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Whether you call them simple carbohydrates or sugars, consuming too many of them may make you more likely to gain weight. According to an article published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in September 2011, Americans are consuming less sugar than they used to, but still consuming way more than recommended, which could be contributing to the obesity epidemic.
Sugar Consumption and Obesity
If you consume a lot of added sugar, you are more likely to become obese, especially if you are also inactive, according to a study published in "Public Health Nutrition" in 2013. Sugar-sweetened beverages and grain products are among the main sources of added sugar in the American diet. Drinking water or unsweetened tea instead of soda, energy drinks or other sugar-sweetened beverages will help you decrease the amount of extra sugar you are consuming, as will limiting the amount of baked goods, like cakes and cookies, that you eat.
The American Heart Association recommends women don't consume more than 100 calories per day from added sugars, which is 25 grams of sugar, and that men limit added sugars to no more than 150 calories per day, or 37.5 grams of sugar. Read labels carefully, checking the ingredients list to see whether the foods you are eating contain added sugars, which may be listed under many other names, including maltose, fructose, sucrose, glucose, honey, fruit juice concentrate and molasses.
Decreasing Sugar Intake and Weight Loss
Even small decreases in the amount of added sugar you consume can help you maintain your weight or lose weight. A study published in "Pediatrics" in October 2007 found that decreasing sugar intake by 100 calories per day, or 25 grams, along with taking 2,000 steps extra per day for six months helped study participants maintain or reduce their body mass index compared to the control group, which also used pedometers and received education but weren't told to change their sugar intake or exercise habits.
Benefits of Reducing Sugar Consumption
Reducing your sugar consumption may also help reduce your risk for health conditions including Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, according to an article published in "Circulation" in 2010. Consuming too much sugar can increase insulin resistance, inflammation and blood pressure levels, making these conditions more likely. Concentrate on reducing the amount of added sugars you consume, rather than the amount of sugars naturally present in foods like fruit and dairy products, since natural sugars come in foods that provide essential nutrients, while added sugars are more common in foods that aren't as nutritious.