Blog By: Aishwarya Ghumekar
Sugar’s effects on weight management and your health aren’t as cut and dried as you might think. Here’s what the research really has to say!
Having spent more than a decade in the fitness industry, I’ve seen every macronutrient demonized at various points. And the object of this demonetization changes every few years.
In the 1970s and ’80s it was fat, with protein caught in that undertow as well. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, carbohydrates were demonized, a trend that’s coming back around. Protein has gotten some new undeserved hatred again recently. And then there’s the on-again, off-again battle that consumes other ingredients, such as dairy and gluten.
Of course, everything that’s out of favor at one point is revered as The Answer at another. Fat, protein, carbs, dairy—they’ve all been linked to health benefits and improved body composition. And you can easily find diets that uses those links to amp them up bizarrely, to the exclusion of almost everything else.
But sugar…that’s an easy one. Everyone these days seems to agree that sugar is bad with a capital B. It is the singular cause of the global obesity epidemic, and the first item you should cut from your diet…right?
Turns out it’s not nearly as simple as you probably think. Open your mind, and get ready for the sweet—and not so sweet—truths of the world’s most popular sweetener.
What’s So Bad About Sugar?
Let’s start with the big guns. Research has associated high sugar intake with increased rates of obesity, heart disease, and cancer. [1-3] Many fitness and research professionals suggest reducing or eliminating sugar intake to optimize health and body composition.
This seems logical at first. But the next question is the big one: Is it the sugar that does the damage, or the extra calories it brings? Because those calories can definitely be significant. A typical can of soda contains around 40-50 grams of sugar, and drinking two cans per day could increase your daily calories by a whopping 300-400.