There’s no doubt that regularly drinking soda and eating candy and the like makes you fat, but exactly how much fat will you get? Until now, the research done on how sugar affects your health has been somewhat sketchy, but a new review of the latest and greatest science just put it all together.
What the researchers found? Too much sugar causes more weight gain than you might think.
Consuming excess added sugar can lead to a rapid weight gain of 2.2 pounds over seven days, which increases your risk for obesity, according to findings published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
This review makes clear that eating too much sugar can harm your health, particularly your heart. It also gives some good clues on where the research is heading next.
The scientists reviewed 27 previous studies that included data on nearly 813,000 adults in the U.S. and 10 other countries and found that those who consumed one-tenth of their total daily calories from added sugar (i.e., anything other than what comes naturally in fruits, veggies, dairy and protein foods) were more likely to be obese or overweight than people who consumed less sugar. For example, a 150-pound adult would have to consume an extra 21 calories per day from added sugar to move up 1 point on the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale.
Some other researchers reviewed a total of 3,839 studies on sugar intake and body weight, and they found that there’s an indisputable relationship between the two. While previous research has focused more on the different types of sugars—for example whether high fructose corn syrup is worse for your health than table sugar—this latest study found that every type of added sugar has the same negative effect.
While the researchers point out that the calories used by people may vary, most people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages will gain weight because they are drinking in excess of the calories they burn off. And you don’t have to consume a whole lot to pack on pounds. The study found that when people consumed 4 or more soft drinks a week of any kind, they gained nearly 30 pounds.
If you’re eating plenty of whole foods like fruit, vegetables, beans and nuts, you don’t have to worry so much about sugar. Enjoy your favorite treats in moderation—but try not to overdo it with the sweet stuff. It may help to slow down, too: it takes a while for the body to register sweet foods when they hit your tongue—so savor them slowly if you want to feel full.
Quick Suggestions For Reducing Your Sugar Intake
1. Drink more water
Sugar cravings are usually an indication of dehydration, so try a glass of purified water first to see if you’re really hungry. In general, aim for half of your body weight in ounces of purified water each day.
Just because you’re not eating don’t mean you have to stop hydrating! Because nocturnal snacking tends to be the snack that most of us indulge in, it can increase your calorie intake as well as decrease your water intake. Consider sipping purified water throughout the evening to keep your hydration up and your appetite under control.
Pure, fresh water is essential for life, and the first thing to reduce your sugar intake. Water detoxifies and removes excess waste from your body. It also provides weight loss because you can fill up on a third of your body weight in ounces each day.
If you think you need something sweet, try a piece of fruit. It will be healthier and better for you than a bag of sugar. Think about it. Fruits contain fiber, are more filling than other snacks, and filled with vital nutrients. If you must have a sweet, opt for the naturally sweetened ones like dates, figs or coconut sugar.
2. Eat enough at mealtime
A simple change like this can have a big impact on your sugar consumption. If you can, try to cut out unhealthy snacks completely.
Reducing your sugar intake is a two-pronged effort. First, recognize that not all sugars are bad and that your body does need a certain amount of carbohydrates to function. Second, eat moderately and gym exercise regularly to lose weight. By limiting added sugar in your diet, you’ll discover the pleasure of eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. That type of healthy eating is likely to lead to weight loss in the long run.
Reduce your intake of processed foods that are typically high in sugar, including cakes, soft drinks and candy. Balance your diet by eating plenty of low-sugar fruits such as berries, melons, apples and pears.
Try eating more fruits and vegetables. A lot of the sugar in our diet comes from added sugars, like sugar in fruit juice or candy, or from foods that naturally contain sugar, like milk, cereal or bread. Fruits and vegetables are naturally sweet, and their fiber content helps keep your blood sugar levels more stable.