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How sugar is linked to weight gain

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate which provides energy to the body. However, eating too much sugar over time can lead to weight gain. Strong evidence shows that being above a healthy weight increases the risk of developing 13 different types of cancer and chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Let’s unpack what happens when our body receives more energy than it needs, how this can lead to weight gain and what you can do to decrease your risk of cancer.

Video: How sugar is linked to weight gain

Where do we find sugar?

In terms of health risks, we need to be concerned about ‘added sugar’. That is, sugar that has been added to food or drink.

Natural sugars in foods

  • Fruit and milk products
  • High in nutrients – vitamins, minerals, fibre or calcium.
  • We should eat these foods every day.

Sugar added to food

  • Processed foods
  • These foods are unhealthy and high in energy (kJ).
  • They don't have other nutrients we need such as fibre, vitamins and minerals.
  • We should limit these foods.

Learn more about how to avoid these products.

What can I do?

The easiest way to lower your added sugar intake is to cut down on sugary drinks. Make a start by calculating how much sugar and energy you consume from sugary drinks – it may surprise you.

Visit the Sugary Drinks Calculator

Tips to help you cut back from our partners at LiveLighter and Rethink Sugary Drink:

Find out more: