Common Messages: “Fat makes you Fat”, “Cut Calories from Fat”, “Choose Fat Free Foods”…etc…
BUT WHAT ABOUT SUGAR!?!
These article reviews several studies linking greater sugar consumption to weight gain (dugh!). While it specifically focuses on sugary beverages, it can be generalized to all added sugars and refined carbohydrates (which turn to sugar in the body).
It is all too often that a “high fat diet” is blamed for the health epidemics in our society today, and people comment about high fat foods like they’re a forbidden evil, while sugar content is only an afterthought. Sugar is often added to low fat foods to increase the palletability lost by removing fat. But which is the lesser of the two evils?
Here’s the difference:
- Fat from processed, refined foods, and fast food SHOULD BE AVOIDED! It is damaging to the body and will raise cholesterol levels and contribute to obesity, inflammation, and disease. Avoid vegetable oils (especially those found in processed foods): they are highly processed and unstable, making them “oxidized” (damaged).
- Fats from NATURAL, good quality sources nourish the body and are high quality sources of minerals and vitamins. Good sources include eggs, avocado, nuts and seeds, organic whole plain yogurt, grass-fed/pasture raised meats (non-conventionally raised), fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring) organic/unrefined Coconut Oil, and extra virgin/cold pressed Olive Oil.
- Cutting down on sugar and refined carbohydrates (which turn to sugar) make it okay to eat more natural fat sources: you’ll feel fuller, won’t get the blood sugar/insulin spikes, and will be nourished more fully.
So why is sugar unhealthy?
A little “under-emphasized” fact is that SUGAR turns to FAT in the BODY! A “fat free Yogurt” with 20 grams of sugar in 6oz is “isn’t a healthy option due to all the added sugars.
Eating large amounts of added sugar damages the body over time and contributes to diabetes and numerous chronic diseases, not to mention leads to weight gain.
Sugar also feeds pathogenic bacteria in the gut, depressing the immune system and making it difficult to maintain overall good health. The worst thing you can eat when you are sick are foods containing lots of sugar! Bacteria love it!
So on a more delicious note, it’s time to think outside the Sugary-Starchy-Grain-based-Carbohydrate-Rich Cereal Box: here’s a recipe for a high quality breakfast loaded with vegetables (an appropriate carbohydrate source) and eggs and avocado (appropriate and nutrient rich-fat sources), with added NO SUGAR!
Laura Berger, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. The GreeneBerger Nutrition Counseling Services