Sugar, WHY Does It Make Us Fat?

by Jennifer Boudreau on May 30, 2013

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Candies of bright colorsSeriously, society has been eating sugar for ages, so can it be that bad for you? What about high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)? Is it worse than table sugar? Then there is fruit juice. Is it ok for your children to drink it every day? Ugh. It can be enough to make your head spin! Hopefully I can shed some light on this hot topic.

Before I go any further, I want to explain Sucrose and HFCS. According to Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco , HFCS and sucrose (table sugar) are essentially the same:

HFCS = 42% glucose, 55% fructose

Sucrose = 50% glucose, 50% fructose

There is a huge debate as to which is worse for you. However, Dr. Lustig feels that since HFCS and sucrose are similar in their composition, your body metabolizes them the same way.

In my recent post The Soda Conspiracy, I referenced a 90 minute lecture given by Dr. Lustig called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.”  The entire lecture speaks to the issue of the fructose component of sugar. Glucose is not the problem. Fructose is, and it is making us fat and killing our livers. I will get to the issue of fructose and liver damage another day. Today let’s talk about obesity.

Why does fructose make us fat? Fructose does not suppress hunger. You can drink 150 calories of fructose and ghrelin, the hunger stimulating hormone, will never be suppressed. Your child can chug a box of juice and still be hungry and continue to eat more. According to Lustig, consuming fructose changes the way your brain recognizes energy, and in a bad way. You will think you need to eat more, but in reality your fat cells are signaling they are full.  This breakdown in communication between your body and your brain does not work in your favor.

Dr. Lustig refers to an interesting study done on college students. Over a period of six days, students ate a high glucose diet (grains, potatoes, beans, etc.) and almost no calories consumed converted to fat. When fed a diet high in fructose (soda, juice, processed foods) over the same time period, they saw horrendous results: 30% calories consumed turned to fat, triglycerides doubled and free fatty acids (which cause insulin resistance) doubled. Once again, this was only over SIX days! He is quick to point out that a high sugar diet is a high fat diet for this reason.

Sugar is everywhere. It can be found in breads, cereals, ketchup, salad dressings, and fruit juices. If it is processed, chances are it has sugar in it. Sugar is not always easy to identify either, because there are actually 56 different names for sugar. Seriously? That is why the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day rather than the recommended 6-9 teaspoons.

The bottom line is if you and your family eat processed, sugary foods on a regular basis, it would be in your best interest to change your ways. You have to take matters in to your own hands. Remove the processed foods and sugary beverages from your home. Limit fast food. Take the juice box away from your kids and give them water or milk instead. After all, you deserve optimal health and with a few simple changes you will be well on your way to living a healthier lifestyle.

Visit me on Facebook and tell me, is sugar an issue in your home?

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