Does Sugar Make You Fat?
In the last few years sugar has been blamed as the culprit for pretty much everything.
This ranges from obesity, diabetes and even Brexit!
Ok well obviously not Brexit!
But it has been slandered by the media, nutritionist and fitness pros alike!
So it’s hard to draw the line with what this evil little cretin is actually responsible for.
So why does sugar make us fat and unhealthy…?
Or does it make us fat and is it really that unhealthy?
In this article I’m going to look at the FACTS backed by science.
While still keeping it simple and easy to understand:)
After getting through this article you can walk (or waddle off lol) with all the knowledge you need to know.
Is sugar the devil or just a harmless molecule?
Sit back because you’re about to find out:)
What Is Sugar?
Sugar is a generic name for a sweet tasting soluble carbohydrate.
There is a variety of types of sugars that include fructose, glucose and sucrose and more.
Table sugar or “granulated sugar” is the type that is normally added to drinks such as coffee and tea.
It’s also used a lot in prepared food to enhance the sweetness and taste.
Like all carbohydrates sugar contains 4 calories per gram.
Where Did The “Sugar makes you fat” Idea Come From?
In 1972 John Yudkin published a book called “Pure White and Deadly”.
This was the first idea that opened the mainstream media and public up to sugar being the enemy to our bodies.
Studies then started to roll out through the years linking higher consumptions of sugar to rising obesity rates.
From there the sugar witch hunt gained momentum.
Research revealed that sugar greatly spiked Insulin a storage hormone that help metabolise nutrients.
In plain English that means when you eat Insulin is released from the pancreas.
It then shuttles the broken down food to the right places.
It takes all macronutrients: protein, fat and carbs to where they need to be in the body.
This is for either energy, tissue repair or storage for later use.
The issue with a lot of the studies is that they did NOT take into consideration energy intake.
This is the amount of calories that were being consumed by the obese individuals.
So with all these studies and the mainstream media jumping on the anti sugar band wagon, the public came to accept this as a truth.
And hey presto.. “Sugar is bad and makes you fat!”
Where Things Got Twisted:
The studies main argument was that obesity was on the rise as sugar consumption went up especially in sugary drinks.
This is a weak argument at best!
Many studies have shown two different things in time increasing without any contributing factors.
Such as the rise of bottled water consumption also increased at the same time.
I’m sure we all know that bottled water has nothing to do with an increase of storing body fat.
Ain’t no body piling on pounds from drinking more aqua!
More and more scientific literature has arisen showing that in fact sugar can NOT be solely responsible for obesity.
This study in Australia reports between 1980-2003 refined sugar consumption dropped by 23% in the country but they still saw a obesity increase by 3 fold.
Other studies such as THIS ONE in 2005 go on to state how a complex issue such as obesity can not be linked to one nutrient such as sugar.
They observe how the individual’s diet as a whole is the reason they are over weight and classed as obese.
So Is Sugar Making You Fat?
The bottom line here is sugar in itself is NOT making you store body fat!
You don’t ingest some fruit, a tea spoon of honey or even chocolate bar and your body automatically store it as fat.
Insulin a storage hormone has got a bad rap because that is what stores calories as body fat.
But when we look closer you see insulin is just doing it’s job!
Once it has metabolised the nutrients, if there is no more space available it has to store the left overs as body fat.
It has no choice!
The real enemy to body fat storage then is over consuming more than the body needs. This is known as a calorie surplus.
When you consistently eat beyond the energy demands of your body then insulin will do it’s job. Store extra energy as body fat!
Being in a calorie surplus is the real cause of weight gain not sugar alone!
Why Do People That Eat A lot of Sugar Seem To Be Overweight?
This is because in general these people live less healthy lives.
They exercise less, eat more processed food and have a poorer dietary pattern in general.
This means their diet as a totality is the cause for the obesity and bad health.
So when studies look at this group of people it makes it harder to factor in all these facets.
They then look for a common thread and identify sugar as the cause of the obesity which is wrong.
No one thing can cause weight gain, but in reality is a number of poor lifestyle choices that contribute to the individuals obesity.
Other studies such as THIS ONE has shown than when you replace sugar with other macronutrients, while keeping calories the same you see no change in bodyweight.
Again this highlights that energy imbalance (calorie surplus) as the major determent to weight gain.
Why Does Everyone Believe Sugar Is Bad Then?
The media and anti-sugar advocates use very powerful words when describing their case against sugar such as “Evil”, “Dangerous” and compare it’s as addictive as class A drugs.
If that’s the case put a cocaine addict alone in a room with a bag of cocaine and see if they can resist it?
Then let’s take a so called sugar addict, place them in a room with a spoon and packet of table sugar…
Will they devour that packet without any control like a savage?
Me thinks NOT!
This comparison in the past few years is classic mainstream media way to sensationalise something to evoke emotion.
They do this on every topic they pick to vilify and sugar has been no different!
It’s not hard to see how the masses can be easily swayed with this narrative.
When people are exposed to the same message again and again it just becomes an accepted truth.
Anti-sugar slander for the past decade or so has been everywhere you look.
The more people hear something again and again has been been shown to become an accepted norm.
Politicians, dictators and marketers know about this and use it a lot for their advantage. Repeition works 🙁
How Much Sugar Should You Eat?
Even though sugar is NOT the devil it has been made out to be this still doesn’t mean you can consume in unlimited amounts.
Government guidelines suggest that sugar should make up around 5-10% of your total daily calories.
That being said this will differ for each person depending on their lifestyle and activity level.
Another issue with sugary food is that they come packed in a very energy dense way.
For example a chocolate bar is not just sugar and will also be high in dietary fat too and therefore very calorificfic.
Add the fact it tastes good and you probably won’t stop at one piece or even one bar.
Studies have shown most people will then tend to over eat.
Again this points the finger as the overconsumption of food and the calorie surplus that is the factor to weight gain and not sugar itself.
Being aware of that as it can save your bacon. (Bacon ain’t healthy btw :P)
When summing up sugar it is proven NOT to be the main or contributing factor to obesity or even type 2 diabetes.
This indicates you should focus more on your diet and lifestyle as a whole.
YOU want to be consuming the right amount of calories and macronutrients for you goal.
You also need to be aware of foods that are high in calories in general.
More often than not these are processed and packaged foods which are generally unhealthy.
I personally eat a high carb diet which has it’s fair share of sugar, but I maintain a low body fat percentage year round.
This is because I consume the right amount of calories for my body and energy requirements.
The take away here is you DO NOT need to cut sugar out or avoid it like the plague.
But of course you can not eat it with free-will or in unlimited amounts.
Go on have ya cake and eat it… Sometimes anyways 🙂
I hope this article helped straighten out the whole sugar debate for you once and for all.