Horizon Sugar Vs Fat

A brilliant programme that really tackled this fat sugar debate www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03t8r4h/Horizon_20132014_Sugar_v_Fat

It was very interesting and important to show that sugar should not become the Demon.  This programme confirmed my feeling that demonising one macronutrient completely is not the way to go.  Dr Lustig is very convincing and his metabolic arguments are very good but how does this really translate in real people?  To what degree does excessive fructose have negative health effects?  To what extent does excess calories from sugar contribute to obesity?  There is not the evidence to support Dr Lustig’s argument that fructose is poison!  I think that if we cut refined sugar out of our diet I am sure many of us would lose weight and feel healthier but only if we continue eating plenty fruits and veg, complex carbs and wholegrains.

This is a very reductionist view and if we turn sugar into the demon as fat was the bad guy could end up down the same avenue in 30 years time?  I am caught up in this debate now and this is why nutrition is fascinating – it is understandable why the public get confused and become disengaged.

We cannot live without carbs just like we cannot live without fats – we do have to appreciate the variety of these macronutrients and the foods that they come packaged in, the pattern of how we eat them.  It is the way we eat these macronutrients that is more important than any macronutrient in isolation.  The blend of fat and sugar together might be more problematic than either macronutrient on its own.

In this regard, bringing the food industry to consider the way these macronutrients are packaged in processed foods is important part of moving the public towards better diet and health.  Current thinking suggests that many of our manufactured foods make it incredibly easy to consume  calories in a way that does not affect our satiety mechanisms very well – we are then more prone to consuming more calories than we need and gain weight.

I do support the move to remove unnecessary sugar from manufactured foods – but I think we should be wary to demonise sugar or carbs completely, to start eating fat and fatty foods too liberally and to lose sight of the big picture.

Bottom line – eat a varied diet, don’t rely on processed foods, eat regularly and take exercise.  Faddy diets that exclude any one food group are not good!

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