You probably already know that eating too much added sugar can make you fat—but how overweight or obese will you get? Until now, the research done on how sugar affects your health has been somewhat sketchy, but a new review of the latest and greatest science by New Zealand researchers has it all up a bit.
The results, published today on BMJ.com, found that (drumroll please)...
- People who ate less sugar (without being told to lose weight) lost an average of 1.8 pounds over a period of 10 weeks to 6 months.
- Similarly, people who increased their sugar intake gained 1.7 pounds, with most studies lasting less than 8 weeks. Small changes, yes, but over time this weight gain can really add up.
So why does sugar make you fat? The researchers suspect that, unsurprisingly, people who eat sugar get more calories than they burn off with physical activity. In addition, sugar-sweetened beverages are less filling than naturally sweet foods like fruit, so you’re more likely to overindulge with a soda than an apple. And don’t forget the sweetened snacks—they are energy dense, meaning one box of mini-donuts really packs on the pounds.
The solution? Cut back on sugar in your diet (duh), but don’t stop at the obvious culprits like sodas and chocolate bars. Keep an eye out for these surprising sugar bombs—and you’ll be healthier in no time.