Sugar and weight gain
Before we begin – I’m no certified nutritionist and I’m certainly no scientist.
I’m a normal guy whose struggled a lot, read a lot, – and applied a lot.
So I’m covering quite a bit here involving:
- A clear outline of sugar - its origin and its use for the body
- Hormones associated with it
- Why it can be detrimental to health
All of these aspects are hugely important to truly grasping why sugar can be detrimental to health.
Countless documentaries have been released on its effects, ‘problems’ associated with eating it and even directly blaming it for poor health.
I really want to nip this one in the bud and clearly define the underpinning message behind sugar and why it can be classified as ‘bad’.
Firstly – here’s a quick summary of what it is and where it’s sourced.
Sugar is the bi product of all broken down Carbohydrates (in the form of glucose) and used by the body for energy. We have two main camps of Carbohydrates; simple and complex.
Complex is what we’re told we ‘should’ be eating – and with good cause. Complex carbohydrates are slowly digested by the body. This in turn, prevents drastic fluctuations in Insulin (digestive hormone which is released into the blood stream to shuttle digested sugar into muscle cells for energy storage/use – that is muscle cells, the brain etc).
Complex carbohydrates = slower digestion = steadier blood glucose levels = slower insulin release over a longer period of time.
Complex carbohydrates are from sources such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, pasta.
These are a whole food sources – not only containing predominantly carbohydrate but also vital micronutrients to assist with overall health and vitality.
This is why they’re preferred – nice, slow digestion and are nutrient rich.
Simple carbohydrates are digested rapidly by the body and are divided into two further camps; refined and naturally occurring. Refined carbohydrates can be found from a huge variety of food - now I’m talking pretty much 90% of what you’ll see in a supermarket. Anything with fancy packaging and tastes real good – chances are it’s packed full of it. Sources are such as – chocolate, sweets, chocolate milk, cakes.
Naturally occurring sugars are present in dairy products, fruits and vegetables.
Simple carbohydrates = faster digestion = highly fluctuating blood glucose levels = high insulin release over a short period of time.
Now - the above really isn’t so different to what you’ve probably read before. It’s much of the same – but necessary to understand fully before we go deeper.
Sources of complex carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, pasta), for the most part – have not been modified from their source (growth from the ground). They have no added sugar.
Refined carbohydrates (chocolate, sweets, chocolate milk, cake, biscuits) are manufactured.
During manufacturing – sugar is refined and added to food – usually in large quantities. Sugar in this form is ready to be digested, pretty much immediately after ingestion. This is why it is very quickly released into the blood stream.
The only difference between Complex and Simple sugars is the speed at which they are digested.
Now – there is categorically nothing wrong with faster digestion of carbohydrates and high release of insulin to cater for it.
This is a completely normal bodily reaction to eating foods of this nature.
So what is the problem?
The problem is something deeper – which (to my current knowledge) is simply not covered throughout mainstream media.
It frustrates the hell out of me.
The big issue...
Foods high in refined sugar are:
- Easy and quick to eat
- Lack satiety (the full feeling after eating)
- Overly accessible
- EATEN IN EXCESS due to the above.
Excess eating of these foods is wreaking havoc on our bodies. They’re high very high in sugar (not a problem in itself) but also contain very little of anything else in the way of proteins and micronutrients.
They are not whole food sources which give our bodies what’s needed to function properly
The problem is the foods are too damn accessible!!
Why is this not covered?
Sugar is a multi-billion pound industry.
Companies who produce these products rake in billions year after year and essentially – run the show for supermarkets.
This is another topic in itself – but probably contributes to the reason why facts and grounded information are far from ‘mainstream’.
To reiterate some very, very important points:
Sugar (carbohydrate) when eaten in excess = unsightly fat gain.
Protein when eaten in excess = unsightly fat gain.
Fats when eaten in excess = unsightly fat gain.
See the correlation here?
Sugar is only ‘bad’ as it’s generally eaten in excess. The world we currently live in with its huge accessibility directly contributes to its chronic overconsumption (coupled with chronic under consumption of Protein and Fat sources).
It’s no wonder why we live in a world where in 2020 over 80% of adults are predicted to be overweight.
It’s no wonder why we have a diabetes pandemic (which is directly related to over consumption of carbohydrates).
It’s no wonder why most people feel terrible most of the time – suffering from afternoon sluggishness and tiredness.
There is no doubt that it’s mostly due to over consumption of carbohydrates relative to their bodily needs for it.
All of my diet related articles funnel into this factor – calories in vs calories out.
Really – very little foods on this planet are actually ‘bad’ or ‘good’ – we just have to quit eating certain foods to excess.
For a really simple template to figure out approximate weight maintenance level of calories – take a look at my previous article (template towards the end).
Next article is a direct follow up on this one – outlining forms of exercise to get the body better utilising carbohydrates as energy (and calories in general for that matter).
As always – any questions around this topic just give me a shout. I’d love to help you out!
All the best