Does Sugar Make You Fat?

Updated: Jan 23, 2020

Have you ever wondered if sugar is making you fat? Is it the sweet treats or the greasy food that makes us pile on the pounds?

Well the answer is here - and you might be surprised to learn that it's not the fat making you fat - it's actually the sugar (and it's also one of the reasons I developed my 21 Day Sugar Detox Program). So why does sugar make you fat?

Sugar makes you fat in the following way:

  • Sugars are made up of glucose and fructose.

  • The fructose can only be processed by the liver.

  • The liver turns excess fructose into fat.

  • Fructose is addictive and has no 'full switch'.

  • The pancreas secretes insulin to help the glucose reach the cells to be used as energy.

  • High insulin levels make the body struggle to burn stored fat.

Whether it's a new years resolution, or the lead up to a beach holiday, or even if you are just fed up with the way you look and feel, there are plenty of ways we can look to shed a few pounds.

There are all sorts of diets and fitness plans you could consider, but have you ever thought about simply cutting down on sugar?

If you are eating lots of sweet foods you might be putting on weight in ways that you would never know, and you could even be carrying a dangerous type of fat that you can't even see or feel.

But before we get into how we get fat, lets look at the different types of fat in our bodies.

sugar and tape measure

So when is a fat, not just a fat?

Subcutaneous fat is the fat that we can feel underneath our skin - it's the extra rolls we can get on our belly.

This type of fat serves several functions - it's stored as a source of energy, it keeps us warm, and it also acts as a form of protection to cushion us against bumps and knocks in our day to day life.

It's the fat we can see, and it's this fat we might pinch and decide that we need to do something about our diet and exercise. But this isn't actually the stuff that you should be worried about.

There is a much more dangerous type of fat that lurks unseen, and often unfelt, deeper inside our bodies.

And this type of fat is called visceral fat.

Visceral fat - what's that?

Sometimes also called abdominal fat, visceral fat accumulates deep within our body, in and around our organs such as the liver, kidneys and pancreas.

And the more of this type of fat we get, the more it starts to strangle our organs. Visceral fat is also considered to be almost an organ in itself, and a toxic one at that.

This is because as well as storing fat as an energy source like normal fat, visceral fat is actually a living mass of tissue that can also release it's own hormones and inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.

These chemicals and hormones can directly interfere with your mood, your appetite, your brain function and ultimately, your weight.

illustration showing layers of belly fat

It drives up your risk of stroke, heart disease, dementia and diabetes.

Visceral fat can also raise your LDL (or 'bad') cholesterol and increase your blood pressure.

And the thing about this kind of fat is that it has nothing to do with vanity because believe it or not it might not even be making you physically 'fat'!

Even skinny people can still have lots of visceral fat hidden within!

So it's this kind of fat that really is a danger to your health, and surprisingly it's not actually your 'love handles' that will kill you!

In fact, studies have shown that visceral fat is a strong, independent predictor of all-cause mortality in men. In other words, the more you have, the more likely you will die.