Health

The One Diet Tip You Really Can't Ignore

Published On 02/15/2016 Published On 02/15/2016
Chona Kasinger /Thrillist

If you're one of the countless people desperately looking to lose weight faster, you don't need any "weird tricks," crazy supplements, or spiritual gurus. All you need to do is make one ridiculously simple change: eat less sugar.

Of course, "simple" is much different from "easy." Here's why sugar's such a big fat-driver, and how to start reducing how much you eat.

Give hormones a little credit (for once)

Most people think that burning more calories than you eat is the key to weight loss, but that's only half the story. The other half -- which most people are totally clueless about -- is the role your hormones play in how quickly and easily you lose weight. 

What does this have to do with sugar? Basically, when you eat foods containing sugar, your pancreas has to release insulin to process it. If you don't eat too much, and you don't have any metabolic concerns (think diabetes), you probably won't notice anything. 

But if you consume too much sugar, like from a can of soda or a sugary yogurt, your pancreas has to release a boatload of insulin. Do this often enough, and your cells start to become resistant to insulin, which raises your blood sugar levels, and can result in gaining fat

When your blood sugar levels eventually come crashing back down, you'll feel tired and hungry -- your blood sugar's low, which activates ghrelin, a hormone that tells your body, "I'M SO HUNGRY." So when your diet contains too much sugar you get trapped in a cycle of eating lots of sugar, getting a brief sugar high, storing some sugar as fat, and craving more sugar when your blood sugar crashes. 

The short version? One of the smartest things you can start doing to speed up weight loss, while also avoiding terrible hunger pangs, is to simply eat less sugar.

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

But if I'm trapped in this cycle, how do I escape? 

This is going to sound crazy, but one simple habit you can develop is reading the nutrition facts label on the back of packaged foods to see how much sugar they contain. Many people who are looking to lose weight never do this, which is a huge dieting mistake given that there are lots of "healthy" foods that contain loads of hidden sugar. Starting to realize how much added sugar you consume will help you limit it, especially if you can internalize that 4g of sugar is about a teaspoon. That can of soda is less appetizing when you imagine swallowing almost 10tsp of white sugar in a row.

Another good rule of thumb: if your food contains more grams of sugar than grams of protein, or if sugar is in the first three ingredients in your food, it's best to go with another option if faster weight loss is your goal. 
 

Bottom line

Ultimately, eating less sugar is a solid way to go about things if you're looking to lose weight faster, for two major reasons: eating less sugar helps your body maintain insulin sensitivity, and when you eat less sugar you'll avoid the blood sugar spikes and crashes that ultimately lead to hunger and more cravings for sugar. 

The end result is that by eating less sugar you'll be able to burn body fat a lot faster, you won't feel as hungry, and you’ll get in fantastic shape without the need to kill yourself hour after hour in the gym. 

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Dr. Phoenyx Austin, M.D. is a certified sports medicine specialist and the creator of FitBeauty nutritional supplements for healthy hair and body. Find Dr. Phoenyx on her website and YouTube channel where she shares her passion for all things fitness, natural beauty, and healthy living.

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