Is Sugar Making You Hungrier?

By Robyn Priebe
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Do You Need To Reduce Your Intake Of Sugar?

sugarWhen you’re looking to manage type 2 diabetes, achieve healthy weight loss, or manage polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), you may have a goal of reducing added sugars.

Additionally, if you are trying to manage what feels like food addiction, one thing to think about is that added sugars can fuel the food addiction cycle. So let’s take a closer look at our reaction to lots of added sugars.

Steel Cut Oats vs. Fruity Pebbles

Do you feel the same after eating steel cut oats and Fruity Pebbles? My guess is no. I’m also guessing it’s been a while since you’ve had Fruity Pebbles, but who knows.

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Why, if both the oats and the cold cereal are both mainly carbohydrate (which will both eventually be broken down into glucose), do we feel so differently when we eat foods that are high in added sugar? For one, a serving of the cold cereal above contains 3 teaspoons of added sugar. The oats, being free of added sugars, will do a better job of suppressing hunger.

Sure, the fact that the oats are whole grain, contain fiber, are lower on the glycemic index, and also have some protein will make a difference, but today I just want to look at why the lack of added sugar in the oats makes such a big difference in appetite management.

It’s The Fructose, Yo!

Added sugars, whether from brown sugar, white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup and yes, even agave, are all forms of sucrose. Sucrose is a disaccharide, composed of glucose and fructose.

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A starch like oatmeal is mainly composed of chains of glucose, but does not contain the fructose that added sugars have. Fructose ends up being a major culprit when it comes to increasing hunger through its effect on leptin, ghrelin, triglyceride production, and insulin response. I could go into how fructose does not trigger a normal insulin response and thus messes with our hormones that regulate appetite, but I’ll spare you the details.

Is It Practical To Avoid All Added Sugar?

Not when I want cake. However looking at ways we can reduce all sources of added sugar is probably a great goal for most people.  I’m a huge fan of recipe modification, so when I do want to make that cake, I’m automatically decreasing sugar content in every recipe I make.

What ways to you cut back on added sweeteners?


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