Correct me if I am wrong, but all food causes a rise in blood sugars, but carbs make it rise more quickly than fat or protein. This causes an Insulin release, which is larger if there is more blood sugar in your body. Insulin stores excess blood sugar as glycogen, and body fat for later use, which drops you blood sugar down, and eventually you feel hungry again.
Eating sugary, or easily digestible foods causes a much larger spike, and therefore a lot of Insulin is released. This makes your blood sugar drop quickly, which is why you feel hungry after a carby, sugary, or liquid meal, within an hour or two. Foods higher in fat, protein, or fiber, take longer to digest, and put less glucose into the bloodstream, in quantities that our bodies can use, without spiking our blood sugar, and causing a huge release of Insulin. This keeps us from having a crash, and feeling hungry.
I eat a 60% fat diet, and have improving health, weight loss, and no hunger. Besides sugar having no nutritional benefit, it does cause spikes in blood sugar, as do most high carb foods. Fat doesn't cause you to be fat, and is a lot healthier to eat than sugary, processed carbs. Avoid Trans fats, and sugars, and eat healthy fats, and low glycemic carbs, and you will lose weight, while not having cravings.
BEARCLAW ~ what an amazing factoid about breathing off fat! perhaps someone ought to design a study on how types of exercise which induce elevated respiratory rates affect weight loss. hmmm
And to the OP --- because eating fat doesn't make you fat! sugar and carbs (which are essentially complex sugars) are the culprits. Stay away from all that no-fat/low-fat/reduced-fat faux food. What IS that stuff, anyway.
FROGMAN, I always love your posts! we have some good and knowledgeable people on these boards. I wish our "leaders" in high places (like the USDA, et al) would get on board.
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Yes, AuntieAnne. My understanding is basically that constantly hitting your system with sugar causes inflammation. That inflammation causes cardiovascular damage. Cholesterol comes in as part of the process of repairing the damage and then everyone notices the cholesterol there and blames it for the damage! It is sort of like blaming firefighters for the fire. So yes, there is another thing wrong with sugar. Not to mention that some people are now suggesting that the increased glucose causes oxidative damage that is responsible for some aging, skin wrinkles (and maybe even that 2000 US national election fiasco).
Guess what they are measuring when they do a hemoglobin A1C test? The glucose-oxidative damage to hemoglobin caused by glucose. That kind of damage isn't limited to hemoglobin but is going on all over your body.
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There is current thinking and research that shows that it is sugar which actually causes heart disease and not fat. Please read Fat Chance by Robert H. Lustig, M.D.
Going fat free is not necessarily the best approach. It may lead to overeating. Also, when they take the fat out, sugar is usually added to make the taste better. Fat free salad dressings are not a good idea because you need some fat to use the nutrients in the vegetables.
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Dragonchilde, you are right on. A person has to eat fewer calories than they burn to lose weight. Some wisecracker even showed you could lose weight on an all-twinkie diet, I think.
Now, here is the hard part.....staying satisfied while you eat a calorie deficit. I will give myself as an example. If I binge and eat four donuts (lots of carbs), then an hour later I crave, I need, I must have the two I didn't have room for at the first sitting. If I eat two slices of pizza (lots of carbs, lots of fat), then in the middle of the night the other two slices call to me. And here's the kicker.....if I have no pizza, but there is pizza in the fridge at night, it DOESN'T call to me! I can resist if I eat none, but I can't resist if I have a little. I have never had that happen with a fatty foods like ribs or steak. Steak never calls to be in the middle of the night. Steak never fills me up and leaves me hungry again in an hour. Carbs do that to me all the time. So for me, I can actually do that magical thing of eating in a calorie deficit if I eat lots of protein and fat, but I simply cannot do it if I eat lots of carbs. Funny that I have willpower around ribs but not donuts. More power to the person who can eat 60% of calories from carbs and resist eating between meals.....I have never been able to do that.
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All the chemistry arguing aside, I wanted to address this one statement in the OP:
"I understand that if I want to lose fat I need to quit eating fattening food"
That's actually incorrect! There's no such thing as a "fattening food." There is no food that, when consumed, causes your body to become fat. What causes you to get fat is taking in more calories than your body needs to function. You can get fat on "healthy foods" if you overindulge in them, and you can lose weight on "fattening foods" if you eat less of them.
Quality DOES matter (high quality whole foods fuel your body better, keep you fuller longer, fight cravings, and make the whole process safer and healthier) but the concept of a "fattening" food is one based in the diet mentality.
I have lost the weight I have eating some "fattening foods." That includes sweets, things like pizza, pasta, and even junk food like fast food. I make 80% of my diet healthy, including whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, and lean means. But indulging in the occasional treat is not going to sabotage your efforts. There is no food you need to avoid (for most people. Of course there will always be medical exceptions to every rule.) in order to lose weight. "Fat free" products usually pay for the loss of the fat by increasing other things we don't need, like sugar, or sodium, to make up for the lost flavor.
Personally, I'd rather have a small amount of the real thing than a lot of the frankenfood crap that passes for "diet food" these days. A tablespoon of ranch dressing has 60 calories in it (thereabouts) and tastes amazing. A bit of olive oil has the healthy fats my body needs, and tastes SO good in the food I eat. I'd rather have that than the bland, sodium-laden crap that is trying to convince me it's not "fattening."
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OK, as a biochemist, I can't let this one slide on by. By "cellular respiration" I assume you mean respiration....which is the process by which oxygen and organic molecules are converted to CO2, water and energy (in the form of ATP). Sugar does not contribute to this process other than being broken down during glycolysis into acetyl-CoA and some energy. That acetyl-CoA enters the tricarboxylic acid cycle where oxygen (respiration) comes in. And guess what....that is exactly where fatty acids are broken down and come in, too! Yes....as hard as it is to believe to the carbohydrate lovers out there, but fats can actually be used for energy, too, thus making the need to eat lots of carbs unnecessary. And unlike fats, carbs do not contribute to the structure of the cell and are thus only used for energy. Thanks to the lovely gluconeogenesis that converts parts of fats and proteins into carbs in the liver, you never need to eat any carbs to get all the carbs that a brain will need to be healthy and functioning. While you are checking this, glance at what your biochemistry text says about insulin and fat storage.....very enlightening and a huge argument for keeping insulin low to encourage weight loss....and the way to keep insulin low is to avoid carbs!
Cool fact about weight loss. As you burn that fat, it doesn't leave your body through your sweat, urine or stool or just mysteriously going away....it leaves through your breath in the form of CO2 and water vapor. I find it really amazing to think that all that I am actually breathing my weight off!
Edited by: BEARCLAW6 at: 6/17/2013 (14:16)
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Sugar itself is not bad. Some studies show artificial sugars are harmful to the body, but this is young research and most sugars you consume in a healthy diet are from fruits and grains. Carbohydrates (which is nothing more than sugar) is extremely important in our diet, and one of nutrients that require the most consumption. It fuels our body, and is the very basis for 'cellular respiration' (the process of converting sugars into usable energy).
The problem with candy and other types of sugary sweets is not the sugar as much as it is the empty calories, high fats, and the fact that it doesn't fill you up. This can greatly affect your health and weight loss if you eat them on a daily basis.
Sugars in white breads and other breads are no 'worse' for you than in whole grains, but they do convert to energy pretty quickly and just like with candy don't keep you full for very long.
Oh, I should probably mention the link between sugar and diabetes. While high amounts of sugar do increase the risk of diabetes you would generally have to be consuming so much sugar that you are extremely overweight to be able to develop diabetes. If you are fairly healthy and at a fairly good weight than chances are you do not need to be too worried about how many grams of sugar you are eating.
There is a great deal of research recently that has found that a calorie is not a calorie and not all calories are created equally. Sugar molecules are processed by the body differently and all that is not burned is not completely stored a fat to be burned later by much is store as fat in the liver. Even the government (who I believe from reading a few books on the subject created the obesity epidemic) has acknowledge this in a backhanded way by changing the food pyramid to the plate.
I cannot do the biology justice from memory but there are a number of books that do a good job including What makes us Fat by Gary Taubes, and Fat Chance by Robert Lustig.
I think everyone (the general population) really needs to get over the fat phobia. Fat does not make you fat. I invite you to look at my nutritional tracker for yesterday June 16th. I don't track everyday but my fat intake is always 100g or more a day. I was very busy yesterday, so I was on the go and didn't get to eat anywhere near the amount of non starchy vegetables that I usually like to consume but it illustrates the fact that you can eat fat, a lot of fat and not get fat.
Sugar/Sweets (even the artificially-sweetened ones) have a tendency to create more hunger, unfortunately.
Of course the others who have explained all that in previous posts have done an excellent job, and provided great links.
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There is zero nutritional value in sugar.
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I love my sweets. The more sugar I eat, the more I want to eat. If I have too much sugar in my diet, I binge eat. So I try to limit my intake. Since I've been eating less sugar and eating healthier, I have way more *lasting* energy, no afternoon crash. When I have indulged and eaten too much sugar, I now get a serious sugar hangover the next day. Seriously though, it feels just like I drank too much alcohol. I'm exhausted all day, have a headache, feel irritable etc.
I still enjoy sweets every now and then. I just try not to overdo it. But they're dangerous for me, once I start... it's very difficult for me to stop. Sugar is sooo addictive for me, it's like a drug. I find the less I eat (limiting my intake of added sugars, choosing more veg over fruit etc.) the less I crave it and the less likely I am to overeat (gain weight). Even at my goal weight it's an ongoing battle. Me vs. Sugar.
Sugar also spikes you're insulin levels which tells your body to store fat. Your body needs insulin but an excess has no where to go, so your body will store it for later. Now on a calorie deficit (ie: when you're losing weight), it shouldn't cause you to gain weight because you're burning more calories than you're consuming. However, when you're maintaining... high insulin levels could cause you to store fat and gain weight, more than say, your proteins which do not cause an insulin spike. Protein always trumphs both of its sister macronutrients but our bodies do require all three.
Basically though, fat can cause you to gain weight because it's calorie dense. It contains 9 calories per gram whereas carbs and protein contain only 4 cals per gram. So it's very easy to consume too many calories. Sugar burns off quickly and leaves you hungry again shortly after which may lead to consuming too many calories. Our primordial instincts cause us to crave it because in times of famine it would make sense to want consume fat-storing food as possible (similarly to calorie-dense fat).
Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 6/16/2013 (11:44)
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288 6/16/13 9:49 A
Recall seeing this write up on sugar concerning concerns many have for the negative health impact it can have, when eaten in excess for long periods of time with weight gain and other areas of health. I thought it interesting reading.
My endocrinologist says sugar alcohols are a nightmare..... they mimic sugar so well that the body produces insulin to metabolize them and might make many people drinking diet drinks and eating diet food even make you crave more and more food. What' wrong with sugar? Sugar induces salt and water retention. Sugar causes high blood pressure & can increase cholesterol. Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides. Sugar can cause drowsiness & sugar can increase the amount of liver fat. Sugar can contribute to diabetes. Sugar can cause depression. Sugar substitutes are no better!
Fat is far more satiating than carbs...a couple of avocado slices, a tbsp.of Olive Oil for cooking, fatty fish, black olives, walnuts....all have healthy fats
Please see a medical professional for individual advice as this is not intended as medical advice.
It's not so much the sugar itself that's an issue, it's the fact that it uses up your calorie allowance and doesn't give you any nutrients in return.
Sometimes it helps to think of calories and nutrition the same way you think of money and budgeting. There's a difference between price and value. You can get adorable little plastic flip-flop sandals at WalMart for next to nothing, while good leather snow boots are really expensive. But if it's January in Wisconsin, you'd better buy your kid the snow boots. You're going to get a visit from child protective services if you send her out in flip-flops, no matter how cute or how many pairs you bought her. Even if you spent just as much money, you didn't provide for her needs, so you're not being a good mom. Being a good mom to your own body means looking out for her needs, not just indulging her wants. Sugar is like cute plastic-- it's what you use as a treat if there's money/calories left over after all the needs are paid for. Fat, on the other hand, is like gasoline. You have to have some, no matter how much you hate spending your calories/money on it, but you do everything possible to make sure you don't spend more on that than you have to. Get as much as you need, but no more.
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9,363 6/14/13 4:56 P
We're ALL learning!! And what works for one person may not always work for another, because we're all different. But there are some basics things (calories in/calories out) that are relatively applicable across the board.
Keep asking those questions ... you're in the right place!
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Blood sugar levels and weight loss (or weight gain!) are pretty closely related. Some hormones are directly affected by sugar spikes in the bloodstream! I'm learning, too.
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There is another thing to think about. Some of us (maybe you, too) find that if we eat something sugary or starchy that we get hungry (and sleepy) not much after that. For example, I can eat 2 Tbs of peanut butter (the real stuff) and be happy for three hours but if I put that same peanut butter on two slices of nice starchy bread and I am hungry again in an hour. That gets me 1) eating more calories in the first place with added bread and 2) eating more calories later by being hungry sooner. Low fat or not, the goal is the get through the whole day and every day eating fewer calories than you burn to lose weight. Part of that is eating only until satisfied rather than full and the other part of that is total calories for the day. Sometimes a few calories of fat and protein can go a lot father to that goal than a few calories of sugar or starch.....for some of us.
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So true :)
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2,276 6/14/13 3:05 P
:) What's the point of living if you're not learning, right?
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Thank you for the response but right after I posted this I saw the answer to my question on another thread. I'm learning :)
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
2,276 6/14/13 2:51 P
While I don't know/have time to research the answer to the sugar part of your question, I am going to contest the first part of your post.
To lose weight, you need to eat a lower number of calories than you expend. To minimize the muscle loss when trying to lose weight (because muscle cells are easier to break down than fat cells) you need to exercise. Healthy fats are an important part of the nutrition equation since fats keep us fuller longer. So full-fat dressing and pudding is fine, as long as you eat moderate amounts so you can stay in your calorie range. I personally don't like the taste of full fat greek yogurt, milk, etc but I love avocados, nuts, and cheese which are full of all sorts of fat.
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I understand that if I want to lose fat I need to quit eating fattening food. But what is wrong with Fat Free Chocolate Puddings, or Fat Free Kraft Dressing. If there isn't any fat than what is the problem? I am not diabetic but I know that too much sugar is hard on your pancreas, however that has nothing to do with losing weight right?
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