You’ve heard that eating fat makes you fat. That it contributes to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. You’ve been told that saturated fat is bad and vegetable oils are good. But fat gets a bad rap. Find out why sugar is the real culprit.
Sugar and fat are two of the most widely talked about dietary topics, with one of the most commonly asked questions by people with (and without) diabetes being ‘how much sugar or fat can I have in my diet?’
Limiting the amount of sugar we take in should be a priority for all people, not just individuals with diabetes. Sucrose (table sugar) is a major part of some of our favorite daytime snacks like cakes and biscuits, but what many people fail to remember is that sugar is also present in a wide range of other foods.
These include: Cereals, Fruit drinks and smoothies, Fruit yoghurts, Ready to eat meals and soups
Aside from energy (calories), sugar provides no nutrition which is why it is often referred to as ’empty calories’. It also increases blood glucose levels quickly, which is one of the reasons why people with diabetes are advised to limit their daily intake of sugar (many health nutritionist recommends consuming less than 70g a day of sugar for men and under 50g of sugar a day for women).
In fact, limiting sugar intake is a good way to start getting your blood glucose levels under control. Cutting back on the amount of processed foods you eat is also recommended as the majority contain added sugars and in the UK, manufacturers are currently not required to state how much sugar has been added in processing.
But saying no to sugary foods in an effort to restrict your sugar intake can be difficult, especially if those around you (friends, work colleagues, relatives, etc) often indulge in sweet food and drink. Sugary snacks such as energy drinks (lucozade) and glucose tablets are used to prevent or treat hypoglycemia, so don’t worry about taking these if you are at risk of hypos.
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 carbohydrate. In fact, diets that are low in carbohydrate and high in fat are now widely regarded as being healthier, particularly in terms of blood glucose control and 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 carbohydrate. 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.
It’s also important to remember that some fats are a lot worse than others. The worst fats are those typically found in processed foods such as ready to eat meals, crisps, pies, cakes and biscuits, so it’s best to limit these foods in your diet.
Fat and blood glucose levels:
Unlike sugar, fat has little immediate effect on blood glucose levels and this a key reason why low carb, higher fat diets tend to produce better blood glucose control.
However, it’s important to note that taking in excessive fat, if it leads to an excessive calorie intake, will result in increased insulin resistance and therefore higher blood glucose levels.
What about low fat products?
Low fat products are a popular option amongst consumers as they tend to have less calories, but it’s not always the case. Some low fat foods, such as yoghurts, contain significantly more sugar so being ‘low fat’ doesn’t necessarily make it healthier. Deciding on low fat products also depends on the rest of your diet. For example, if you tend to eat quite a lot of dairy produce then it may be better to go for low fat dairy options.
The Final Verdict:
IT’S SUGAR THAT MAKES YOU FAT. That much sugar makes your cells numb to insulin’s call. You pump out more and more insulin to pull blood sugar levels down.Your body can’t burn all that sugar and stores it as fat for a rainy day. You become insulin-resistant, and your metabolism goes haywire.
YOU NEED FAT TO FUNCTION. Your body is 15-30% fat. Your 10 trillion cells need fat to build cell walls. Cell walls made of high-quality fats metabolize insulin better. They help regulate your blood sugar levels. You feel less hungry as a result. You store less fat and burn more of it.
ALL FATS AREN’T CREATED EQUAL. Sugar has over 250 names, but sugar is sugar. It always does the same damage. Fat has many types (saturated,monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, trans) and subtypes. Each of them behaves differently. Some fats (like omega-3) are helpful. Some fats (like trans) are harmful. Some are neutral.
LOW-FAT DIETS BOOMERANG. We tend to eat more starch and sugar to make up for the lost fat. A diet high in starch and sugar increases inflammation and encourages diabesity (diabetes + obesity). A dangerous, small, dense form of cholesterol builds up, increasing your risk for heart attacks. In a recent study, high-fat, low-carb diets burned more calories than low-fat, high-carb diets, and better improved cholesterol and insulin resistance.
The best way to keep weight off is to eat a whole food diet with quality fats, fiber, and carbs (like dried beans) that won’t spike blood sugar. Quality fats are found in extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, extra-virgin coconut oil, some nuts and seeds, eggs and fatty fish. Avoid “Frankenfoods” at all costs. These are processed foods packed with hidden sugars, trans fat and inflammatory vegetable oils (like corn and soy).
DON’T BLAME DIETARY FAT FOR LOVE HANDLES OR AN EXPANDING WAISTLINE. Sugar is what sabotages your weight and well-being. Quality fats in a healthy diet will protect and nourish your body from the inside out.
Do you find this article informative? If you do, you can also share this with your friends and family online. For more healthy tips, feel free to visit our website more often and don’t forget to leave your comment. Thank you and God bless. Have a nice day.