Is sugar making you fat?

These days it is no secret that sugar is bad for you, but it’s easy to forget how prolific it actually is in the food supply.

Refined sugar causes all kinds of problems, from diabetes to candida overgrowth and obesity.

Not many people want to be obese, but what about the effects of sugar on your overall health? Sugar affects more than just your physical appearance, unfortunately.

Although our focus is often on the exterior, it is important to be aware that there are further problems developing behind the scenes.

The truth is that sugar is making you fat, and possibly sick too. Even the purportedly healthy sugar substitutes have a similar effect on your metabolism, so they’re not a reliable alternative.

Let’s take a look at why sugar and sweeteners are making you fat, as well as some solutions to avoid piling on the pounds or poisoning yourself.

Why is sugar making you fat?

Basically, excess sugar is converted to fat and distributed within the body.

Your liver only has the ability to hold a certain amount of sugar; once you surpass this, it has no choice but to convert the excess into fatty acids. These are then passed over to the bloodstream, which transports them around the body, and they are deposited in various places as fat.

The fatty tissue (known as adipose tissue) can only store so much at any given time… so when you’ve over-indulged, the fatty acids still floating around your system get deposited in your organs.

In other words, sugar is making you fat on the inside as well as the outside!

Once your liver, kidneys and heart start to collect fat, they become stressed and can’t function properly.

Blood pressure creeps up, while metabolism becomes more sluggish and immunity starts to fail.

Your pancreas will create too much insulin, the important hormone for digestion. This also happens when you eat simple carbs―we call this a ‘spike’.

After this, the insulin distributes the sugar into your muscles, and fat-burn stops so that the sugar can be used for energy.

The sugar levels in the blood reduce once the sugary load has been deposited; you will then experience a sudden increase in appetite and cravings for sugary foods once again.

At the same time, the body produces the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol. This combination results in repeated blood sugar level spikes, and the cycle repeats.

Sugary drinks are making you fat too!

The sad reality is that it’s not only foods you have to look out for. Don’t forget the drinks that make you fat: think fruit juices, sugary drinks such as coca cola, wine and beer.

You might think that natural fruit juices are OK, but even the ‘healthy’ ones contain a lot of sugar.

The worst of the lot are the ‘soft’ drinks such as Coke, which contains 10 teaspoons of sugar per can.

In 2017, a Nigerian court took a stand against Coca Cola, ruling the company’s beverages as ‘unfit for human consumption’.

Coca Cola and Pepsi are surely under no illusions that their products contribute to poor health… which is probably why they funded almost 100 health groups in America in a bid to convince users that there is no correlation between their products and obesity.

For anyone with even the most basic nutritional knowledge, this is an obvious lie.

If sugar is making you fat, keep track of your consumption

Don’t worry… if you are wondering how to stop sugar from making you fat, it is not overly tough to keep track of your sugar consumption.

There is a relatively simple equation involved: take a look at the label, note how many grams of sugar are in the product, and divide it by four. This is the number of teaspoons of sugar you’ll be consuming when you eat that product.

Women shouldn’t be eating more than 6 per day, and men should cap it at 9, according to the American Heart Association.

Don’t forget though: in order to ward off those pesky pounds, you’ll need to pay attention to more than just the grams of sugar listed on a nutritional label.

As I mentioned, carbohydrates will convert into sugar―and then fat if you don’t utilize them.

Carbohydrate-laden foods that widen the waistline include:

  • White/wheat-based breads
  • White potatoes and crisps
  • Breakfast cereals
  • White rice
  • High fructose corn syrup (in many packaged food products)

The myth that fat-free foods stop you putting on weight is losing credibility as people learn more about how food is metabolized.

If you’re concerned with how to lose weight, it helps to know how many carbs you should be eating per day too.

The good news: There are sugars and carbs that don’t make you fat

We won’t totally demonize glucose (the simple sugar also known as a monosaccharide), as it’s actually a beneficial source of energy―provided you don’t consume too much of it.

Your body gets a good supply of it by converting the long-chain sugars (polysaccharides) into simple sugars.

There are also several food sources of carbohydrates that don’t cause this fat-inducing cycle. Some of them include:

  • Bananas, apples, pears, oranges and grapes
  • Brown or basmati rice
  • Sweet potatoes or yams
  • Whole-wheat and spelt pastas
  • Oatmeal and bran cereals
  • Whole grains like bulgur wheat
  • Lentils, peas and beans

The rule of thumb is to avoid convenience foods; the more processed the product, the worse it is for your health. They are usually flavoured with excessive amounts of refined sugar and additives.

It’s also a smart move to replace refined sugars with natural sweeteners like agave, yacon syrup, raw honey, stevia or xylitol.

Stevia lowers blood pressure and has blood sugar-lowering capabilities; xylitol prevents acid attack on the teeth, fights yeast in the gut and has a low glycemic index (GI).

It can even improve bone density.

Yacon syrup promotes friendly bacteria in the gut, and so aids digestion.

Sugar substitutes also make you fat (and sick)

Don’t be fooled by the term ‘sugar-free’. Sugar substitutes (aka chemical sweeteners) such as aspartame, neotame, acesulfame K, sorbitol, sucralose, and saccharin are also very bad for your health.

What’s more, the names of artificial sweeteners tend to be changed quite often, making it hard to keep on top of what you’re actually consuming from day to day.


There is no nutrition in these products whatsoever. They actually contain substances that challenge the body, leading to chronic health problems and weight gain.

Yes, you heard that right: artificial sweeteners make you fat.

Many people seem to think that sugar substitutes must be better than sugar, since industry marketing wants you to believe it.

Chemically sweet sugar substitutes are in so many ‘food’ items that people tend to assume they must be OK. To be honest, they aren’t.

The bottom line is that you are better off avoiding processed sugars and pre-packaged foods, and sticking with natural, unrefined sweeteners if you need to sweeten things up.

Your health is the most important thing you’ll ever have, and nobody wants to be breaking the scales. Fitness and physique are under your control, and knowledge is power.

Don’t forget to check out our other articles on proper diet tips to stay healthy!