Sugar (Part 1): The White Devil

Okay, we are feeling good! It’s late January, so we are still stoked about our healthy decisions. We are getting to the gym more often, passing on the dessert, avoiding fried foods and “fill in the blank with another healthy change.” This is all wonderful news and please keep doing what you’re doing!

But while we are full speed ahead on our health kick of training and lifestyle change, there is a topic that must be covered: SUGAR. I want to discuss “the sweet stuff” because you could be unknowingly sabotaging your weight-loss efforts big time.

I’m going to discuss sugar in Counting With Chelsea over the next couple of weeks because I think it’s such a critical (and misunderstood) topic.

MSNBC recently reported that Americans are swallowing 22 teaspoons of sugar each day — a whopping 355 calories and the equivalent of guzzling two cans of soda and eating a chocolate bar. Most women should be getting no more than 6 teaspoons a day, or 100 calories, of added sugar.

Fat doesn’t make you fat; SUGAR makes you fat. Why is this? As I’ve mentioned before, sugar is the white devil. It messes with your insulin levels, makes you crave other carbs and feeds your fat cells. Aside from helping you pack for fat-land, sugar causes oxidation of the cells, contributing to dull skin and premature aging.

You might say, “But I don’t drink soda or use sugar in my coffee. I avoid dessert, and stay away from those gorgeous breakfast muffins at Starbucks. I’m not that Mountain Dew slugging, Wonder Bread eating hick. I’m health conscious! Where is my sugar coming from?”

Well, it is disguised on the labels of thousands of products (many supposedly healthy and/or organic).

Below is a list of ingredients otherwise known as SUGAR:

barley malt
beet sugar
brown sugar
buttered syrup
cane-juice crystals
cane sugar
carob syrup
corn syrup
corn syrup solids
date sugar
diastatic malt
ethyl maltol
fruit juice
fruit juice concentrate
glucose solid
golden sugar
golden syrup
grape sugar
high-fructose corn syrup
invert sugar
malt syrup
raw sugar
refiner’s syrup
sorghum syrup
turbinado sugar
yellow sugar

Wow, long list! To keep things simple, here is something I learned and try to live by. They say that a meal or snack with less than five grams of sugar will have negligible effect on your blood sugar. When sugar starts to tamper with your blood sugar is when weight loss stalls. So when you are shopping, look at the sugar grams on the label. If it has more than five grams of sugar per serving LEAVE IT ON THE SHELF. No doubt there is a substitute in another aisle with your name on it.

Now, the exception to this rule is fruit in its whole and natural form. Fruit has higher sugar content than five grams. However, the sugar is natural fructose, which is broken down in the body differently than processed sugars. Also, fruit has fiber to delay the insulin response, as well as antioxidants to combat the oxidative effect that sugar has on the cells. That being said, there is nothing wrong with avoiding fruit for a week or two when you are starting your health kick. Foregoing it for a bit will help your body combat sugar cravings. Just have vegetables or nuts as a snack substitute. Also, as a tip, please find out how much sugar is in the types of fruit you enjoy. Bananas and tropical fruit have a much, much higher sugar content than berries and citrus.

If you own a Count Me Healthy bracelet, use the beads to count sugar. You can do this a few ways. 1) If you are a sugar addict and just starting a healthy lifestyle, then move a bead over every time you have a soda, piece of cake, cookie or other sugar loaded treat. At the end of the day tally them up. Your goal is to get where 0-1 beads are moved. 2) If you are more aware of sugar, then take the next step. Move a bead over every time you have a sweet treat or snack over 6 grams of sugar. Your goal is to keep your treats under 5 grams. 3) Positive psychology! Move a bead over every time you avoided that sweet treat or substituted it with healthier fare, like fruit. Anyway you choose to count your sugar on the bracelet is great because the beads will hold you accountable throughout the day.

How do you combat sugar cravings? Have a beautiful week and as always, keep counting.


  1. Mila says

    This is a good article, but shouldn't we also discuss the differences between regular sugar and corn syrup? High fructose corn syrup has made its way into virtually all of America's packaged sweets by virtue of a price quota (the price of sugar is artificially high in America compared to the rest of the world, which explains why no other nation in the world uses so much high fructose corn syrup). There seems to be a debate about whether high fructose corn syrup is worse than sugar. See, for example: ( and (, you're right about portion control. Most other nations do not have this ridiculous surge in Type 2 Diabetes as America has had. I notice that desserts and candies are unbearably sweeter here, and portions much larger. It is sad to hear that so many young people now are being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, a disease directly related to poor eating & exercise habits that used to afflict only older, very overweight people.

  2. Asheaon Squirrel says

    OH MY GOD THIS IS SOOO GOOD!:D I love the thoroughness of it all! Damn, good job! Seriously, this post is so good. I don't even know where to start here…I mean, I'm getting a treadmill for my home very soon and by god I want to parallel my diet with all the good work I plan to do on the treadmill. This has really REALLY given me motivation to stay away from the sugar. I'll fallen off the wagon, but that doesn't mean I can't get back on. THANKS "Counting With Chelsea"! Thank you!

  3. Mila says

    Ash how do you manage to make the typewritten words on the computer screen burst with so much energy? Maybe it's because I know you, but I am imagining the enthusiasm as I read!

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