By JJ Virgin

I often talk about how important it is to be a fat burner instead of a sugar burner, but what does that really mean? Instead of diving straight into the science, let’s keep this simple: do any of these apply to you?

You know you’re a sugar burner if…

… you rarely feel completely full and satisfied after a meal. Stuffed, maybe. Bloated and uncomfortable, yes. But ready to go another 4-6 hours without anything else to eat? No way.

… you snack regularly. You typically graze throughout the day, even when you’ve resolved to stop eating so much between meals. If you don’t snack, you feel lethargic and moody.

… you often get “hangry.” You’re no stranger to apologizing for being irritable because you were hungry. Your friends and family know that a bad attitude = hand you some food.

… you crave carbs and sugar. A meal isn’t complete without potatoes, rolls, or pasta. Dessert is a must. And when you try to eat less sugar, you find yourself cranky and unable to focus.

… you have a hard time losing weight, especially around your middle. You’ve tried multiple diets, and even when you manage to lose a few pounds, your belly never seems to shrink.

What It Means to Be a Sugar Burner

Being a sugar burner is just what it sounds like: your primary source of fuel is glucose, which gives your body no reason to access your fat stores for fuel. Why should it, since your body runs on a steady supply of carbs?

The more carbohydrates you eat, the higher your blood sugar goes. The higher your blood sugar levels, the more insulin your body is forced to produce in order to return those levels to normal.

All that insulin comes with several major drawbacks, including blocking leptin production. Leptin is your appetite-control hormone. Without it, your brain never gets that signal that says you’re full. That’s why sugar burners are often hungry and overweight.1

The Danger of Using Sugar for Fuel

Anytime you diet and lose weight without losing waist, you’re actually making things worse.

It’s a vicious cycle. Being a sugar burner means your body needs more insulin and hangs on to fat; in turn, high body fat makes you less responsive to insulin.2 That insulin resistance causes its own set of problems, including increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other inflammatory disease.3,4 As a result, sugar burners often suffer from joint pain, headaches, skin trouble, and other uncomfortable issues.5-7Even when sugar burners lose weight, they seldom lose fat. And anytime you diet and lose weight without losing waist, you’re actually making things worse. You’re training your body to store your fat even more stubbornly.

The results can be miserable: sugar burners often suffer from anxiety or depression, constant cravings, and obesity. With time, they develop symptoms ranging from high blood pressure to elevated cholesterol.8,9

What It Means to be a Fat Burner

The goal is to be a fat burner. By eating fewer carbs and more clean, lean protein and healthy fats, you train your body to burn fat for fuel.

As a fat burner, your system still burns carbs as fuel first and will use the small amount of sugar you get from slow-low carbs like vegetables, quinoa, or legumes. Then your metabolism quickly turns to your fat stores for energy.

Because fat burns more slowly and steadily, fat burners can easily go 4-6 hours between meals and don’t suffer from sugar or carb cravings.10 They also lose fat easily and experience more steady energy.

How to Make the Change

If you recognize yourself as a sugar burner, the WORST thing you can do is go sugar-free. Suddenly cutting off that supply of glucose and carbs will make you feel awful and set you up for a cycle of yo-yo dieting and further health issues.


Instead, gradually lower your sugar impact by eliminating the most harmful sugars and replacing high-sugar impact foods with healthier options.JJ VirginClick to tweet

The Sugar Impact Diet walks you through that process of shifting from sugar burner to fat burner.If you think you’d benefit from more resources and hands-on support, I recommend the Sugar Impact Diet Online Program. It’s got a private Facebook community and dozens of videos, guides, menus, recipes, and assessment tools to help you customize the Sugar Impact Diet so it fits your body and lifestyle. While I call it a “diet,” the goal is actually a permanent change in how you live, feel, and think. (Not bad for less than the cost of a single visit to a nutritionist…)

You can find out more about the Sugar Impact Diet Online Program here. If you’re a sugar burner, it’s not too late to stop the cycle of mood swings, hunger, energy crashes, and brain fog. Your body and your loved ones will thank you!


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