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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

31 Days of Weight Loss Tips: Day 4 Avoid Sugar

Photo by Mykl Roventine on Flickr
It's amazing how something so sweet can be so bad for you.

Sugar comes in many forms, almost all of them unnecessary and easy for the body to turn into fat. The carbohydrates we eat break down into a form of sugar called glucose, which is the energy source for cell function. If there is too much sugar in the system, the body is very efficient at storing it as fat. And consuming too much sugar is easy to do.

Some examples of the different forms of sugar are: table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, turbinado sugar, organic sugar, agave syrup, honey, dextrose, glucose, fructose, sucrose, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. Though some types are worse than others -- perhaps none worse than high fructose corn syrup. The bottom line is that overconsumption will lead to bodyfat. And if you're trying to lose weight, it should be avoided altogether, with the exception of the sugar found in fruit.

Fruit contains fructose, but it is full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients, all of which help to slow the uptake of sugar into the bloodstream. The reduced rate of absorption means the sugar in fruit does not have the same effect on the body as the other sugars, meaning you're less likely to turn this sugar into fat. For example, bananas and banana nut muffins both contain fructose, but I've never seen anyone who became overweight from eating too many bananas.

Since sugar is in just about all processed and packaged foods, it is important to pay close attention to the nutrition labels and ingredient lists. Avoid products that contain sugar in any of its forms. This includes items like soda, juice, yogurt, health bars, flavored water, and condiments such as ketchup, salad dressing and barbecue sauce.

When foods with a high amount of sugar are eaten, they create a surge of energy followed by a crash. People who regularly consume too much sugar probably don't even notice this anymore, making a bad physiological situation even worse.

The surge-and-crash cycle leads to a hypoglycemic, or low blood sugar, state. In this state, the body craves more sugary foods, perpetuating an endless cycle of ups and downs that promotes fat storage in the body.

Klatz, R., Goldman, R. The Official Anti-aging Revolution, 2007

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