On of the most common sense of all weight loss tips is that you can lose weight by doing little more than keeping a close eye on your daily sugar intake through the food that you eat. So how does that work, exactly?
Well, its a total no-brainer to know that you are what you eat and if you eat only good, wholesome, healthy foods in the right quantities to balance the amount of calories you burn in a day, you are simply not going to gain any weight at all. Period. No arguments there. But unfortunately, how many of us are that well disciplined in our eating habits?
Not many, that’s for sure and its not helped by supermarket shelves being stocked with a plethora of sugar-laden processed foods that we tend to buy and eat. So it pays to read the label on everything before we buy it. Yep, another complete no-brainer but it’s staggering when you realize just how many people don’t do that! So what’s the deal with sugar?
Ok, our body needs the stuff to function, but it only needs what it needs and any excess gets stored as fat for later use. If we don’t get to that “later use” part, the fat storage keeps happening until we gain weight. If nothing is done to change our eating habits and our exercise habits, the weight will simply continue to pile on and it won’t stop until we’re dead from an obesity related illness, heart attack or stroke.
So what can be done to prevent that happening?
Easy. The first thing to do is to know how to recognize the sugar present in the food we eat and to balance what we take in by exercising to burn it off. So what sugars are in our food?
There are two main groups of sugars in food, which are intrinsic and extrinsic sugars.
Intrinsic sugars are those found in fruit and vegetables in their natural state. This is contained in within the actual cell structure of the fruits and vegetables. We don’t need to make any cutbacks with regards to intrinsic sugars because these form a part of the essential vitamins, minerals and fibres that we need in our daily diet for good health.
Extrinsic sugars are those sugars that are not contained withing the cell structure of the foods. They fall into two main groups. The first is milk sugars, or those which occur in milk and milk/dairy products and are combined with proteins and calcium. The second is non-milk extrinsic sugars (NME) and these are the ones that are added to foods by humans to make them sweeter to the taste, as a preservative or to increase their bulk.
It is the last group, or NME’s that are the main cause for concern when it comes to weight gain. That’s because they are present in large quantities in things like fizzy soda drinks, cakes and biscuits, breakfast cereals and in some savoury foods such as ready meals, peanut butter, baked beans and crisps (potato chips). These are the things that cause weight gain and while you should always read the label, come on, you know these foods are going to make you gain weight just by looking at them, so DON’T DO IT!
There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) set for sugar consumption, although there damn well should be! The advice from the Foods Standards Agency is is that consumption of NME’s (added sugars) should not exceed 10% of your daily energy intake. For a woman of average size and build, that equates to no more than 50g (1.76oz) a day.
So be wary of what you eat and do read the label, as it will go some way to helping you to put things back on the shelf if they contain too much added sugar. By the way, added sugar is not always labeled as “added sugar” just to try and confuse you. Here’s a list of alternative names for “added sugar”, so you know what to avoid:
- Corn Syrup
- Maple Syrup
- Raw Sugar
- Fruit Juice Concentrate
- Modified Corn Starch
Yep, these are all added sugars and the quantities add up to the same thing, so a product with 10g (0.35oz) of corn syrup (or any of the above list) is the same as 10g (0.35oz) of sugar. So do your math and enjoy a treat every now and then, but just stay below the threshold and you will keep your weight in check. Stay well below that and do daily exercises and you will lose weight. Its a pretty simple equation, really!