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You Ask, I Answer: Sugar & Weight Gain


I’ve heard from many magazines and articles that glucose-fructose could lead to weight gain.

Dempster’s BodyWise bread has glucose-fructose/sugar listed in their ingredient, but has only 1 gram of sugar per serving.

Could eating this bread lead me to weight gain?

– Yuki Izawa
(Location Unknown)

This is a case where context is crucial.

In case there is any confusion, by the way, table sugar (sucrose) is made from a combination of glucose and fructose.  This is actually the first time I have ever seen an ingredient list that identifies sucrose this way.

As far as sugar causing weight gain — my answer is always “yes and no”.

On the one hand, there is nothing intrinsic in sugar that causes weight gain.

The issue with sugar is twofold:

  1. Sugar is pure, fiberless carbohydrate.  Consequently, we can easily consume hundreds of calories of it without feeling satiated.
  2. The United States consumes extraordinarily high amounts of added sugar on a daily basis — an average of 360 calories’ worth, per person, per day!

To further expand on point number one, consider the fact that it takes four or five oranges to produce your average 8-ounce glass of orange juice, which you can down in seconds and not feel too satiated by.

Imagine, however, eating five whole oranges in one sitting.  The additional fiber would make most people feel pretty full after just two or three!

With that in mind, a slice of bread that contains a mere gram of added sugar (one-quarter teaspoon, or four calories) is absolutely not worth worrying about.



  1. Corey said on December 29th, 2009

    How powerful is the effect of insulin with regard to weight gain/loss. Many health-magazines tout this as evidence that a low carb diet is the best way to go, however you’ve made it clear that you’re not a fan of low-carb. Does insulin play any role in weight gain/loss?

  2. Christine said on December 29th, 2009

    hi! i asked a question on facebook recently about tips to combat a sweet tooth. you replied, and i sent you an e-mail with a response to some questions you asked :) i deactivated my facebook since then because it was kind of getting distracting (facebook vs. a bunch of research papers… pretty clear who usually wins that one). i was wondering if you still had tips? thanks so much!! :)


  3. Jason said on January 5th, 2010

    While I could be mistaken, glucose-fructose labeling is the Canadian equivalent of HFCS.

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