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Thread: How does sugar make you fat?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Cackerot69's Avatar
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    Ok, i've been wondering this for a while now.

    I know that complex carbs take longer for the body to convert into glucose, thus give a more sustained energy release. Why would that matter in terms of sugar causing fat gain? The end result is glucose either way. I understand that complex carbs are better for energy, but i don't see why they don't cause fat gain as easily.

    Sorry if this is unclear...I'm in a rush.
    Last edited by Cackerot69; 04-16-2001 at 12:48 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    Calories in VS Calories out.
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    Senior Member hemants's Avatar
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    1. total calories
    2. easy path to energy prevents fat metabolism (more)

    Simple sugars give you an instant energy thus in the time immediately following sugar intake, your body stores any excess calories as fat VERY QUICKLY.

    In contrast, complex carbohydrates take time to digest and while they do end up as simple sugars, if you eat balanced meals, you don't get the same sugar spike rather a steady level of glucose over time.

    If you ate small quantities of sugar throughout the day then you would probably be fine but most of our sugar intake tends to be spikey (eg. 1 can of coke, a dessert, etc. etc.)

    3. Question: I've wondered if there is any difference between simple sugars. eg. Honey vs Jam, Fructose vs Glucose

  4. #4
    Wannabebig Member Podium Kreatin's Avatar
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    when ingesting sugar, it triggers insulin (a hormone which causes storage to parts of body) increase which cause the sugar to become fat. sugar is fairly simple (in terms of size) and doesn't take much energy to metabolize. complex carbs don't spike that much insulin, bc it's not easily absorbed as simple carbs

    the different sugars from honey, jam, fructose, glucose, etc. are different in the terms of their chemical structure. fructose and glucose are both simplest, but have different chemical structures. to go even further, there are l-glucose and d-glucose, which have the same makeup, but different arrangements.
    glucose(in blood) and dextrose(dietary glucose) are the same, and glycogen(blood/muscle) and maltodextrin(dietary) i think. carbs are either turned into glucose or glycogen (long chain of glucose)

    the total cals intake over out/burned is true to some extent. ppl who don't normally do sports get fat bc they don't burn the sugar, but active atheletes burn a lot, so they don't usually get fat that easily. so that's concurrent evidence.
    on the other hand, fat has a lot of cals, but take a lot of cals to metabolize (fat burns fat), but when taken with carbs (as most fatty foods do) the fat and carbs actually make u more fat than sugar/carbs alone.
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  5. #5
    bone crusher
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    Ok heres the deal. ALL COMPLEX CARBS ARE TURNED TO SIMPLE SUGARS(mono-,di-, and tri- and IN THE DIGESTIVE TRACT. Complex carbs are simply polymers of simple sugars that are used mainly for energy storage (starch-glycogen) and structural scaffolds (like cellulose in plants). The saliva acid in your stomach begins the breakdown of complex carbs that greatly accelerates in the stomach, where the acid initiates the hydrolysis of complex carbs (starches) into simple carbs (sugars). This process happens quickly for some foods (white rice, mashed potato, and maltodextrin) and slowly for others (barley, black beans). This is where the GI comes in. GI measures (indirectly) the hydrolysis rate of these carbs into sugars and the insulin response. THe insulin response causes enzymatic and hormonal pathways to engage which do several things in the following "priorities", 1) fuel current energy requirements, 2) synthesis of glycogen(muscle and liver) for future use, and 3) synthesize triglycerides for energy storage (make fat). If you have no current energy needs(above that which to survive) and your glycogen stores are full, all of those carbs will be converted to fat. In the metabolic pathway, the conversion of glucose to pyruvate and finally acetyl CoA is irreversible and is dependant on the concentration of glucose (which is also where the idea that fat cannot be turned into sugar originates-due to the irrevisibility of the oxidation of pyruvate). THus the more glucose that enters your blood from any type of carb, the more stimulus there is to store it as fat. THe acetyl CoA formed is then assembled in the liver to fatty acids (Why is it not metabolized? this is because insulin shuts down the oxidation of acetyl CoA), triglycerides and then stored in the adipose tissue.

    That is how carbs make you fat.

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    Senior Member Yaz's Avatar
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    ................ K.

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    Looks like the doc and podium know their shiet. They gave you some very good advice.
    Last edited by Azn Sensation; 04-16-2001 at 06:28 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cackerot69's Avatar
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    Doc, I know why carbs make you fat, but i don't understand how sugar makes you fat, more than complex carbs make you fat.

    The end result is glucose, either way. Complex carbs take longer to become glucose, thus give a more sustained energy release...i understand that part. I also understand the fact that when glyco stores are full, carbs have no where else to go except for fat stores. Why does sugar become fat easier than complex carbs become fat? I can understand that they may become fay quicker, but in the end wouldn't fat gain be the same?

  9. #9
    Equal Opportunity Offender Budiak's Avatar
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    Well, simple carbs, i.e. sugars, are broken down more quickly than their complex bretheren. In turn, they cause the insulin to spike, and so if we dont expend that energy quickly, they are stored as fat.
    If I eat a bowl of oatmeal and sit on my ass, I probably wont gain any fat because the energy is moderated and expended over a while, at about 70 calories per hour burned while sitting on said ass, in about two hours I will have spent all of those calories.
    If I eat a few handfuls of sugar and then sit on my ass, even though I've eaten the same amount of calories as I would have if I had just eaten a bowl of oatmeal, the simple sugar carbs are already being stored as fat because I havent spent the energy quickly enough. The difference in weight gain is of course, that people with normal carb-based diets have metabolisms that favor burning carbs instead of fat. You are sitting on your ass, and instead of in the first example where you are burning the slowly-metabolized oatmeal, the sugar is being stored as fat.
    The body will continue to burn calories, sure, but not necessarily the cals from the sugar because it is now fat. You'll also feel like utter crap after eating a handful of sugar.
    We all know that the body holds onto fat like Rosie O'Donnell holds onto a meatball sub. That is the difference between fat gain with simple and complex carbs.
    I think.
    Last edited by Budiak; 04-17-2001 at 01:31 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    Simple carbs DO NOT necessarily cause a greater insulin spike than complex carbs - and DO NOT necessarily cause more fat storage than complex carbs.
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  11. #11
    Geordie The_Chicken_Daddy's Avatar
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  12. #12
    bone crusher
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    Yes to help coalesce what has been said here and to answer cackerot's question-
    simple sugars (mono and disaccerides) in general will be absorbed into the blood much faster that complex carbs. However, some such as sucrose (table sugar), maltose (malts), and lactose (milk) and other of the 30 some monosaccerides that can exist must be first enzymaticly converted to glucose or other compounds that are metabolites of glucose. (this is how they are incorperated in carb metabolism). Thus they will not give as sharp an insulin increase as insulin in glucose dependant (mainly), and the consequences of that are mentioned above. Consider one who eats 1 cup of white rice and one cup of glucose. The glucose is swallowed and immediately starts being absored in the blood. All of this glucose is not absorbed at once, but rather is limited by the rate at which glucose can diffuse into the blood. This insulin response has been designated as 100. the one cup of white rice is chewed and mixed w/ saliva and IMMEDIATELY glucose is generated and is absorbed. The difference is that the digestion must occur for a few min to have glucose accumulate to the point where absorbtion becomes the limiting factor. This is why white rice has a slightly lower GI value than glucose, but this is really not significant.

    My point here is that the supposition that sugars make you fat more that starches is just not correct. Also cack i believe you are right in that the end result is the same. I would caution though that extremely low GI stuff like barley and other tough to eat grains are an exception to this, because it takes soo long to digest and their carbs are not as accessable.

  13. #13
    bone crusher
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    Oh yea i forgot my favorite, maltodextrin, the ingredient in almost ALL MRP's. Maltodextrins are glucose polymers. THus they are complex carbs. Actually maltoDextrin has a greater GI than glucose-because it is a polymer, it has a higher nutrient density. It is so rapadily turned to glucose in the stomach that absorbtion immediately becomes rate limiting.



    the take home point is that this complex carb has all the potential to make you fat, just as much as consuming glucose itself (actually a little more).
    Last edited by the doc; 04-17-2001 at 07:32 AM.

  14. #14
    MACHINE
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    The end result is not the same. Sugars cause a rapid spike in blood glucose, putting the pancreas in overdrive to produce insulin. MORE insulin is produced than needed as the pancreas plays "catch up" to the blood glucose levels, and excess insulin results in more sugars being stored as fat. Complex carbs DO NOT rapidly increase the blood glucose levels, so the pancreas only produces the NEEDED amount of insulin as the carbs are steadily metabolized.
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  15. #15
    Geordie The_Chicken_Daddy's Avatar
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    Well Gino, Honey I'm not sure if that's entirely correct.

    I do biology at college (i'm no scientist though) and i've been taught that when the pancreas releases insulin, it always realeases too much. Therefore, it releases glucagon to counteract the effects. The glucagon released is too much adn so insulin is released to counteract the effects. This cycle carries on until the blood sugar level is back to normal. It is called negative feedback.

    I think this is right although it has been a while since i did Biochemistry...
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  16. #16
    Senior Member hemants's Avatar
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    Let's try again to sort through the confusion.

    The issue is not the amount of simple sugars in sugar vs carbs.

    The issue is the peak concentration of simple sugars in your system at any given time.

    For the same reason that it is best not to binge and starve yourself, it is best to eat complex carbs as opposed to simple sugars as the latter tends to create the binge/starve effect.

    Finally, most simple sugars offer no nutritional benefit as opposed to carbs which are usually packed with fibre and vitamins.

    I hope this clears things up.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    Simple carbs DO NOT necessarily cause a greater insulin spike than complex carbs - and DO NOT necessarily cause more fat storage than complex carbs.

    If you believe otherwise, you are wrong.
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  18. #18
    Geordie The_Chicken_Daddy's Avatar
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    I agree with Anthony the LoserBoy.

    Any form of carbohydrates can cause an isulin increase. Infact, all do increase insulin release. Just some more than others.
    "Geordie/'d3c:di/n. & adj. Brit colloq. n. 1 a native of Tyneside. 2 the dialect spoken on Tyneside. adj. of or relating to Tyneside, its people, or its dialect. [the name George + -IE]

  19. #19
    Senior Member Avatar's Avatar
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    Chocolate is lower than brown rice on the G.I. scale.
    So are you guys saying that chocolate doesn't necessarily have a higher chance of being stored as fat, as the brown rice does?

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  20. #20
    BIG BOI
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    ...

    is the reason that alot of the complex carbs cause such a big insulin rush because it trys to stay in the blood steam and the pancreas is trying to push the glucose into storing? and that why some things that are simple sugars like fruit diesnt cause tht big of an insulin responce?
    Last edited by big calvin; 04-17-2001 at 09:12 PM.

  21. #21
    Kaboom.. ??
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    I.I

    Yes, let's just say that chocolate has lower G.I. But does that necessarly mean that it will get absorbed by ur body slower?...does that mean that it won't spike your insulin level?...

    " The popular glycemic index is a measure of the speed at which carbohydrates enter the blood after a meal. A high-glycemic index means that blood sugar rises rapidly in response to a meal while a low-glycemic index means that blood sugar rises very slowly. Traditionally, nutritionists thought that the faster the carbs got into the blood, the bigger the insulin response. So in an attempt to manage insulin, they recommended always eating low-glycemic foods.
    However, several studies since have shown that some low glycemic index foods have huge insulin responses! So the correlation between glycemic index and insulin response breaks down with some foods. For example, milk products have a very low glycemic index. But they promote insulin responses parallel to the highest glycemic foods. it appears that there are several other factors that determine insulin release besides carb content and the rate of carb absorption."

    Glycemic Index only gives the glucose reponse to the meal but not the insulin response which is the "STORING" hornmone.. fats in the carb food will slow down the glucose response of your budy but you'll promote high blood levels of fats, carbs, and insulin...
    IMO, the reason that chocolate is in the lower GI index is because of the fats in them. But it doesn't mean that it won't make you fat by spiking insulin or anything..
    I dont know if i made sense here. i was trying to tie many things togather, so i may was just babbling non sense stuffs..
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    Dabomber - sure there are other factors to how HIGH your insulin will increase ... probably the biggest factor is how MUCH of a certain food someone eats. Makes sense, right?
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  23. #23
    Senior Member hemants's Avatar
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    Anthony,

    We are talking about an insulin spike right? ie. a rapid increase and then a rapid decrease in insulin levels.

    I am curious to learn more, could you provide some sources of information?


  24. #24
    bone crusher
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    I recommend any biochemistry text book. Or i saw something about -nutrition for dummies- these subjects may be well covered in there.

  25. #25
    MACHINE
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    I disagree Anthony. However, I don't believe I'm wrong. Why "necessarily" in both statements? Yes or no? Are there variables involved? You use the term greater - does this include "quicker?"

    Chicken Daddy - you just said you agreed with Anthony, then made a statement that disagreed with anthony. Stop confusing us. lol

    Yes, you are correct. ALL carbs trigger the release of insulin, and the pancreas (almost)always overcompensates. However, overcompensation(ratio of insulin to glucose) for a quicker spike is more dramatic according to studies, that of course I can't site right now because I sold my books back to the college book store and being able to site the place I learned this would be too easy.

    Some carbs are "simple," and some are "complex." Simple carbs are simple for your body to break down = more glucose in the blood stream at once = more insulin. Complex carbs break down slower = lower blood glucose levels = less insulin.
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