Sugar tastes oh so sweet, but do we really need it? And is that spare tire around your waist, your neck jowls and upper arm flab caused by eating too much sugar? Research in recent years has shown that your sugar intake can have a definite effect on your body weight, over time. So how much is too much, and just exactly how does sugar make you fat?
Let’s take that second question first. Sugar, as well as high fructose corn syrup, is made up of glucose and fructose. You need glucose to live. Your body produces it naturally, and it is used to give your cells energy. But fructose is unnatural, and your body does not produce it. Of all the cells in your body, only your liver cells can process fructose.
When you eat a lot of sugar, the majority of fructose gets metabolized by your liver. It is processed and turned into fat, which is in pushed out into your blood. Fructose also changes the way you react to a hormone called leptin. Every time you eat, some of your food is stored in your fat cells. Leptin levels are increased, your brain notices this higher leptin level, it senses that you have enough fat stored and tells you to stop eating.
But fructose disguises your true leptin levels. Your brain does not realize you have enough fat, so you eat more sweet, sugary things because your mind believes you need to produce fat to put away for a rainy day. So fructose is the real culprit in sugar here, making you fat a couple of different ways.
Some recent research out of New Zealand shows that even small increases or decreases in your sugar intake can dramatically affect how much fat and extra weight you pack on.
In a study which lasted a few weeks to 6 months, test subjects who ate less sugar lost an average of 1.8 pounds. And in as few as 8 weeks, those subjects which increased their sugar intake by even a small amount saw a weight gain of 1.7 pounds on average.
And that is just one of many studies which show the real world results of eating sugar that take place because of the natural process we just discussed. The bottom line? Eat less sugar and you gain less fat. So, how much sugar is too much? Men should limit themselves to 150 calories per day, women to 100 sugar calories.
Healthy fats like olive oil are needed in your body, but the unnatural fructose in sugar produces the kind of unhealthy fat that nobody wants.