Carbohydrates don't make you fat. Fat doesn't make you fat. Protein doesn't make you fat.
Sugar, on the other hand is a major culprit in contributing to weight gain, fat retention, obesity and is also being implicated as a leading cause of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes.
But there are so many types of sugars! So, this could get complicated. I want to make this easy for you. Fructose is one of the main sugar molecules you’ll want to avoid. Why?
Fructose is a monosaccharide metabolized strictly by the liver, over time causing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, elevated triglycerides, abdominal obesity and high cholesterol. Fructose is a component of table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dates, honey, maple syrup, agave, and is often found in many of your favorite packaged foods.
WHAT'S THE BIG FAT DEAL?
Fructose makes our brains resistant to a hormone called leptin, which helps our bodies know when they're satiated. If this is hormone is affected by fructose, our bodies signal more fat storage and leave us feeling hungrier by activating ghrelin (our hunger hormone). Fructose has no 'off' switch.
Fructose is addictive. Some studies say it’s more addictive than cocaine. Our bodies were originally designed to gorge on fructose because it’s such a great way to store fat for energy.
But isn’t fructose found in fruit? Yes - you’re correct, the naturally occurring sugar found in fruit is most commonly fructose. However, there’s way too many benefits to fruit to pass them up. Whole fruit also has plenty of fiber to help regulate how the fructose is metabolized as well as vitamins, minerals and nutrients. (But here is where I’d say, if weight loss or ‘shredding’ is your goal, limit your fruit intake.)
So how can you avoid fructose?
For starters, do not simply opt for artificial sugars. These come with a whole array of other negative health implications. Nor, should you opt for maple syrup, dates or honey. These seemingly natural options are super high in fructose also. What you really want to do now is quite simply - eat real food. Once you eliminate cakes, pastries, commercially made foods and sweeteners, and eat recalibrate your taste buds by consuming fresh food - you will be well on your way from eliminating fructose from your diet.
My top tips to avoid fructose:
Recalibrate your taste buds by adopting a 'savory' mentality for the majority of your meals and snacks.
Eliminate processed, packaged, commercially made foods.
Avoid sexy sweeteners in your cooking and baking such as honey, dates, maple syrup, coconut sugar, sugar alcohols and even “sugar free” syrups. (Sugar is still sugar).
Check ingredients. Go through the ingredient listings of everything you're eating and chuck it if it has any form of sugar.
Stay away from 'low fat' foods. These often have added sugar for taste.
Drink plenty of water.
Fall in love with (good) fat. Healthy cell walls made from high-quality fats are better able to metabolize insulin, which keeps blood sugar better regulated. The right fats also increase fat burning, cut your hunger and reduce fat storage. Eating the right fats makes you lose weight, while eating excess sugar and the wrong types of fat contribute to fat retention.
Experiment in the kitchen with whole foods and new recipes. Eat REAL food. Opt for fresh, whole foods that are closest to their form you'd find in nature. That is what we're designed to eat.
Try replacing your morning coffee sweetener with cinnamon or stevia.
Meal prep in advance. You're far less likely to reach for the crap food when you have your lunch already prepped. (Also, snack wisely.)
Stay active. Being active helps balance blood sugar levels, boosts energy and reduces tension which will eliminate the need to self-medicate with sugar!
Sleep. Your body's best form of recovery. If you're fully recovered and well rested you'll be less likely to grab sugary snacks as a form of quick energy.
If you must, sweeten with fresh fruit (bananas, berries) or sweet vegetables (sweet potato, onions, carrots). If you’re baking, try stevia or brown rice syrup in small quantities.
I hope you found some value out of this post. If you have a comment, question or any feedback, I would love to hear from you. Email me at hunterandsoulnyc(@)gmail.com and be sure to follow me on Instagram @tashahunter.