Here are a few interesting facts about sugar and carbohydrates which hopefully will help you figure out how to use the information to help you lose weight.
There are 56 different types of sugar. Most of the names end in “ose”.
Our bodies get their energy to survive from two sources; sugar (or glucose) and fat. If you decrease the amount of sugar going in, the body will convert the fat on your body to energy.
Sugar is generally measured two ways – in calories (or energy) and in sweetness. Sweeteners have calories but because their sweetness level is so much higher than sugar, you need far less to get the same effect and so the amount of calories becomes negligible.
When you read a nutrition label, it usually shows Carbs first and just under says “of which sugars” and another reading. Carbohydrates are made up of sugar, fibre and starch. The combination of the 3 is known as Gross Carbs and just the sugar is known as Net Carbs.
Sugar is not an “essential” nutrient. We don’t need to eat it every day because our bodies get the right type of sugar from our vegetables and fruit. It can also convert protein and the fat on our bodies into sugar.
Our bodies only need 4 grams of glucose (which is a sugar) in our bloodstream at any time to live. Anything over that will be stored as glycogen … or converted to fat!
Nature was incredibly clever when she made natural sugar. She combined it with fibre as in sugar cane, fruit, vegetables, sugar beet etc. The fibre is essential to stop the body being flooded with too much sugar. It’s far better to have sugar in its natural form with the fibre than separated as in refined sugar and fruit juices as the body can’t cope and will eventually cause illness.
The lactose in milk is a sugar. You may be shocked to know there is less lactose or sugar in full fat milk than in low fat. There is less sugar in cream than in milk! It’s the combination of fat and sugar together that makes you put on weight. If you are a coffee or tea-aholic and drink milk in it, try cutting that milk out for a week and see what happens to your weight.
In any food manufacturing process, when they reduce fat, they increase the sugar content because fat = flavour. This is why low fat yoghurt is usually very high in sugar.
When you read food labels, the most important thing to check is the sugar level. If you want to lose weight, don’t eat anything with more than 10 grams net sugar per 100 grams, preferably keep it below 5 grams.
On a keto diet, they recommend you stick to less than 20grams of net carbs (sugar) per day. On low carb or Banting they aim for about 30 grams of net carbs a day. A banana has 31 grams of net carbs.
Next time you are shopping, pick up a ready made diet meal and check the amount of carbs and sugar. Remembering what I’ve said in the paragraph above, I think you may be surprised.
I am constantly shocked that people think we actually need carbohydrates to live … in fact the government even tells us that. Yes we need carbs but not the refined ones. Think about the caveman or cultures like inuits or the masai in Kenya (who are famous for long distance running). Cakes, sweets, biscuits, bread, fruit juices etc were never part of their diets. They survived, and thrived, on meat, milk, blood, roots and berries. We were designed to get the glucose we need from fruit, vegetables and protein. If you don’t believe me, try it for two weeks. I’ll wager you will lose weight and feel fantastic!