A teaspoon of sugar contains 16 calories, which doesn't seem like much. It can really add up, however, if you eat a lot of sugary foods or drink large amounts of soda and other sweetened beverages. Cutting sugar from your diet, though, can help you consume fewer calories -- and that can translate to weight loss.
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Link Between Sugar and Weight Gain
Added sugars drive up the calorie content of foods. For example, the average soda contains 132.5 calories from added sugar, while a cake doughnut contains 74.2 calories from added sugar, according to the American Heart Association. Taking in more calories than you burn will lead to weight gain. Consuming sugary foods and drinks is one contributor to a high calorie intake, particularly if you have several servings of these items each day.
There is a formula to weight loss as it's associated with sugar. Because 1 teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories, if you cut out foods and drinks that equal 10 teaspoons of sugar -- which is about 1 soda -- you'll cut 160 calories from your daily diet. Do that for seven days, and you've eliminated 1,120 calories. If you keep cutting 10 teaspoons per day, you'll lose a pound in about three weeks. This is because you have to burn 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of course, if you eliminate more teaspoons of sugar per day than that, you'll shed excess weight more quickly.
Common Sources of Sugar
Cutting your intake of obvious sources of sugar is the first step in reducing how many calories you consume. Eliminate soda, fruit-flavored drinks, candy, cake, cookies, brownies, ice cream and other desserts from your daily diet. You don't have to completely avoid sweet treats, but strictly limiting your intake is one way to reduce how many calories you consume from added sugar so that you're able to reach your weight-loss goals.
Sneaky Sources of Sugar
Reduce your intake of calories from added sugar even more by reading food labels. This will help you identify foods that contain added sugars but aren't sweet, obvious sources. For example, many condiments, such as salad dressing, ketchup and barbecue sauce, contain added sugar. Restricting these items in your diet can help you further reduce how many calories you eat each day. Examine the ingredient list to determine if the food contains sugar, and then glance at the nutrition facts to see how many grams of sugar a serving of each food contains. This will help you choose the foods lowest in added sugars.