Sugar Effects in Obesity

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Information on Sugar Effects in Obesity

Putting on weight is a function of the total number of calories a person consumes, not of the origin of the calories.  Some people have claimed that sugar per se promotes obesity, but nutritionists agree that this is not the case.

 

Nevertheless, the general impression that eating sweets leads to weight gain has more than a little truth to it.  One hundred calories of a chocolate bar will not make you fatter than 100 calories of apple, but the chocolate will weigh less, have less bulk and probably leave you hungrier.  Consequently, in all likelihood, you will eat more chocolate.  Then you are taking in extra calories, which, of course, can lead to weight gain.

 

The addition of sugar to foods raises their calorie total, often markedly, without in general increasing bulk much.  As a result, when a person is eating sweets, the feeling of fullness often does not arrive until long after an excessive number of calories have been consumed.  A couple of comparisons may make this more apparent.  Two ounces of M&Ms have about 275 calories, whereas a pound of apples has only about 260.  Four carrots weighing 10 ounces have only 120 calories, less than a half-cup of ice cream (140 calories).  And who eats just a half-cup of ice cream?

 

The apples and carrots, of course, are themselves sweet because of sugars found naturally in them.  The point is not that sugar, in fruits and vegetables is better because it is in some inscrutable way more "natural" (the sugar in candy bars is "natural", too:  It comes from cane or beets), but that fruits and vegetables offer their sugar in a "natural" and healthful proportion to other nutrients.

 

Sugar's crime is that it makes it so easy to gain weight.  This might cause little concern if most of us were slim and fit, but unfortunately, the truth is otherwise.  One-third of the world's population is overweight and it appears that the health problem has increased in recent years, both in men and women.

 

Since sugar's sole nutritional contribution is calories, cutting back on high-sugar sweets is a logical place to start if one is making an effort to lose weight.

 

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