Weight loss: Eating too much sugar can lead to ‘sudden fat gain’ – healthier food swaps

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Eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain due to foods containing high levels of sugar having lots of calories. This can mean eating too much food without realising, jeopardising weight loss. 

While following a healthier lifestyle is all about balance, eating excessive amounts of sugar can cause complications.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Alex Ruani, a Doctoral Researcher in nutrition science education At University College London and Chief Science Educator at The Health Sciences Academy explained: “Eating too much sugar may mean taking in an excessive amount of calories, far more than we need, and this can lead to putting on weight.

“But besides this, there are other reasons why excess sugar may be fattening.

“Sugary foods and drinks tend to be less filling. Not only because they may be lower in fibre and protein, both of which promote feelings of fullness, but research also shows that high sugar intake may make us hungrier.”

The expert added: “Sweet tasting foods and drinks light up reward and addiction centres in the brain, enhancing cravings for all things sugary, while reducing the enjoyment of less palatable foods.

“Put simply, healthier foods are more likely to be displaced in favour of sugary items.

“All in all, the detrimental alteration of hunger hormones, and the heightened brain reward from sweet tasting foods and drinks, may encourage eating more calories – and this can make us put on weight.”

The NHS recommends that adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day, equivalent to seven sugar cubes.

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What are free sugars?

The expert explained: “Free sugars are sugars that have been added to your food, as well as those sugars which are naturally present in honey, in syrup, or in unsweetened fruit juices.

“So yes, natural sugars in fresh juices and smoothies do count towards your daily limit of free sugars.”

According to the expert, fresh fruit doesn’t count as free sugars, but some juices do, even freshly-squeezed orange juice.

She added: “Just one small commercial smoothie of 180ml has 18 grams of free sugars, which nearly maxes out our daily limit. The recommended limit may be easily exceeded if we don’t pay attention.”

However, looking for healthier alternatives doesn’t have to be hard work as there are more healthier options on the market than ever.

The expert recommends swapping toast with jam and butter for wholegrain toast with no-added sugar peanut butter or with poached eggs, baked beans or cream cheese.

For those who like breakfast cereals, the expert advises trying porridge which can be sweeter with fresh fruit like banana or blueberries.

Making small and often changes can help slimmers cut back on sugar in their diet.

The expert also recommends drinking water instead of fizzy sugary drinks and switching diet drinks for sugar-free flavoured water.

In other news, a new sugar and salt tax could be introduced in England as part of the Government’s National Food Strategy.

It comes after the Government has been urged to tackle the obesity crisis found across the country.

The tax could add one pence to the price of a packet of crisps and 7.5p to a small bar of chocolate.

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