What's Wrong Sugar?

Sugar has a lot enemies. Is sugar your friend and if not then what does research tell us about sugar? It is important to understand the information and advice below is aimed at the typical person not the competitive athlete. There is a time and place for consuming excess sugar and we will discuss that in an upcoming posts. But for the people who are trying to get lean and improve their performance research shows that high levels of fructose in your diet causes you to eat more. I think avoiding sugar is more important than people believe based upon the latest studies. We have learned that sugar contributes to obesity and weight gain. It also promotes negative insulin results. I know what you are thinking. Do not bore me with nutrition geek facts and figures and I don't want to read a journal article with information I am not sure is beneficial. So here is what you need to know and reasons to avoid added sugar: 

1. Fructose Causes the Body to Resist Insulin.

  • Hormone insulin regulates energy use and your metabolism. To make it really simple you need to know that excess fructose causes insulin resistance. For the normal athlete, someone trying to lose weight or change their body composition excess sugar will cause us to have elevated insulin levels. The body then has a hard time accessing stored fat and our brain makes us think we are hungry. So not only does the excess sugar cause the body to store energy from food into fat cells but it even makes us want to eat when we do not need to. 

2. The Hormone Leptin Is Your Friend

  • You need to know that your body stores fat for a rainy day. If you were starving your body wants to have fat cells to help keep you alive.  When you eat some of the food gets stored as fat. The bigger the fat cells the more leptin is secreted. More leptin equals less hungry so we have the energy we need and we eat less.

More fat = more leptin = we have enough energy = don’t need to eat. 

3. Increased leptin also makes us release more fat from our fat stores and raises the metabolic rate.

  • This is how it’s supposed to work, but if the brain becomes resistant to leptin (doesn’t “see” the leptin in the blood) then this regulatory process won’t work. If the brain doesn’t see the leptin, it won’t know that the fat cells are full and there won’t be any signal to tell the brain that it needs to stop eating.

Low leptin = don’t have enough energy stored = need to eat more and burn less.

4. Leptin resistance makes us fat. 

  • The brain thinks that the body is starving and makes us eat more and we burn less than we should. You will not have enough willpower to resist the urge to eat. Ever wonder when you are trying to lose weight why you are so hungry? You have to get rid of the resistance to leptin issue. You have to allow your brain to see that you have enough fat stored. Too much fructose (sugar) = leptin resistance = you think you're hungry = eat more than you burn = weight gain

5. The increased fructose intake raises your triglycerides in your blood. The triglycerides block the transmission of leptin from the blood to the brain.

More sugar = leptin resistance = poor body fat regulation = you think you need to eat

Bottomline: Sugar (fructose) causes the brain to be leptin resistant. This resistance makes the brain blind to stored fat and makes you think you need to eat. If you want to be able to regulate when you are really hungry stay away from excess fructose. Feeling like you are hungry when you are not is normal if you eat a high fructose diet. Cut out the excess fructose and staying on track with a nutrition plan is much easier.