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  • Written By Stacy Moutafis of SM Fitness

The Not So Sweet Truth About Your Sweet Tooth

Written By Stacy Moutafis of SM Fitness

With labels being confusing enough, throw 56 different names for sugar in there too. Yup- the labels are there to confuse you, and of course you need a dictionary to understand terms that essentially come down to sugar. Research has suggested that the average American consumes over 100 pounds of added sugars per year. That is added sugar, and not counting normal sugars naturally found in foods. As we know, sugar can cause disease, weight gain, and many other health issues. So why are we consuming so much?

The two types of sugars: fructose and glucose. Of these two sugars, one is needed and the other is not. Starchy carbs are those that produce glucose. If we don’t consume it, the body will produce it. The liver will turn fat into glucose, and so the body can generate it so we do not have to consume it. This is needed and responsible for our energy. Fructose on the other hand, is not present in the body and cannot be made. No one needs fructose. These are the sugars that are filled with calories that turn to fat and are not considered nutritional.

The long term effects of overeating can not only be bad for the waist line, but detrimental to long term health. Since we cannot process it properly, the excess gets processed through the liver causing excess liver fat and thickens the liver walls. The long term result is insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. Excess sugar or fructose causes elevated fat cells and blocks leptin, the hormone that signals to the brain that your body is full. In turn, this puts on excess weight and fat cells. The excess sugar or insulin secretion is the cause of many metabolic syndromes including cardiac disease, diabetes, fatty liver, and cancers.

Fructose also causes a release of dopamine (the body's reward system to be released), and fosters overeating. This is why I have often refer to sugar as a drug.

Withdrawals tend to take place, causing headaches, fatigue, and crankiness. In fact, it normally takes up to 72 hours to subside. Studies have indicated that fructose removal from the diet can reduce fatty liver, promote weight loss, and work to combat type 2 diabetes.

Stacy’s Tips on Cutting Back

  • Look at the fat free labels. Chemicals and preservatives as well as fructose disguised in these products turn right to fat cells and promote weight gain. Stay away from fat free products.

  • Dehydrated fruit or food has concentrated sugar to help dry it, and fruits broken down into sauces also are preserved with these chemicals and you wind up eating double the serving.

  • Avoid flavored yogurts, candies, soda, and juices that are filled with fructose.

  • Cut down weekly dessert rewards.

  • Drink water to stay full.

  • Learn how to read labels!!! Reading labels can be very difficult, which is why SM Fitness offers classes that teach this exclusively.

The FDA did institute a law in 2016 that all companies must include nutritional information pertaining to the amount of sugar added in foods. All companies must implement these nutritional facts in their labels by 2018. Until then, follow some of these simple steps and try to learn terms used on labels that can be disguising sugar and other chemicals.

Stacy Moutafis is a fitness and nutrition expert, training coach, speaker and author. She is certified by the International Sports Science Association as a fitness therapist, personal trainer, sports nutrition consultant, and New York State Strength & Conditioning Coach. Visit to learn about how SM Fitness is an asset to achieving your fitness goals.

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