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Nutrition Myth - Sugar makes you fat

On Friday, August 7, 2009 by Registered Dietitian

 

All legitimate science agrees that the causes of continuous weight gain in developed nations consists of a variety of environmental, psychological and physiological factors, not sugar and sweeteners.[1] Researchers found that obesity was positively linked with time spent watching TV or at a computer and diets high in fat. Sweeteners are unfortunately guilty by association because of their presence in the foods and drinks (thus calories) we choose to consume. In other words, we can get fat on anything if we eat more calories than we burn. According to a 2003 article in Obesity Research, “The use of caloric sweeteners has risen across the world, and has contributed to an increasing number of calories consumed per day, which leads to weight gain”.[2] The sad truth is that as a society we simply make poor food and drink choices. No one would argue that a diet high in sugar and the low nutrient density foods that deliver it is good for you, but in the end these poor food choices are simply a delivery vehicle for excess calories. There is nothing inherently fat producing about sugar. But, the reality is that sugary foods do make up a significant portion of the typical American’s diet. Coupled with low daily activity, this is a recipe for disaster, tipping the scale in favor of weight gain. The take home message should be more accurately, “reduce junk food intake and increase physical activity to improve health and body composition”. Not, “don’t eat sugar, it will make you fat.”


References

1  Sun SZ, EmpieMW. Lack of findings for the association between obesity risk and the usual sugar-sweetened beverage consumtion in adults- A primary analysis of databases of CSFII-1989-1991, CSFII-1994-1998, NHANES III and combined NHANES 1999-2002. Food Chem Toxicol. 2007. 45 (8): 1523-1536.
2  Popkin B., Nielson SJ. The Sweetening of the World’s Diet. Obesity Research.  2003: 11(11).

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