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Sugar and Body Fat

July 17, 2008

Sugar-it has gotten such a bad reputation in recent years. Why? Glucose is the brain’s main source of energy, and the muscles’ preferred source of fuel during physical exertion. This being well-known fact, why has sugar gotten a bad name and why should you avoid it?

If you want to achieve a leaner body or reduce body fat, you should definitely watch the amount of simple sugars, processed sugars, and high fructose corn syrup in your diet (alcohol, too!). There is no need to eat “extra” sugar to obtain more energy for the brain and muscles (unless you are competing in ultra endurance activities and sports such as the marathon, tri’s, or ultra-marathons).

The body and brain obtain its fuel from complex carbohydrates such as grains and breads (preferably whole grain), and legumes. Fruit and dairy products also provide carbohydrate in smaller amounts (while also providing essential nutrients). These are the types of foods you want to eat when engaging in vigorous physical activity, not simple sugars such as candy, pastries, sodas, etc.

So, what happens to excess sugar in your body? After eating a meal or snack that is high in carbs, the body will increase its use of glucose as the major source of energy. If there is more glucose in the body that is needed to fuel the metabolism, some of the excess will be stored in the liver and muscles. The rest may be converted into body fat. And even if the excess isn’t converted to body fat, its presence in the body can inhibit the body’s use of its own fat stores to meet energy demands.

Why?  If glucose is readily available in the bloodstream, the body will use it as fuel first, then fat. This may explain why high sugar levels contribute to high body fat percentage. And furthermore, why high blood sugar levels contribute to other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Yes, it is true-calories in versus calories out when it comes to weight loss. But, there are better choices you can make in regards to the calories you are eating. Instead of choosing the sugary cereal for breakfast, you can opt for oatmeal and berries instead, or an egg white omelet. Instead of eating the massive plate of enriched pasta for dinner, you can choose whole grain pasta with chicken and vegetables. And instead of having a few glasses of wine at night, you can swap one of those glasses with sparkling water and a splash of pomegranate or cranberry juice.

Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet may take a bit of time and preparation, but once you realize how good you feel when your blood sugar levels are stable, you won’t want to return to your old habits!

Some food for thought!


One Comment leave one →
  1. Corsair YC permalink
    July 24, 2008 3:52 pm

    Yeah, you’re right. When I get that mid-afternoon brain-fade, some crackers or popcorn will kick my brain cells back into action. Then at the end of the day, a nice glass of red wine will help them to relax again!

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