The battle has raged on for decades, is fat the hero or the villain? Is sugar out to get you. Both make food taste great, because our bodies are designed to crave them. So we’re laying down the commonly accepted facts as they stand in September 2021.
Introducing the fighters
A range of sweet-tasting carbohydrates. The most common ones people talk about are sucrose (table sugar, usually made form sugar cane), fructose (found in most fruits, root vegetables and honey) and glucose (which generally comes from carbohydrate-heavy foods like bread, potatoes and fruits).
Throughout history, sugars have been an important part of the human diet, providing easy-to-access energy. Sugars form part of a balanced diet, and eating whole foods with natural sugars in them lets your body get a steady supply of energy while it digests other parts of the food. Many foods that contain sugars, such as fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains are great for the body and help reduce risk of certain diseases.
Generally though, early humans didn’t have access to the amounts of sugar present in modern foods like fizzy drinks and lollies. We’ve known for a long time that sugars are damaging to teeth and in ecxess they contribute to weight gain. Modern research shows that too much sugar contributes to many diseases including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
A blanket term for natural oils or fatty acids made in animal bodies and some plants. Fat is another important historical source of energy for humans, and some fats have additional benefits such as helping brain development, helping you absorb vitamins and minerals, helping young people grown and helping adults repair themselves.
In the 1990s and 2000s fats became a major villain, and many health-conscious peopel attempted to cut them out of their diets entirely. We now know that was partially wrong. Fats are a very important part of a balanced diet, but they should be consumed in moderation.
Certain types of fats are worse than others. Polyunsaturated fats (such as those in corn and soybean oils) and monunsaturated fats (found in olive, canola, peanut and sunflower oils) are what we call “good fats”. Trans fats, found in some processed foods, contribute to clogged arteries and can contribute to heart disease and stroke. Saturated fats, found in aminal products like butter, cream, and meat, can have a similar effect.
And the winner is...
Well it’s still complicated, but if you have to choose between a pie and a bottle of fizzy drink, take the pie. Saturated fats in that amount will do less damage to your body than a huge amount of sugar. We are still discovering the wide-ranging effects of excess sugar, but we know that having too much sugar is one of the worst things you can do to your body, alongside smoking and excessive alcohol.
Either way, you should have your sugars and your fats in moderation and try to stick to natural sources of both – mainly from plants.
Fitfood meals are carefully balanced to give you healthy portions of sugars and fats alongside nutrients you need to live a healthy lifestyle. Check out our Keto Menu (high in good fats) and our entire range of specially-prepared meals.