Not long ago, nutrition experts pointed to fat as the culprit for making people gain unhealthy amounts of weight. Carbs also spent a great chunk of time bearing the burden of our resentment as we decided they, too, were to blame for weight gain.
But sugar has recently emerged as the number one enemy of the state ingredient that can do everything from overload the liver with fructose to cause insulin resistance, and, yes, promote fat and weight gain.
You may not even realize you're making one critical and common sugar mistake that is slowing down your weight loss, says Molly Cutler, a holistic nutritionist and health coach with a B.S. Public Health from George Washington University and certification from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. But the sooner you correct it, more on track you'll be to reaching your weight loss goals.
"The main sugar mistake I see people making is believing that natural sugars are 'healthy,'" Cutler says. "While maple syrup and raw honey, for example, contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that processed white sugar does not, at the end of the day sugar is sugar is sugar once its broken down in the body."
Even fruit, while bursting with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber, primarily contains fructose which is metabolized in the liver, Cutler says. When consumed in moderate to large quantities (two fruit smoothies a day?), Cutler says natural sugars can spike blood sugar to undesirable levels, leading to insulin resistance and weight gain.
Does that mean you have to restrict yourself to dull-tasting foods for the rest of your life? No way.
"To still enjoy sweet treats while making sure to consume them within moderation, stick to natural sources of sugar like fruits, maple syrup, raw honey and coconut sugar," Cutler says. "Consume these within moderation alongside healthy fats, protein and fiber to prevent high blood sugar sores and drops and ultimately weight gain."
For more food and health tips, check out The one exercise trainers do everyday for their own weight loss and The one food to eat after a workout for weight loss.