Sugar is making everyone fat! Or is it?

Many people, particularly the media, seem to want one single thing to accuse of causing the obesity epidemic & the ill health of the nation, with added sugar seemingly the latest scapegoat.

It used to be fat.

In the 80's & 90's fat was though of in a negative light, seemingly across the board.

At least amongst the general public.

I mean, it kind of makes sense that eating fat will make you fat.

But that's why science exists, to actually find out if what seems logical, is actually true.

Now, these same people are now saying things along the lines of, 'Well, we used to think fat made you fat and everyone was cutting out fat, unnecessarily. But now we've realised it's actually all the sugar in people's diet that's the problem and you need to cut out'

But is this accurate?

Or is this just another manifestation of the human need to point blame at one thing, to see things in black & white?

Well, to quote an extract from the October 2015 issue of Alan Aragon's Research Review -

“According to the latest data from the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), out of the 505 kcal increase from 1970 to 2010, added fats & oils dominated it (225 kcal), and refined grain products comprise the second largest increase (173 kcal). In contrast, the increase in added sugars was substantially less (34kcal)...

.......However, the point is that the increase in added sugar is very minor compared to the increases in grain products and added fats & oils.”

So less than 7% of the extra kcals are coming from added sugars, so is it really fair that the blame is put at sugar's door??

I'm not saying that we should therefore point the finger at the added fat/oils or grains either, or that adding sugar to the diet is a good thing, but we should just realise it's the increase in caloric intake, (and the decrease in activity), that's the problem.

So is sugar bad for you??

After all that, the question you probably still have is, 'Is sugar bad for you?'

The best way to answer that, (hopefully not annoyingly), is to pose another question, 'Is the sun bad for for'

'Only if you get too much' I hear you say?

Exactly!

Everyone knows that a getting a little bit of sun isn't bad for you.

It's only when you get high doses, (like when you go on holiday and get sunburnt), that it's potentially dangerous.

The same principle can be applied to sugar, (or any food/food group actually).

Sugar is only bad for you if you eat too much of it!

How much is too much?

Unfortunately, and rather boringly the answer is, it depends.

It depends on things like your energy requirements, activity levels, type of activity, body fat %, pre-existing medical conditions etc

So 'how much is too much' will be highly individualised.

Summary

- Sugar shouldn't be blamed for making everyone fat

- Neither should fat be blamed. It's just that people are consuming more total calories.

- Sugar is only bad if you eat too much.

- How much sugar is too much is highly individualised.

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Published by Sam Whitaker