Don’t be afraid of Sugar

Teaspoon of Sugar
A teaspoon of sugar has 15 Calories

Many people try to lose weight by cutting down on the amount of sweets that they eat.  This is a good idea, but it will not be effective unless the total calories in the diet are reduced.

A study compared two diets containing 1100 Calories.[1]   The diets had the same percentages of fat (11%), protein (19%) and carbohydrate (71%).  The only difference was where the carbohydrates came from. In one group, 43% of the calories came from white sugar (about 118 grams or 30 teaspoons). In the other diet, only 4% came from white sugar (about 11 grams or 3 teaspoons), and the rest was derived from starches and complex carbohydrates.  Both groups experienced the same decreases in weight, blood pressure, percentage body fat, and the same changes in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.  The fasting blood sugar was reduced to the same extent in both groups.  Each group lost about 7 kilograms (almost 15 pounds) over the 6 weeks of the study.  The authors concluded that:

“the use of sucrose in a weight-loss regimen is unlikely to cause problems for the average patient, as long as total energy intake is restricted.”

Although white sugar will not make you fat, it is a highly refined carbohydrate that does not have any other nutrients.  If you want something sweet, it is better to eat oranges, pears, grapes, dates, raisins, and other fruits which have fiber and natural vitamins and minerals.  If you want to lose weight, you have to reduce the total calories in your diet, but you don’t have to be afraid of sugar in small quantities.

[1] Surwit RS, et al., Metabolic and behavioral effects of a high-sucrose diet during weight loss, Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Apr; 65(4):908-15. PMID: 9094871

1 thought on “Don’t be afraid of Sugar

  1. All this really shows is that people lose weight when they cut calories. Maybe the spoonfuls-of-sugar diet is “unlikely to cause a problem” in six weeks, but eating that much sugar all the time certainly will. I stick to the mantra that you’ve written yourself, Tony. First, eat to fulfill all your nutritional needs. Then cut calories. And when comes calorie-cutting time, what better to cut than sugar and refined flour?

    Not only will you lose weight, but you will thrive.

    Of course you know all that.

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