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How does weight gain with sugar work?

by (43) Updated June 06, 2014 at 3:14 AM Created March 07, 2014 at 10:24 PM

I'm confused about weight gain. So, say someone has a super healthy diet, and they eat 1 brownie a day for a month will they gain weight? Say they don't work out...I know if they worked out this generally wouldn't be a problem. I just don't get how gaining weight works.

How does 1 brownie a week or month compare to one brownie a day? Like what if they are in their calorie range for the day? Cause I wanna know if having that grain free brownie once a week is really going to hurt me?

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11 Replies

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0 · March 27, 2014 at 6:12 PM

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0 · March 27, 2014 at 6:09 PM

0 · March 27, 2014 at 6:43 AM

Sugar consists of Sucrose and high fructose. Following are some ways in which sugar contributes to weight gain.

1) Eating lot of sugar fructose gets metabolized by liver, which gets converted into fats. One of the main reasons of weight gain is fructose.

2) Fructose causes Insulin which is secreted by Pancreas which travels to peripheral cells like muscle cells

3) Fructose also causes resistance to Hormone called Leptin. Leptin secreted by fat cells

Sugar is a leading cause of obesity by its powerful effects on hormones and the brain

2923 · March 12, 2014 at 12:01 PM

From my perspective the CICO type model doesn't discount the influence hormones etc have... It is an umbrella term encompassing the changes that necessarily go on in many people when calories are reduced... That isn't to say cutting carbs can't have big effects, or that metabolism of different macros, having differnt macros together in certain ratios might predipose people to have more or less lean body mass, fat... The point in the CICO model is that fundamentally there has to be that for weight loss to occur. Changing macro ratios etc might make it easier to get to that stage, but this ultimately falls under CICO...

Like Matt said in a comment - if the people eating high fat who have spontaneous reduction in appetite count calories, there will be a calorie deficit seen to be in play... That is fundamental... Saying this isn't to comment on how hormones affect weight loss or that high fat/low carb diets can be effective in precipitaitng weight loss. To counterpose high fat, Taubes like 'sugar is evil because insulin prediposes people to store fat' type or argument (note: I don't think this isn't only part or all of the argument...) with CICO ideas imho is pointless - in my opinion they fall under teh umbrella of CICO...

Maybe for operational reasons maybe high fat is easier on people and more practical to think about - but the deficit that will be there is testament that calories probably matter to a large extent, in principle, with many other cascading effects being brought into play when that deficit is reached, however it might be reached... CICO is fundamental imho...

237 · March 10, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Yes calories are all that matters, anything else is blasphemy. Surely hormones are irrelevant to the process of energy homeostasis and fat usage. Insulin, glucagon, hormone sensitive lipase, epinephrine, norepinephrine, triiodothyronine, thyroxine, growth factors, and all those other hormones in charge of maintaining energy homeostasis have nothing to do with weight gain or weight loss. Ignore the physiology, calories in/calories out is all that matters. And please do not do your own research, we don't want you finding out about how the body actually works. Sugar calories are great and don't make you any fatter than, say, calories from salad and olive oil. (Sarcasm)

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0 · March 09, 2014 at 5:00 AM

All carbs end up as sugar after digestion, and sugar promotes insulin secretion, which in turn drives serum glucose into your cells. Insulin also plays a role in facilitating fat storage especially as the glucose keeps coming in when the liver and muscles are topped off with glycogen because this excess glucose gets converted into fat at certain stages in the metabolic process. Higher carb diets tend to promote fat storage, and this is not totally dependent on there always being a caloric surplus. Yes it's true in a caloric restriction, energy must come from somewhere or there will be weight loss, but you really have to look at it from the right angle to fully grasp what is going on.

1. Here's the very best 3 minute overview on this. It's a clip from the Fat Head movie titled Why You Got Fat.

2. Search "Taubes why we get fat" for multiple pieces of info on this same subject but much more in depth. There are some easy to watch videos of Taubes speaking.

3. If you want the megadose of technical info, read Peter Attia's: How to make a fat cell less not thin: the lessons of fat flux

In summary, eat less sugar/carbohydrate, and weight loss becomes much easier on the mind and body. The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve on Mark's Daily Apple really hits the mark.

30 · March 08, 2014 at 6:06 PM

(This is in response to BobK, since I can't seem to leave a comment):

From your link it is two different diets, but also two very different reductions in calories. Both groups were eating similar amounts of calories, but the men in Keys' study had much higher metabolic rates to begin with, so they were eating almost 3 times less as a function of calories reduced. For some people 1700 calories everyday is maintenece calories, for an athlete that could be like starvation. You can't reasonable blame that on the quality of the calories.

665 · March 08, 2014 at 6:14 AM

what's in the brownie? Grain free but loaded with sugar & fat? What's the caloric macro breakdown for the brownie? What's your physical activity like?

I'd be dissing the first law of thermodynamics if I said calories don't matter....of course they do!

BUT the macro makeup of ones diet and the state of ones metabolism matter too. The human body is complex system and seldom is only variable changed while keeping EVERYTHING ELSE the same.

Here's a link to an entry on Tim Ferriss' blog written by Dr. Eades recounting the effects of two very different diets but with closely matched total caloric content.

Calories matter but so do macro ratios.... low fat high carb at low caloric levels maybe mimics "rabbit starvation"?

Medium avatar
10077 · March 08, 2014 at 4:42 AM

Carbs are enablers for fat storage. They're the source of blood glucose, which in excess forces dietary fats into storage. Brownies contain high amounts of fat and easy-to-digest carbs, and if you eat more than you can metabolize in a short period those carbs will force fatty acids in the bloodstream into storage.

A good way to deal with easily-digested carbs is to exercise, which will deplete blood glucose, reducing fat deposition. Whether you gain weight eating a brownie a day depends on what you do with it after you eat it. A balancing act.

141 · March 08, 2014 at 12:38 AM

Calories may matter when it comes to weight loss/gain, but it's certainly not the whole thing. The short answer is that, if you really feel like having that brownie would make you happier and more relaxed, one brownie a week won't probably hurt your weight loss goals. I had a big plate of gluten-free brigadeiro (google it!) with almonds yesterday night and woke up today with less weight than yesterday.

40652 · March 07, 2014 at 11:44 PM

Calories, calories calories. That's what matters when it comes to weight loss/gain.

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