Wanna Lose Weight? Cut Sugars (As If You Had Diabetes)

February 27, 2012

Notwithstanding thousands different diets, pills and drinks we all know that there’s no magic formula for losing weight.
There are two golden rules that you should keep in mind when trying to shed those extra pounds off your body:
1) There are 3500 calories in one pound of fat; and
2) That you should reprogram your metabolism to go into burn-fat mode.
In other words, to lose one pound you should burn 3500 calories and those calories should come from your stored fat.
However, your body will start burning fat only when it doesn't have other more readily available energy sources to resort to. Needless to say it, the first choice source of energy is sugar.
Sugar runs in our bloodstream and it’s also stored in our muscles and liver as glycogen.

When your body runs out of sugar that's when it starts burning the reserves (i.e., stored fat), and, as a consequence, you’ll lose weight.
The end of the story is that to get thinner you have simply to drastically cut your overall sugars intake.

Look for hidden sugars in food and beverages

Intuitively, when we think about cutting out sugars we picture in our mind: cupcakes, chocolate, muffins, doughnuts, pies, ice-cream, candy bars, and all other sorts of sweets.
Those foods are made from sugar, taste like sugar, are packed with sugars and you should pass on them.
However, there are other foods and beverages high in sugar, that are less obvious.
For example, some so-called healthy snacks can be sugar dense as manufacturers add extra stuff to enhance flavor.
Other risks comes from all those beverages that look kind of “innocent” but, to the contrary, are sugars bombshells.
All those lattes, macchiatos, mochas and other flavored coffee/tea/chocolate based beverages are made with sugary syrups, milk or cream very high in calories.
No to mention sodas, sport beverages and vitamin enhanced drinks. These products can be tricky, so it’s better to check the nutrition label and look for sugars before buying them!

Fruit juices and smoothies

I live on fruits: I like them raw, juiced or in smoothies. I can’t possibly picture my life without them. They are undoubtedly a perfect food, but I have to admit that if you consider them from a sugar perspective they become less appealing. Especially if you start mixing them in smoothies or juices.
For instance, one banana carries 17g of sugar, one cup of blueberries has 15g, while a glass of orange juice has 14g.
This means that if you make yourself a smoothie with those three ingredients you’ll get 46g of sugar in one drink. Under normal circumstances that might be ok but if you’re trying to lose weight that’s just too much sugar.

Similarly, if you make a juice with one grapefruit and two oranges you’ll get around 32g of sugar. Again, this is totally fine under normal circumstances but it might be a bit too much if you’re on a diet.
The solution is to get creative and make smoothies/juices that are a combination of just one serving of fruit and several vegetables (always lower in sugars). For instance, a spinach-banana smoothie.

If you want to succeed think of yourself as person suffering from diabetes

This is a trick I like to tell to my friends that are struggling with sugars: think at yourself as someone suffering from diabetes.
This means that every time you’re about to eat something you must check up the glycemic load of said food.
In layman words the glycemic load is a number that expresses how much a serving of a food or meal is likely to increase your blood-sugar levels (and it’s the most practical way to apply the Glycemic Index to dieting).
You can find the glycemic load for almost all the foods you eat at http://nutritiondata.self.com
For example broccoli have a glycemic load of 3, oranges of 6, whole wheat spaghetti of 15, french fries of 22, one slice of apple pie 32, one medium blueberries muffin 33.
Experts vary on their recommendations for what the glycemic load should be each day. A typical target for total is around 100 or less per day. If you have diabetes you should aim a little lower. While if you’re physically active, the number can be a little bit higher.
You can start doing your math on a day and see where you end up; it’s pretty interesting.


Taking care of your sugar intake is crucial if you’re trying to lose weight, but also if you’re not on a diet.
Start paying a little bit more attention and you’ll be actually surprised of the incredible amounts of sugars we consume daily in our diet. Starting from our morning coffee and throughout the day...

The Iron You


  1. You know I couldn't have stumbled upon your blog at a better time. I'm at the beginning stage of changing my diet and your blog is full of great ideas for being a healthier me. Thanks ... I will definitely be following. :)

  2. nice images!! Great blog..


  3. I cut out 42grs of sugar per day, just drinking my coffee without any of that.

  4. It's sad you are comparing fruit sugars to processed sugars. They have a different reaction. If you look at a raw vegan diet where a lot of fruit is involved, there is no problem with insulin resistance or high blood sugar. The reason? they don't have a lot of fat in their diet. Fat makes it harder for the body to process sugars in the blood and this causes insulin to rise and that in turn causes the body to become more resistant to insulin. Fruit sugars process quickly but, most diets contain more fat than any one person needs and this blocks the absorption. So, fruit is fine if fat is limited and fat should always be limited.

  5. I will try for a week without sugar and see what happens :D

  6. I mostly agree with your article. There is also the many health risks associated with sugar but this article is about weightloss. However, I completely disagree with what you said about fruit. The way that you eat your fruit - blending it up into smoothies and juices - then yes, you are going to get a sugar hit. If you eat fruit as it comes, in it's natural state, then you are also getting all of the fibre and nutrients and vitamins. Also one piece of fruit for dessert has very little actual sugar in it per volume especially when compared to 4 or 6 needed to make a fruit drink.

    Everybody should avoid sugar wherever possible. It's disgusting how bad it is for the body and general health.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I do agree that a differentiation should be made between blended/juice fruits and fruits eaten as a whole. I appreciate you pointing that out and it actually might be interesting to write a post about it.