Archive for November, 2011

Sugar and Weight Gain

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
 
Kelly Kalbfleisch, NPTI Certified Personal Trainer
Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor

 

I am angry, angry at sugar! 

Due to an injury, I have been very limited in my workouts for about 11 weeks now.  Being a trainer, I know that when something like this happens, it is imperative that my diet be as flawless as possible (which is extremely hard for a girl who loves to eat).  This is where my hatred of sugar comes into play.

I dislike yogurt, but I thought I would give it another shot (for about the 50th time).  I found a few flavors that looked like they may taste ok.  First one was great.  Second one was great as well.  I started thinking something must be wrong with this yogurt if I actually like it.  For some reason, I didn’t bother to turn this little yummy of cup of goodness around to view the nutrition facts, which I typically do before I purchase any food.  It’s low fat = great. It’s low calorie = great.  Then I see it and mid bite I throw the half eaten yogurt in the trash.  Out of the 25 grams of Carbohydrates 22 grams of them are SUGAR!  WHAT?!?!  I could not believe it.  Well, actually, I could have believed it if I would have been thinking straight.  I blame it on the lack of exercise :)  

This led me to start thinking about all my clients who are struggling with their diet and weight loss.  Low fat and low calorie does not mean the product is good for you.  I found a great article that explains what sugar does in the body and why it causes people to gain weight. 

“Isn’t she sweet?” “Rose are Red, Violets are Blue, Sugar is sweet and so are You.” “Visions of sugar plums danced in their head.” “Come on over here, Sugar.” It is everywhere. Sugar, which used to be a rare treat, is in almost every home today. It has woven its way into the fabric of our society. Grandma’s cookies, birthday cakes, Christmas candy, Valentine’s chocolates, the pies and pastries at every celebration feast. Sugar is everywhere.

So, if it is that prominent it can’t be that bad can it? Well, look at the rise in popularity, and availability, of sugar and you will see a similar rise in obesity rates. The research is still out on the different types of naturally occurring sugars and all of the sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners, so we will focus on refined sugar. This includes white, cane sugar and brown sugar.

First, let’s take a look at what sugar does. Glucose is used by the body for energy. The muscles and organs use it to supply the energy they need to perform their regular functions. In order for the glucose to get to the cells that need it there needs to be a transporter. This is where insulin comes in. It transports the glucose to the cells with the open receptors. Once all receptor sites in the brain, other organs, and muscles are closed the insulin then takes the glucose to storage sites (fat stores.) Most foods can be broken down into glucose for energy but it takes time through the digestive process.

Refined sugar is rapidly converted to glucose in the body. That is why you get a buzz or sugar “high” right after you eat sugar. The problem is that because there is so much sugar in the system after a sugary snack the body cannot utilize all of the glucose so the body releases more insulin to rapidly get the glucose out of the system. The easiest way for the body to do that is to shuffle the excess into fat stores quickly. Then you crash. The body now wants the extra energy, but the energy has been stored away so your energy levels drop to the floor.

So, as you can see the influx of sugar causes the body to quickly take all of the excess energy flowing through the blood stream and put it in fat stores. Not a positive situation for a dieter. Since they are trying to lose fat, not gain it.

So, it’s easy then, just don’t add sugar to my foods and drinks, right? That is only a small piece of it. While this will help, it is not the complete solution. Sugar is hidden in many of our foods. One place people are surprised to find so much sugar is in the low-fat and no-fat foods. To make up for the taste lost by eliminating the fat, food manufacturers dump in extra sugar. A fat free cake may have almost twice as much sugar as the regular alternative. Drinks are another area of concern. Look at soft drinks, they are almost completely sugar, with almost 65 grams of sugar in a bottle.

Sugar can quickly sabotage fat loss efforts, but it may not be as simple as throwing out the sugar bowl. Reading labels is important. Food companies seldom list “sugar” in the ingredients. It will usually be sucrose, dextrose, or some other “-ose” item. Looking at the nutrient breakdown will be a good indicator. Under carbohydrates, companies now have to show sugar and fiber content. If a food has 15 grams of carbohydrates per serving and 12 of those are sugar you might want to find another choice. Don’t let these little white granules destroy your diet. Read labels carefully, avoid extra sugar, and eat a mix of nutrients during your meals for a more even blood sugar level.

article By Jennifer Olsen

My advice: READ LABELS…..always!!

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