The WAR ON SUGAR gets me down. It's not that I think sugar is something we should be eating more of, nor is it untrue that diets high in sugar tend to be associated with weight gain. In fact I would go as far as to say that in most cases, a reduction in sugar intake may be one of the most useful interventions in obese populations. So what's my issue with it?
The problem is, sugar itself is not causing people to be fat. Sugar doesn't make people fat. Example; if you were to eat ten spoons of sugar every day and nothing else, would you gain body fat? Of course not. What about twenty? No of course not. We get fat from consuming more energy than we expend over time. Sugar is tasty, and extremely easy to eat a lot of without feeling full up. For this reason it is very easy to over consume on our daily calorie intake by adding lots of additional sugar to our diet. This is also true of any food. Adding too much avocado to a diet would also result in weight gain. It is however much more feasible that someone might over eat on sugar in fancy coffees, chocolate and biscuits than by accidentally chain-eating avocados all day.
However, while sugar may be a good place to start for reducing calories in obese populations, it doesn't deserve the satanic reputation it now has in health mags and online fitspo accounts. In a healthy diet where calories, macro nutrients, micro nutrients and fibre are accounted for, the inclusion of a sugary snack serves merely as calories, within the target ranges for the day.
With this in mind, here are my six statements on the 'Truth About Weight Loss':
IF YOU CONSUME LESS CALORIES THAN YOU EXPEND CONSISTENTLY FOR A NUMBER OF WEEKS YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT, REGARDLESS OF WHERE THESE CALORIES ARE COMING FROM OR HOW THEY ARE EXPENDED. LET’S CALL THIS TARGET 1600KCAL.
IF THESE 1600KCAL ARE FROM ‘JUNK’ LIKE REFINED SUGAR, BURGERS AND POP TARTS, YOU WILL PROBABLY BE HUNGRIER AND MORE LIKELY TO QUIT AND GIVE UP. AKA CONFLICT STATEMENT ONE AND CONSUME MORE THAN 1600KCAL
IF THESE 1600KCAL ARE ENTIRELY FROM ‘CLEAN’ FOODS THAT YOU DON’T ENJOY EATING, YOU MAY WELL GET BORED, DEMOTIVATED AND END UP GIVING UP OR BINGING ON ‘CHEAT MEALS’ AKA CONFLICT STATEMENT ONE AND CONSUME MORE THAN 1600KCAL
WITHIN THESE 1600KCAL, IF PROTEIN INTAKE IS INSUFFICIENT ALONGSIDE A DECREASE IN RESISTANCE TRAINING, A GREATER AMOUNT OF WEIGHT LOSS MAY COME FROM MUSCLE THAN FAT. THIS WILL RESULT IN BODY FAT % REMAINING THE SAME OR HIGHER.
WITHIN THESE 1600KCAL, EATING HIGH PROTEIN FOODS LIKE LEAN MEATS, AND HIGH FIBRE FOODS SUCH AS LEAFY GREENS AND WHOLE GRAINS WILL KEEP YOU FULLER FOR LONGER, MAKING IT MORE LIKELY TO STICK TO YOUR CALORIE TARGET FROM STATEMENT ONE. SUFFICIENT PROTEIN INTAKE WILL ALSO FAVOUR THE MAINTENANCE OF MUSCLE TISSUE WHILE BODY FAT IS LOST.
THE LESS CALORIES WE CONSUME, THE LESS CALORIES OUR BODIES ARE WILLING TO EXPEND. REDUCING CALORIE INTAKE TOO SEVERELY FOR EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME CAN RESULT IN DECREASED ENERGY, LESS DESIRE TO MOVE OR EXERCISE AND EVEN SLOW DOWN BODILY PROCESSES. THIS CAN MAKE STATEMENT ONE VERY DIFFICULT TO ACHIEVE AS THESE FACTORS CAUSE OUR CALORIE EXPENDITURE TO DROP LOWER. AVOID THIS BY KEEPING CALORIES TO A SENSIBLE DEFICIT WHERE ENERGY LEVELS REMAIN SUFFICIENT TO KEEP ACTIVE.
SUGAR, FAT, PROCESSED FOODS, CARBS, INSULIN SPIKES, MEAL TIMING, ETC, CAN’T ‘MAKE YOU FAT’ OR PREVENT WEIGHT LOSS IF YOU STICK TO STATEMENT ONE. THEY CAN HOWEVER, MAKE IT HARDER FOR SOME PEOPLE TO STICK TO THIS STATEMENT, ULTIMATELY RESULTING IN FAILURE.
EXERCISE CLASSES, FAD DIETS, GOOD FATS AND PROTEIN SHAKES CAN’T MAKE YOU LOSE WEIGHT IF YOU ARE NOT STICKING TO STATEMENT ONE. THEY MAY HOWEVER MAKE IT EASIER TO STICK TO THIS STATEMENT FOR SOME PEOPLE.
USE THESE STATEMENTS TO FIND A STRATEGY THAT BEST HELPS YOU ADHERE TO STATEMENT ONE. FOR MORE TIPS CHECK OUT MY PRACTICAL WEIGHT LOSS ADVICE ARTICLE