Sugar has become quite the hot button issue in health and fitness. New studies are cropping up each week that indicate the potential dangers of a diet high in sugar. From diabetes to heart disease and bad teeth, sugar is implicated in all sorts of negative health issues. In 2016, evidence surfaced that indicated that the sugar industry had known of these dangers for decades, concealing their information and pointing the finger at fat as the reason for America’s mounting medical bills and expanding waistlines.
Sugar, as much as fat, is responsible for weight gain. Perhaps even more so. And while much of the country is battling to keep the bulge at bay, many of us are trying to gain weight. When it comes to packing on pounds, it may seem like stocking up on sugar is your best bet. With that comes the side effects, however.
You don’t need to rely on sugar to gain weight. There are other kinds of foods you can incorporate into your diet that are going to give you enough of a caloric bump to help pack on the pounds without carrying with it the diabetes, heart diseases, potential cancers and all sorts of other negative effects that sugar brings. Here’s why you can avoid it and how to gain weight the healthy way.
Does Sugar Cause Weight Gain?
Sugar is the bad guy these days. And it might be for good reason. Evidence is mounting that sugar is the culprit behind a host of nasty health problems. A diet with an excess of sugar can cause an increase in heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, tooth decay, stroke, gallbladder diseases, liver diseases, osteoarthritis, gynecological problems, you name it. Also, sugar is going to make you fat.
Common sugar is called sucrose. It is made up of glucose plus fructose. When your body digests sugar, it liberates both glucose and fructose into the bloodstream. Glucose is easily used for energy. Fructose is difficult for your metabolism to handle and is treated somewhat like a fat, converted and added to stored fat. This is why high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener is so controversial. Fruit, as a source of fructose, will not abnormally elevate your levels.
At this point, sugar’s relation to weight gain is pretty much common knowledge. How it works against your body is a little more mysterious. According to Authority Nutrition, there are several ways sugar can cause you to gain weight. The first of which has to do with fructose, or fruit sugar. “Excess fructose consumption is a known cause of insulin resistance and elevated insulin levels in the blood,” the site says. When your cells become resistant to insulin, you end up with more insulin hanging around in your blood. If these levels are chronically elevated, much of the energy in your bloodstream can be mistakenly swept away and deposited into fat cells to be stored.
Fructose can also make you think you’re more hungry than you actually are. This is because an excess of sugar in your diet can make your brain resistant to leptin, a hormone that lets your body know when it’s not hungry anymore. According to Authority Nutrition, because of fructose, the brain has a hard time sensing all of the fat stored in the body that could be used as fuel. It thinks it’s starving. This kicks your hunger into overdrive and, if you’re reaching for sugary foods again, you’re just perpetuating the cycle.
Do You Need Sugar To Gain Weight?
Sugar definitely makes you gain weight, most likely as fat. Stick to a diet of Snickers and soda and you’ll see. For folks looking to gain healthy weight, sugar is not your best option. Fear not. Let’s look at other, healthier options that aren’t going to carry with them the same disastrous side effects as sugar.
To gain weight in a healthy way, focus on high-calorie foods that will provide you with some other nutritional benefits – not just empty calories. Foods like nuts, nut butters, legumes, avocado, rice, red meats, starchy vegetables and oily fish, like salmon, can all help you meet your caloric needs to gain weight without damaging your health.
You’ll need to use these foods to create a caloric surplus. In order to gain one pound, according to LiveStrong, you’ll need to consume an extra 3,500 calories per week on top of the calories your body already needs. Start by adding 500 calories to your diet every day to gain a pound in a week. Just don’t fall back on bad sources of calories. You can sneak the calories in any way you need to – in shakes or snacks or additions to your typical meals. It’s important to be consistent and it’s important not to see the quest to gain weight as an excuse to let your hard work in the gym go to waste. Use those extra calories to fuel your workouts. Stay off the couch and you’ll be able to make sure the weight you gain is healthy muscle and not just flab.
What Are Other Ways To Gain Weight?
Another way to gain weight without risking the health detriments of sugar is to invest in a high-quality mass gainer. The right mass gainer can easily provide you with those extra calories you need to pack on weight without filler, added sugars or artificial ingredients that are going to weigh you down. Performance Inspired Nutrition’s new Mass Gainer (coming soon!) is just that. The Mass Gainer is an efficient, tasty way to consume the extra calories you need to meet your goals without relying on junk food to fuel you. It’s held to the same high standards that the rest of Performance Inspired products are, which means you’re going to get the best quality nutrition with no artificial ingredients or crappy fillers. It’s the right way to gain weight.
You don’t need sugar to gain weight. Sure, it might be the easiest way to see the number on the scale go up, but it’s not going to do your body any favors. You don’t need to take the easy way out. With a little effort, you can incorporate high-calorie, nutrient dense foods into your diet and add a mass gainer to your supplement routine that are going to help you put on the right kind of weight in the right kind of way.