Sugar and fat are two of the most widely talked about dietary topics, but which is worse?
Limiting the amount of sugar we take in should be a priority for everyone.
Sucrose (table sugar) is a major part of some of our favourite daytime snacks, such as cakes and biscuits, but what many people fail to remember is that sugar is also present in a wide range of other foods.
- Fruit drinks and smoothies
- Fruit yoghurts
- Ready-made meals
Aside from energy (calories), sugar provides no nutrition, which is why it is often referred to as ‘empty calories’.
Cutting back on the amount of processed foods you eat is also recommended, as the majority contain added sugars.
Excess sugar converts to fat in your body. When you eat something sugary, any energy your body doesn’t use is converted into fat.
For decades, fat has been labelled the ‘bad guy’ in diet and nutrition. However, in recent years, a number of research studies have shown that fat is no worse for us than carbohydrates.
Diets that are low in carbohydrates and high in fat are now widely regarded as being healthier and better for weight loss than low fat, higher carb diet plans.
Fat is the most energy dense nutrient and carries twice as many calories as the same weight of pure carbohydrates. While this doesn’t mean you should avoid fat altogether, you do need to be reasonably aware of how many calories you are taking in when eating high-fat (or fatty) foods such as butter, cheese and cream.
The most important thing about fats is to consider whether you are eating good fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds and oils, or bad fats, such as those found in highly-processed foods.
What’s the answer?
The healthiest and most sustainable way to improve your health is to make minor changes for healthier choices. Sugar is highly addictive and has been associated with a number of adverse effects on health. Healthy fats, on the other hand, are an essential part of the diet and may actually aid in weight loss, improve heart health and reduce inflammation. For this reason, it’s best to swap the sugar out of your diet and fill up on healthy fats instead.
Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.