The Spoonful of Sugar Makes Fat Weigh You Down

Omitting white sugar from our diets is a no brainer, right? We all know that adding spoonful after spoonful of the white powder to our morning coffee or drinking cola throughout the day is a bad idea, one for which it would be quite difficult to come up with a argument against. But what about that whole-wheat bagel as a healthy breakfast option, or one of the many suggested servings1 of grains recommended by the USDA? 


While they may not outwardly look the same as table sugar, our bodies break them down into what is essentially the same thing.


“During digestion, your body turns sugar and starch into glucose, (your body’s preferred source of energy) while fiber remains undigested as it travels through your body, but it tempers the effect of other carbs on your blood sugar.”2


Ok, so grains turn into sugar. And for many, there is no such thing as everything in moderation. Even foods often regarded as healthy options can still cause blood sugar spikes, triggering an insulin response and creating unbalanced energy levels, poor concentration and sleep quality as well as an inability to lose weight or perform well, in the case of athletes.


In the case of someone who is heavily reliant on carbohydrates as their main source of calories, it’s far easier to get too much of it, given those blood sugar spikes and crashes. And we all know where the extra calories consumed in excess of what we actually need end up: on the hips, the bum, the belly and wherever else our ancestral blueprint dictates!


But don’t we need some sugar in order to make glucose, a fuel for the essential reactions taking place constantly in our bodies? Nope. That is, not if we are fat adapted.


The key thing to remember is while our cells do, in fact, need glucose, they don’t need to make it from carbohydrate. If they’re given the opportunity, we can train our bodies to use fat as the source.


“When one begins the process of “Fat-adaptation” (also referred to as “Keto-adaptation” or Nutritional Ketosis (NK), which should not be mistaken for Starvation Ketosis or Ketoacidosis), the human body makes a profound shift toward burning “fat as fuel” without cannibalizing muscle protein for glucose as is the case for Starvation Ketosis, promoting the gain of lean body mass.”3


But what’s the big deal about all this hype about being fat adapted?  Why would someone who doesn’t want to lose weight or who isn’t an athlete be bothered about this?


How about preventing diabetes?  Or reducing the chances of becoming overweight in the future? Or simply wanting to feel more energized all day long?


With few exceptions, most of us would benefit tremendously from eating more fat, more natural proteins and lots more fresh vegetables. Low glycemic fruit, in moderation and timed appropriately, such as berries or green apples can be part of the picture as well, but don’t make the mistake of eating it all day long. Sugar from a natural food like fruit is still sugar, and it can still promote the same effects.


It may take some getting used to, especially if you’re like me and had to overcome a mindset of eating low-fat, fat free and calorie counting being drilled into your head for years, but trust me when I tell you that fueling on fat with protein and vegetables is the way to go. Not just on a daily basis, but for high performance in sport as well.


Thinking outside the box is required, but isn’t that very approach what allowed any of you reading this post to begin your course down the Paleo path in the first place?




[1]“USDA MyPlate Grains Group — How Many Grain Foods Are Needed Daily?” USDA MyPlate Grains Group — How Many Grain Foods Are Needed Daily? N.p., n.d. Web. 03 June 2015.

[2] Does Whole-Grain Bread Turn Into Sugar?” LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 06 July 2014. Web. 03 June 2015.

[3] “”Fat-Adapted” Metabolic State – VESPA.” VESPA. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 June 2015.