Around this time of year, it's a typical thing for many of us to overindulge. But, as WJBF's Mary Morrison explains, cutting out the sugar could be a little harder than you think.
"It's just such an additive thing. It lights up the pleasure center in your brain."
Donna Plants is talking about a chemical reaction that occurs when we eat sugar. Plants owns PHC weight loss center and helps clients wrestle with their sugar addition after every holiday.
"If you will really cut your sugar intake, the less sugar you'll crave," explains Dr. Edward Boland.
Boland heads a weight loss center called Live Healthy MD. He says there's no magic pill to stop the sugar cycle but those who do can feel the difference.
"My patients who do it for three to five days or some come in completely different people.
Sugar isn't just found in the holiday cakes pies and cookies we bake. Everything that's a carb is going to be a sugar. Things like potatoes, rice and pasta.
"Imagine in your mind that one cup of any of those things is essentially the same a licking eight teaspoons of sugar."
So what happens to the sugar we eat? Dr. Boland says About 70 percent is stored as belly fat, 20 percent is stored as Glycogen around your muscles and about ten percent gets used right away.
To get rid of that stored fat, you have to burn it. Exercise can help but it won't be easy or quick, according to Plants.
"If they ate a 360 calorie dessert they'd have to walk four miles to burn it off."
Dr. Boland adds, "If people think they're going to exercise themselves skinny because they saw it on the biggest looser, they're misinformed."
One thing that can help curb the sugar cravings is to be aware of the consequences if you don't. Eating sugar causes weight gain and that can lead to sometime deadly diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
"The number one cause for people to get a liver transplant is no longer infectious form of hepatitis. It's non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD," explains Boland.
The cause: too much sugar. So should you skip the holiday goodies altogether?
"Make the cookies but give them away to your skinny friends"
Good advice. Weight loss centers like the two you saw in this story can help you kick the sugar habit. But in the end, it's up to us to resist that sweet temptation. Mary Morrison, WJBF News Channel 6.
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