Sugars Are Holding You Back

Posted on August 31, 2016 at 5:46 pm No Comment

Still not where you want to be despite your best efforts?


It’s common knowledge in fitness that getting the sculpted body you want is 20% effort in the gym and 80% what you are eating. However, even if you are trying to cut back on the junk food, your biggest issue might be the amount sugar you’re consuming, refined (fructose) sugar to be specific. Along with messing with your energy levels, excess sugar intake and refined sugars are one of the biggest contributors to obesity and other health issues related to weight and diet. Here are four ways refined sugars are keeping you fat.


Refined sugar does not trigger your body’s ability to feel “full,” causing you to eat more.

Because refined sugar goes through a purification process that extracts out the raw sugar and strips it of all other materials, refined sugar is void of any nutrient or minerals that are typically present in natural sugar. Because of this, it is easier to consume larger amounts of refined sugar before feeling any level of satiety.  Foods rich in protein and fiber all have been associated with increased fullness, lowering the hunger hormone ghrelin within the body so you feel “full.” However, with sugar, it provides an abundance of calories while doing little to decrease the hunger hormone ghrelin. This is particularly the case with refined sugar (fructose) versus natural sugars (glucose), as studies have shown that fructose has less of an effect on satiety and ghrelin than glucose does. This lead to lower activity in the satiety center of the brain, causing you to continue feeling hungry. This is why you can eat a large container of candy or drink a large soda, and yet still feel hungry for a meal. This lack of feeling “full” can translate to an increase in overall calorie intake, adding extra calories to your diet, which can lead to extra pounds.

Sugar specifically promotes belly fat.

We all know that extra calories not burned are turned into fat. We also just covered how sugar decreases feelings of fullness causing you to eat more. These are both contributors to how sugar helps promote belly fat. However, on top of these factors, refined sugar also increases your waist by directly increasing fat accumulation in your adipose (fatty) tissue. In a 2010 study with children, it was found that excess fructose intake (but not glucose intake) actually caused visceral fat cells, fat located within the abdominal area, to mature. This creates the foundation for a big belly as well as other health issues. So, consuming excess fructose not only contributes to a larger waistline by adding extra calories, but also by directly affecting the fat tissues in your stomach. 


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Sugar messes with your insulin levels.

Insulin is a key hormone in your body that regulates human metabolism and energy use. Whenever you consume carbohydrates, your pancreas secretes insulin to help your body use the sugar (glucose) stored inside the carbs. Excess glucose is toxic, however. Therefore, when you consume a high number of carbs or sugar, the amount of insulin in your bloodstream rapidly increases to neutralize the effects. However, over time, cells become resistant to insulin, causing the pancreas to have to secrete even more insulin. This can cause insulin levels to become chronically elevated and lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. However, insulin not only regulates glucose levels in the bloodstream but also sends signals to fat cells to pick up fat from the bloodstream and store it and to avoid burning any fat they already carry.

Therefore, when insulin levels are chronically elevated, your body stores more fat while simultaneously burning less stored fat. In comparison to glucose in natural sugars, fructose consumption is known to cause insulin resistance and elevated insulin levels in the blood, thus causing your body to store more fat.

Sugar is addictive.

Even if you know the effects that refined sugar can have on your body and try to moderate your consumption, it may not stop you from still reaching out for sugary treats. This is because of the physiological and neurological effect sugar causes your brain. When you consume sugar, it releases a large dosage of dopamine in the reward/pleasure center of your brain. This creates a connection within the brain linking the act of consuming sugar with the dopamine effects it triggers, causing your brain to desire and seek out more sugar. If this sounds like the way an addict’s brain comes to desire and seek out illicit drugs, it is because it is the exact same way, both emulating the physiological basis of addiction. The addictive effects of sugar are only aggravated with refined sugars, as they release a massive amount of dopamine larger than anything we would experience from consuming natural foods. This strengthens your brain’s addiction to sugar, making it harder to resist sugary foods and the “crash” from your body coming down from sugar consumption far more miserable to overcome.  For those who have a hard time resisting and moderating their sugar intake, cutting it from their diet may be the only way to overcome the desire, and therefore, the effects of consuming refined sugars.


Too much of anything is never a good thing, but this is especially the case with your sugar intake. Cutting refined sugars from your diet and eating clean is one of the best ways to get in shape and lose the excess belly fat.