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The Pesky Weight Gain Culprit…Sugar

Before and After BMI

May 14, 2010

The Pesky Weight Gain Culprit…Sugar

I often have people tell me that they have cut sweets out of their diet and sworn off sugar. The problem is that sugar is everywhere, not just in candy, sodas, and desserts. Sugar is in all refined carbohydrates-bread, rice, pasta, beer and milk. For example, during digestion, one slice of white bread is converted into the same amount of glucose in your blood stream as 4 tablespoons of sugar. Most people realize that sugar is not a weight loss food, but do you understand why it makes you heavy? When you eat sugar, it is like flipping a switch and it tells your body to store fat. Basically what happens is every time you eat sugar, your blood sugar level rises quickly. This stimulates the release of insulin; insulin is the hormone that signals your body to store fat. This is also a dose response as the more sugar you eat at one time results in a greater rise in blood sugar and therefore in insulin, the higher both of these are, the longer your body stays in fat storage mode. Research shows that keeping blood glucose levels in check decreases appetite and reduces your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. There are a few strategies I recommend you follow that current research has shown may help to slow the rate at which sugar is absorbed into your bloodstream.

Try a Natural Supplement

University of Scranton researchers gave study participants 1,500 milligrams of Phaseolus vulgaris extract (this is in white kidney beans) before a high sugar meal and the test subjects’ blood-glucose levels were 57% lower 2 hours later, compared with those who consumed a placebo. Why? Phaseolus vulgaris inhibits the enzyme that breaks down starchy carbohydrates (potatoes or grains) in your gut. The product they tested in the study was Phase 2 Starch Blocker. You can find this online at ($25 for 120 capsules).

Eat Java-Friendly Foods

Canadian researchers discovered that men who downed the caffeine equivalent of 1 to 2 cups of coffee an hour before a high-sugar meal experienced 16% higher levels of blood glucose afterward compared with when they consumed a caffeine-free placebo. The point is: when it’s not paired with sugar, caffeine increases the rate at which your body burns fat. So, whenever possible, drink the coffee but skip the muffin, bagel, or doughnut. Opt for a protein and a carb like eggs and fruit, this combo will have little effect on your blood glucose.

Pay Attention to Your Protein Bar

Scientists at Ohio State University recently studied the effects of three popular energy bars containing varying amounts of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels. The findings were that with the bar with the highest amount of protein and lowest amount of carbs blood glucose levels were 71% lower. The lesson here is to read labels carefully and make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck with your protein bar. Try to find one that has at least 10 grams of protein, less than 10 grams of sugar and no more than 15 grams of carb. The best I have found are the Healthwise bars that we carry in the office; Pure protein bars are also an excellent choice.

Weight Train in the Morning

Scientists at Syracuse University recently found that a single weight-training session reduces the effect of a high-sugar meal on blood glucose by 15% for more than 12 hours after a workout. The most likely reason for this is that exercise drains your muscles’ fuel reserves (stored glucose known as glycogen). To make sure your body has plenty of energy for your next workout; your body immediately shuffles any available glucose to your muscles, where it is stored for future use, which helps to reduce blood glucose levels. So until glycogen levels are replenished, which can take a number of hours, high-sugar foods aren’t as harmful. You can also expect a similar effect from your cardio session since aerobic exercise calls on glycogen also.

Use Vinaigrette with Your Salad

In study done in 2005, Swedish researchers observed that when people consumed 2 tablespoons of vinegar with three slices of white bread, their blood glucose was 23% lower than when they ate white bread only; they also felt fuller. They discovered this was due to acetic acid, which is the primary component of vinegar, dressings, and pickled products. So order extra pickles on sandwiches and have a salad that is mixed with a vinegar based dressing like Italian or Balsamic Vinaigrette. It would be even better to make your own vinegar and oil dressing by slowly whisking 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a bowl containing 2 tablespoons of red or white vinegar.

Try a few of these strategies daily to keep your blood sugar stable which will help decrease your appetite and cravings and increase your body’s ability to burn fat.