Like popping a zit or cracking your knuckles, downing a Dr. Pepper is on the list of things you wish you didn't enjoy.
Like popping a zit or cracking your knuckles, downing a Dr. Pepper is on the list of things you wish you didn't enjoy—but definitely do. But will a few bottles of soda here and a handful of cookies there really keep you from your weight loss goals?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. The sweet stuff is a major source of empty calories in the American diet—on average, 270 of them daily—and also causes wild hunger-inducing swings in blood sugar levels.
What's more, when you overindulge, your pancreas pumps out extra amounts of insulin, a hormone that pulls glucose into fat cells, causing weight gain, says Robert Lustig, M.D., author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease.
A 2015 Public Health Nutrition study found that people who downed the most sugar were 54 percent more likely to be overweight than those who ate the least. So yes, it's a good idea to cut back. (Hit the reset button—and burn fat like crazy with The Body Clock Diet!)
A healthy diet containing unprocessed foods like fresh fruit will give you plenty of sugar in its natural form for energy. The easiest way to nix refined sugar is to avoid highly processed foods, says Lustig. Simply avoiding common sources like sugary fruit yogurt, sweetened drinks, and, of course, desserts will reduce the added sugars in your diet by 75 percent.
For more weight loss tips, check out the April 2017 issue of Women's Health on newsstands now.