Weight Loss : the role of sugar

If you are in a weight loss diet it is advisable to keep away from sugar as far as possible. In fact sugar has been accused of contributing to illnesses like obesity, alcoholism and hyperactivity since ages.

Sugars that occur naturally in foods and also supply key nutrients are good. This includes fresh and frozen fruits (apple, orange, banana, pineapple and blueberries), common vegetables like tomato, spinach, cucumber, carrots and broccoli and low- fat milk (soymilk and skim milk). Foods that are typically loaded with sugar are bad for you and you need to limit their intake. This includes orange juice/apple juice, 8 oz (5.5 teaspoons), soda (coke, sprite) 20oz (16 teaspoons) and dried fruit, 1 cup (21 teaspoons). The natural sugar in whole fruits is fine but you should restrict yourself to nothing further than that.
As far as weight loss or maintenance is concerned, it is important to keep your intake of sugar down to moderate levels. Since it is a carbohydrate, it is metabolized immediately by the body, and is converted to fat only if present in quantities too large to be used at once. Moreover it is often found in combination with high levels of fat in foods such as pastries and ice creams. Sugar is also a source of “empty calories.” Empty calories refer to those calories that are not accompanied by any nutrient value. For example the sugar in cappuccino or muffin will take a big chunk out of your calorie quota for the day without moving you closer to your daily goals for vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

However some people find that even moderate amounts of sugar lead to cravings for yet more sweets, often of the high-fat variety. If you are one of these people, you should completely eliminate processed sugars from your diet, relying instead on the natural sweetness of fruits, vegetables, and grains. These foods are much better for weight loss and good diet nutrition.

The natural sugar that you buy at the grocery store has approximately 15 calories per teaspoon. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 8 teaspoons of added sugar per day based on a 2,000 calories/day diet. That comes to 32 grams or about 6% of your total calories each day. If you have a bowl of sweetened cereal for breakfast, a cup of fruit yogurt for a snack, and a scoop of sherbet for dessert you have had more than 20 teaspoons of sugar without even opening the sugar jar. In fact the average American consumes more than 20 teaspoons of added sugar each day that too without counting the natural sugars found in such foods as fruits, fruit juices and milk.

According to the American Dietetic Association, regular sodas and other sugary beverages may be hard on the waistline. These liquids tend to be less filling than solids. High fructose corn syrup-the sweetener found in almost all sugary drinks-further tricks the body by blunting insulin and leptin that make you feel full. A can of soda might
quench your thirst, but those 150 calories and 10 teaspoons of sugar won’t do anything to satisfy your hunger.

Sugary drinks and snacks can set the stage for cavities as well. Several studies indicate that diets high in sugar can quickly boost triglycerides and fats in the blood that can clog the arteries.

You actually gain weight when the caloric intake is higher than the calories burnt each day in course of your normal activities/exercises. Obesity is the result of eating too much food that too those foods with high-caloric content. The best way to maintain a healthy weight is to eat reasonable amounts, drink plenty of water and maintain an appropriate level of physical activity. With pure all-natural sugar as part of your active lifestyle, you will have the energy you need to take your life in a healthy direction.