Fat Loss Nutrition

How Sugar Prevents Weight Loss


There are 119 songs about sugar.

It has 30 different aliases.

Sugar is used as a term of endearment for loved ones.

To “sugar” something means to make it more pleasing.

Is it safe to say that we are obsessed with sugar? Some 10,000 years after we apparently began cultivating the stuff, those sweet granules remain as enchanting as ever.

So enchanting that we keep eating and drinking it, even though it’s making us fat, impairing our brains, causing a diabetes epidemic and spoiling our appetite for healthy food.

Talk about tough love.

Sugar stems from an ancient word for grit or gravel — which is starting to seem appropriate.

But Eating 3 Lbs of Sugar a Week is Only Partially Our Fault

Curbing sugar is no cakewalk. People who are trying to eat healthier usually say that sugar is the #1 toughest thing to cut out. When you need a pick-me-up, you need a pick-me-up, right? What are you supposed to do, just fall asleep mid-afternoon? (P.S. That pick-me-up is kind of a myth: in the long run, sugar acts more like a tranquilizer.)

But do we really even love sugar that much? Or are we just helplessly exposed to it day-in and day-out?

As David writes in IdealShape’s new book, sugar is covertly added to so many foods and beverages that we become dependent on it without realizing it. How can you break a sugar habit you don’t even know about?

Sugar can be found in abundance in foods that don’t taste sweet, including savory foods, junk foods and processed foods. It doesn’t help that sugar goes by more code names than Prince.

Sugar is also a commonly-used preservative — as if keeping food fresh is more important than keeping us healthy. Dr. David Katz puts it perfectly: “All too often, the things that extend the shelf life of food tend to shorten the shelf life of those eating the food.”

Don’t get me wrong: a moderate amount of sugar is fine. The American Heart Association approves up to 6 teaspoons of sugar a day for women and 9 teaspoons for men. The problem is that while many of us imagine we’re keeping to a few teaspoons a day, in reality we’re downing about 22 teaspoons a day — and we have no idea.

The Sugar Throwdown

We aren’t doomed. We may feel outmatched, outnumbered and outwitted, but there are things we can do, as David shows in “Think: Use Your Mind to Shrink Your Waistline”, which give us more power to reinforce our commitment to reducing sugar.

It’s no coincidence, by the way, that the “Think” chapter about breaking sugar dependence is the longest one in the book. Sugar is one of worst saboteurs of weight loss because it weakens both your body and mind. Having a “toxic brain” hinders your ability to stick with your guns in creating ANY health change (you’ll definitely want to learn more about this in the book).

But, like I said, most of us are completely unaware of how much sugar we’re eating. Consider that a challenge! Go and track your sugar intake for a few days. If you find that you’re being blindsided by sugar-coated punches — from sudden cravings and crafty nutrition labeling to clever advertising (cough *Coca-Cola* cough) — then it’s time to put up your dukes.

The most important thing to do is arm yourself with daily reinforcement, which is where IdealShape’s brain training comes in. It helps you become aware of sabotage around you and prepared to deal with it in the moment.

Let the sugar battle begin!

Get started: Grab the ‘Decreasing Your Dependence on Sugar’ CD

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Chelsea Ratcliff

Chelsea Ratcliff

Writer and expert

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