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The Real Reason You Cannot Lose Weight - It's Sugar, Not The Fat

Updated on March 8, 2017

The Problem


The Facts and The Situation

  • Obesity worldwide has more than doubled since 1980.
  • In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults who were years and older were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese.
  • Overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for global deaths. At least 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese.

These are all facts stated by the World Health Organization. While there are many more dissatisfying facts about obesity, it is clear from only the three stated above that this is a problem of epidemic proportions. It is not that only a group of persons suffer from the difficulty, but this seems to be a global problem. This is evident by another fact by the WHO: about 13% of the world's adult population (11% of men and 15% of women) were obese in 2014. To understand how this issue arose, we must revisit the past, we must learn what happened in the year 1980 which blew the cap of the bottle, so to speak.

USA Dietary Goals 1977

What We Can Gather The US Data

It is clear from the above data that there was a significant shift in the ideal of the American Diet in 1977. The data shows clearly that fatty, sugary and salty food were seen as the villains and the banishers of good health. Next, we take a look at the European diet.

European Data


A Closer Look

From the data above, we can see that Hungary is the European country with the highest rates of obesity. You may wonder what the dietary goals for Hungary are like. Well, it is quite similar to that of the dietary guidelines of the United States in that it states that frequent consumption of sugar and unnecessary consumption of salt and fats should be avoided. All the while regarding cereals, "Eat cereals several times a day"(Hungarian National Institute for Health Development 2004). The data was also backed and made available by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. With reference to the Hungarian dietary guidelines of 1987", it consists of 15 recommendations of mainly avoiding fat, consuming fruits and vegetables several times daily and undertaking regular physical
activity" (European Commission 2015). As European data states that Hungarian rates of obesity have skyrocketed since 1989, it is clear that fats are not the real problem.

Meanwhile, when we look at the diet recommended by the Swedish National Food Agency, we see there is not a war on fat, but rather a recommendation to switch to healthier ones. There is also a reduction in sugar and a call to switch to whole grains.


The Science Behind Fat and Sugar Breakdown

We now get down to the nitty-gritty and have some scientific facts back up all this data provided. The are different types of carbohydrates: monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides, all of which are just fancy words to say one sugar unit(mono), two units of sugar(di) and many units of sugar(poly). The names essentially reveal the length of the molecule. Now both monosaccharides and disaccharides(except for lactose, especially in persons who are lactose intolerant) are easily digested and absorbed by the body. Polysaccharides, on the other hand, are difficult to break because of their long chains of sugar units. They are, however, broken down into simpler chains such as the monosaccharides of glucose.

This glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream. High concentrations of glucose are in the blood then act as a trigger for insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible for breaking down glucose and releasing energy. So to summarize, eating any type of carbohydrates in large amounts causes a release of insulin in the blood. The problem is that the presence of insulin actually inhibits the body's ability to breakdown the low-density lipoprotein, i.e. fat. We can see the research data backing this below.

So the eating of excess carbohydrates prevents our bodies from breaking down fat. Even worse, unused sugar in the body is converted into fat by the liver. So not only does fat make you fat, sugar can make you fat. Now, this glucose in the blood used up very quickly and easily by the body, hence the infamous "sugar rush". But when all this glucose used up so easily and quickly, it tends to make us feel hungry again, which again begins the vicious cycle.

On the other hand, eating fats can train your body into breaking down fats for energy, called a ketosis. In such a state, the body has a high fat-burning rate. Fats are also actually needed for proper nervous system functioning. The transmission lines of the neurons are surrounded by a myelin sheath, which is made up of fat. The thicker this sheath, the fats, and better neurons can fire.

A Little More

Here is a video on the matter from Mark Hyman, Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

Information From A Professional


So fat is not the problem, excess sugar is. To lose fat, one must reduce his/her carb intake and actually try to eat more healthy fats. And as always, everything in moderation.

Balanced Diet



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