s not only bad news for your weight loss goals, it can put your health at risk. Sugar is one of the major causes of inflammation in the body, which is a trigger point for diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, etc. Since we are talking about weight loss/weight gain here, we would like to mention that sugar can rapidly lead to weight gain and prevent you from actually losing weight, and it’s extensively found in packaged and processed food like candies, chocolates, ice cream, cakes, cola, and even breakfast cereals and brown bread under different names (sucrose, fructose, etc). Unless you are really cautious, sugar can find different ways to reach your diet and ultimately, losing weight can become a never-ending struggle. In this post, we would find why sugar is fattening and why it’s necessary to eliminate it from our daily diet to shed extra kilos. That’s why Rati Beauty diet make use of healthy alternatives to refined sugar in their weight loss programs.
Why Sugar is Bad for Weight Loss?
Excess sugar triggers a lot of undesirable effects in the body, it is one of the major reasons why people develop lifestyle diseases, develop insulin resistance and diabetes. Most people often do not believe that sugar is actually fattening and leads to weight gain. Refined sugar, which is also commonly found in processed food, such as cookies, pastries, candies, etc., is extracted from sugarcane through a chemical process. Refined sugar has high amount of calories that have little to absolutely no benefits to the body. These calories are called “empty calories” because they hardly provide any nourishment. Food industry adds refined sugar under various names to their products such as sucrose, disaccharide, glucose, and fructose in jams, coals, aerated beverages, muffins, biscuits, cookies, bread, cakes to make these food items appetizing. Refined sugar leads to sharp spike in blood sugar in the body and later, causes a steep drop in blood sugar levels. But what leads to weight gain is when the body converts all the excess calories (from the calorie-dense sugar molecules) into fat. This is exactly what leads to weight gain and that’s where the importance of cutting down sugar comes into play if you want to seriously lose weight.
How Sugar Makes you Fat and Keeps you Fat?
Sugar, especially refined white sugar, is packed with empty calories with little to no nutritional value to it. The body breaks down sugar into glucose molecules, and excess glucose gets converted to fat and gets stored, mostly around the belly area. By cutting down sugar, you would be able to shed weight really well and get your dream body and goal weight quickly. A lot of women complain how difficult it is to get rid of belly fat, even with diet and exercise. But belly fat will melt away only if you cut down on sugar! Here are some other ways sugar makes you fat:
1. By increasing inflammation in the body: Studies have proven that sugar triggers the production of free fatty acids in the liver. When these free fatty acids are processed in the body, it leads to inflammation, and eventual weight gain.
2. Excess sugar leads to insulin resistance: Insulin resistance is a condition where the body produces insulin but the cells do not use it properly and there’s an excess of glucose always in your bloodstream. With zero refined sugar, you can reverse insulin resistance and the pre-diabetic situation effectively.
3. Excess sugar leads to increase in hunger hormone ghrelin: Sugar which is high in fructose, suppresses the level of appetite-suppressing hormone “leptin” and increase the levels of hunger hormone “ghrelin.” Sugar also increases your cravings for calorie-dense food and you would always be in a state of hunger, needing more food to satisfy those cravings, adding more calories and fat to the body in the process.
4. Low Fiber Content: Increases appetite and reduces feelings of fullness.
How Sugar Increases your Waist Size?
When we consume excess amount of calories in a day that we cannot burn out, those unused calories get stored in the body when the hormone insulin stores them as fat, particularly around the waist area. When you eat food rich in sugar and refined sugar (with empty calories), they quickly raise your total calorie count and it would become hard to burn off the excess calories even when you slog it out in the gym and workout for extra hours. The easiest place for the body to store all the excess calories in the form of fat is around the belly area. Therefore, to get rid of belly fat, it’s important to cut down sugar or to get rid of it completely.
The Role of Sugar/Insulin and Weight Gain:
Insulin is a hormone which regulates blood sugar level in the body, but unknown to many, it’s also a fat-storing hormone, secreted by pancreas. Insulin is instrumental in creating new fat cells. When body cells become insulin resistant, it tends to store all extra calories as fat, without actually burning them off. Whenever you eat high-glycemic food such as sugar, processed and junk food, it leads to spike in insulin levels and all extra calories from sugar, will get stored in the body as fat. Insulin resistance is a condition where pancreas produces insulin but the cells stop responding to the efforts of this hormone by not allowing glucose to enter from the bloodstream. As a result, there’s an excess of glucose always circulation in the blood, and to get excess blood sugar out of the way, pancreas continue to secrete more insulin, making it a vicious cycle. As we have mentioned earlier, insulin triggers fat storage in the body. This important hormone, which also regulates blood sugar levels and helps to absorb glucose, also controls the fat building process. Insulin stimulates the conversion of fatty acids into fat molecules which get stored as fat droplets in the body. When you tend to eat a large amount of carbohydrates, especially refined flour (maida, pastas/cookies etc.) or sugar (pastries/cakes/cold drinks), it triggers release of insulin from the pancreas. When there is an excess amount of calories and glucose in the blood stream, they get stored in liver and muscle cells. Once this storage is full, insulin converts glucose into fat and stores them by creating new fat cells. It also encourages our bodies to hold onto this fat, putting it on “lockdown mode” and thus discourage fat burning. The biggest benefit of cutting down refined carbs and sugar is weight loss! As we have mentioned earlier, if a person consumes refined carbs and sugar, the body will convert the glucose from sugar source to fat and store it for later use. By cutting down sugar, you will not be providing the body extra glucose to convert into fat and with strict exercise and diet routine, you would be able to shed weight really well and get your dream body and goal weight quickly.
Benefits of Getting Rid of Sugar from Daily Diet:
1. No more mood swings!: When you consume sugar, the brain releases hormones like dopamine and serotonin which would make you feel good (albeit temporarily). So, when you decide to give up on exogenous sugar, for a few days, your body will revolt and make you feel grumpy and irritable because of the lack of sugar. When you cut back on exogenous sugar which your body gets through candies, cookies, cakes, processed and canned food items, packaged food, you will be doing yourself and your body a huge favour because it would mean low insulin spikes, less inflammation in the body, and almost nadir mood swings and depression.
2. Your Skin Would Glow and look Younger: Cutting down sugar will have an amazing reaction on your skin because insulin spikes caused by high refined sugar in the body causes inflammation of skin which leads to premature ageing, wrinkles, acne, and uneven skin tone. If you want to look 10 years younger, then the first thing you should do is eliminate sugar from your system. Sugar in the bloodstream leads to a process called “glycation,” in which sugar molecules damage the collagen and elastin (responsible for suppleness and firmness) in our skin. Cutting down glucose will eliminate insulin spikes which will eventually lower down inflammation of the skin and you can get your youthful glow back within two weeks. So, when you cut back on sugar, you can say bye bye to acne and wrinkles for as long as you want.
3. Get a Goodnight’s Sleep Every Night: Haven’t we all heard about “sugar rush” in kids, to the point that parents dread giving children sugary treats to their kids close to their bedtime. And that’s because it’s hard to fall asleep and have a goodnight’s sleep when there is a high amount of sugar running in your bloodstream. So, cut down the sugar and sleep tight guys.
4. Shed Pounds and Lose Weight: The biggest benefit of cutting down refined sugar is weight loss! Try giving up sugar for 15 days and you would see a remarkable change in your body and skin
5. Prevent Life-threatening Diseases: Cutting off sugar completely from the diet will automatically reduce your risk for life-threatening diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, hormonal disorders, etc. When you eat sugary goodies, the insulin level rises in the body and it eventually leads to high blood pressure, inflammation. High blood pressure can lead to diabetes, heart attack, stroke, etc. Sugar also raises triglyceride levels (bad fats) in the blood which are also responsible for heart attack and stroke.
6. Reverse Insulin Resistance and Pre-Diabetic Situation: Low sugar means the constant state of insulin spikes in your body will decrease and your body will be able to regulate and utilize glucose better. Insulin resistance is a condition where the body produces insulin but the cells do not use it properly and there’s an excess of glucose always in your bloodstream. With zero refined sugar, you can reverse insulin resistance and the pre-diabetic situation effectively.
7. No more cavities: Every toothpaste advertisement out there claims to fight cavities “caused by sugary treats.” Now, that’s the key, when you go without sugar, there’s no more cavities, right, it’s that simple!
Healthy Alternatives of Refined Sugar:
Good alternatives or should we say “better” alternatives to refined sugar are found in fruits, jaggery, and honey, but even then, moderation should be the key, because in the end, all calories are calories. But if you cannot control your sweet tooth, chuck refined sugars and switch to natural sugars such as honey, jaggery, stevia leaves.