Sugar or Fat which is worse?

The sugar fat controversy.

For years, we’ve been told that fat, specifically animal fat, is bad for us. Now scientists have given saturated fat the all-clear – while they’ve named sugar ‘the new tobacco’ – bad for your health but promoted by big business. What’s the truth? Do we consume too much sugar or fat?

Saturated fat is actually good for you, according to much publicised new research [1].  It showed that 1983 guidelines to cut out fat were based on flawed research [2] and should never have been introduced. Far from piling on adipose tissues and clogging up the arteries – unlike sugar, fat is the healthy source of energy and even better are unsaturated fats like olive oil.

Sugar on the other hand is now recognised as the leading cause of obesity: a sugar rich diet produces excess insulin – which turns glucose into fat cells. Unlike fat, sugar also causes heart disease, diabetes and probably Alzheimer’s disease. And it’s addictive, creating an irresistible urge to eat and it makes you fat. And if you want to detox and lose weight, stay clear of sugar.

The tragedy is that 30 years ago scientists knew the risks of a diet rich in sugar. Pure, White and Deadly, a book published in 1972 by John Yudkin, Professor of Nutrition at London University, explained in detail how a sugar-rich diet causes furring of the arteries. But Yudkin was silenced by the food industry – and the anti-fat obsession became the prevailing health education message over the next 30 years.

During that time, UK  obesity levels have quadrupled almost certainly as a direct result of this confusion. A shocking expose in 2009, Sugar: The Bitter Truth [3], showed why we should have listened to Prof Yudkin:

Now a movie, Fed Up [4] produced by the American TV journalist, Katie Couric and dubbed: ‘the film the food industry doesn’t want you to see’, shows how the food industry, supported by mediocre nutritional research, nudged us into this unhealthy diet. You can watch it here:

Three steps to staying healthy.

  1. Get educated: watch Fed Up and Sugar: The Bitter Truth.
  2. Avoid low fat foods (apart from naturally fat free food and pure dairy products such as milk), alongside processed products, and sugary drinks.
  3. Switch to a balanced diet – give your body enough of the healthy and energising fats.

See also our upcoming blog on Easy Tips to Go Sugar Free (by Denny) which includes tips for sugar free recipes.

[3] Sugar: The Bitter Truth

Photo of Jane FeinmannAward-winning freelance medical journalist, Jane Feinmann ( contributes to national newspapers and journals. She has written several books and produced a number of radio programmes. She writes about a range of issues including anti-ageing and women’s health from the perspective of evidence-based medicine.

By Jane Feinmann

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