How sugar inhibits your fat burning

Most people are aware that a lot of sugar is not particularly healthy. But less well known is the fact that sugar can actually inhibit the body’s fat burning. There are different forms of sugar, and it is hidden in many foods. If you want to boost your fat-burning, you should therefore definitely deal with the topic of nutrition.


How sugar inhibits your fat burning

How exactly does fat burning work?

Our body constantly needs energy for all sorts of processes. Even if we lie on the couch and do nothing, the body is at work. It builds up and rebuilds, digests and supplies all organs with important substances. Even in sleep, energy is needed. Then, the growth hormone that causes fat burning is active – by converting fat from fat cells into energy.

When we are more active, we naturally use more energy than we do at rest periods. If the blood sugar level drops below a certain mark, then glucagon is released. This hormone is essential for fat burning. It releases stored fat from the fat cells so that it can be converted into energy. But glucagon only becomes active if there is no insulin in the bloodstream at the same time because insulin is the adversary of glucagon.


What role does insulin play in fat burning?

Insulin, like glucagon, is also formed in the pancreas. In contrast, it is not the task of raising blood sugar levels but of lowering them. It, therefore, transports the sugar into the cells and, depending on the energy requirements, this sugar is also stored as fat. But not only that: when the blood sugar is high, the body first uses this fast-growing energy. The fat you’ve taken with the same meal then migrates too much of the cushions you’re less popular with – the opposite of fat burning.

Only when insulin levels drop again does your body have the chance to get back into the fat-burning mode with the help of glucagon and other hormones. The problem, however, is that your blood sugar is then quite low again, and the insulin triggers a craving attack. When you reach for a dessert with a lot of sugar, the whole game starts all over again. And that’s it with fat burning.


Insulin resistance due to too much sugar

Those who often have a lot of sugar in their blood through their diet also need more insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Then cells may reduce the number of their insulin receptors, blocking the absorption of sugars. As a result, the pancreas releases even more insulin as blood sugar levels continue to rise. But the insulin resistance of the cells remains; the insulin content in the blood is too high. This is called “prediabetes”, so it is a precursor to diabetes.

If the condition stays that way for years, the pancreas will eventually stop working completely. And that gives you type 2 diabetes. A conscious diet is, therefore, not only useful in terms of fat burning.


Which foods cause blood sugar to rise sharply and inhibit fat burning?

When it comes to sugar, most people think of white sugar. But this is not the only food that inhibits fat burning. Simple carbohydrates, for example, can be split very quickly into their individual components from sugar, which then circulates very quickly in the blood. To determine how much individual foods increase blood sugar, the “Glycemic Load”, abbreviated GL, was determined for each. This value is an extended, more accurate form of the glycemic index (GI). Pure sugar has a GL of 100.


Foods with a high glycemic load, which are therefore bad for your fat-burning, include:

– baked goods, especially


baked goods


from wheat


gluten-free baked goods – cornflakes – noodles – popcorn without sugar – pizza – biscuits – rice – potato chips

– maple syrup and

honey – jam

– chocolate

– dates, especially dried

– dried apples and figs


The glycemic load is particularly low for:

– vegetables, especially avocado, eggplant,

fennel, olives and cucumber – salads, especially Chinese cabbage, field lettuce and Chicopee

– fresh fruit

– milk and dairy products

– nuts

In meat and fish, the proportion of carbohydrates is so low that the glycemic load cannot be determined.

The values for individual foods can vary greatly because too many factors influence the sugar in the blood—for example, the glycemic load changes when the foods are processed or combined with other foods. Heating and crushing foods increase GL. Combinations with protein, fat and fibre inhibit the rate at which sugar migrates into the blood. Some foods have a blood sugar-lowering effect, such as cinnamon, garlic, flaxseed, apple cider vinegar and turmeric.


Detect blood sugar fluctuations, fuel fat burning

Instead of scouring tables, the increase in blood sugar can also be seen in one’s own condition with a little exercise. A lot of sugar in the blood wakes up – but only briefly. After that, insulin causes fatigue and hunger for more sugar. So if you’d like to have a midday sleep after a meal or eat a chocolate pudding, your insulin is probably quite high. Then rest for a moment, but instead of looking for sweets, you’d rather reach for a few nuts. Watch what meals you feel fit and full of energy after. This allows you to gradually find out which foods are specifically suited for your fat burning.

Even waking up at night with hunger can indicate a meal that is too carbohydrate-heavy in the evening – then the blood sugar has dropped so far in sleep that the body demands supplies during the night.


The right diet to boost fat burning

Various diets aim to reduce sugar and increase fat burning. They all aim to get you out of the blood sugar vicious circle. Quite extreme forms are the low-carb diet or the ketogenic diet, which both have their critics. Interval fasting could also have a positive effect on fat burning.

You can do without a strict diet to forgo foods with lots of sugar or simple carbohydrates. Proteins, fats and complex carbohydrates provide a lot of energy and allow blood sugar to rise slowly. Especially in the two hours directly before the workout and during the same time, it is worthwhile for the fat-burning to do without soft drinks, muesli bars, pizza & co.

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Dr. Med. Raoul Hasert is a specialist in dermatology and venereology. He is a senior physician in Praxisklinik Dr. Hasert.

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