Anyone who decides to lose weight sees sugar as their worst enemy. This substance is immediately eradicated from diets, because it’s believed to be the one thing standing between you and your perfect body. However, is sugar the biggest obstacle that will impede your attempts to lose weight? The answer is no! Before completely writing sugar off your new and improved diet, you should hear its side of the story.
What is Sugar?
Although you might think that sugar is a big hindrance to a healthy diet, it’s actually one of the essential substances our bodies require to function properly. Sugar is glucose, and it is the main energy source for our bodies. It comes from carbohydrates, and it provides us with the energy necessary to burn fat. Thus, not only does sugar not prevent weight loss, it will actually help you in your fight for a better body.
What Causes Weight Gain?
The answer to this question is quite simple – excess calories. Our bodies store glucose as glycogen in our muscles and liver, but glycogen stores isn’t without limits. If you consume too many calories, you will exceed the limits of your body’s glycogen storage and the excess glucose will quickly turn into fat. This also happens when you eat too much protein or high-fat foods, so your attempts to lose weight will be in vain. Therefore, the golden rule with all types of food is moderation – instead of cutting sugar completely from your diet, you should control its consumption in order to prevent sugar build-ups.
The Dangerous Sugars
Although sugar is needed for our bodies to function properly, there are types of sugar that can easily hinder your attempts to lose weight, especially if eaten in excess. These sugars are called added sugars, which don’t come from natural sources, but are added during food processing and preparation. You can find them in foods such as pastries, cookies, cakes and sodas, which aren’t nutritious and contain too many calories. These types of food also lack in soluble fibre that can be found in fruits, vegetables and nuts and that have been proven to contribute to losing weight. In order to minimise the intake of added and refined sugars, you should avoid foods such as candy, cookies, cakes, pies and gummy worms. In addition, you should try to avoid sweetened drinks, including sodas, fruit drinks and alcoholic beverages. All of these foods contain fats and “empty calories” that have no nutritional value.
The Healthy Sugars
Since sugar provides you with the energy necessary for weight loss, you shouldn’t eliminate it from your daily consumption, but replace unhealthy, added sugars with healthy ones. Healthy sugars are the ones that occur naturally in milk, cheese, fruit (fructose) and unsweetened yogurt (lactose) – foods that are low in calories, fat and sodium, while rich in natural sugar. Both fructose and lactose are dissolved into glucose and contain nutrients that help our bodies fight against diseases. They also contain soluble fibre that provides us with a steady energy source, since it slows down sugar metabolism.
Mind the Portions
Although natural sugars are important for a healthy diet, you still need to stay moderate when consuming them, especially when you’re trying to lose weight. You should find a balance and consume enough sugars to meet your nutrient needs, while not exceeding your glycogen storage limits. Men should consume 2 cups of fruit daily, while women should consume 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit. One cup refers to one medium grapefruit, a small apple or a large banana. When it comes to yoghurt and milk, both women and men can drink 3 cups on a daily basis.
The Best Approach
If you really want to lose weight, counting calories and limiting your sugar intake isn’t enough. Achieving your desired body weight requires regular exercise, enough sleep, stress control and a healthy diet. You should consume all nutrients necessary for your body to function properly. You should consider complementing your diet with Herbs of Gold to make up for the lack of vitamins, especially if you’re on a strict diet.
Losing weight is a difficult process that requires a lot of patience and persistence. However, if you provide your body with everything it needs and exercise regularly, you don’t have to give up on the treats.