As we tackle many subjects about health and nutrition, we couldn’t skip the topic of sugar vs fat. Sugar vs Fat is definitively the ultimate battle of healthiness. Discussed in every aspect of a healthy or unhealthy diet, sugar and fat are every time put into the competition.
‘this one is good!’, ‘you should moderate it!’, ‘it’s unhealthy’… As we find these two components in a huge range of foods, it makes difficult to see if it’s healthy or unhealthy.
Over the past few years, fat has been largely criticized because of the unhealthy effects it could bring. Cholesterol and obesity among the most important. But recently, sugar isn’t at the mercy of strong criticism after many studies and researches.
Therefore, between sugar and fat, which one is worse for your health?
What is sugar?
Sugar is a sweet-flavored carbohydrate found in many plants, particularly in roots or stems. It’s probably one of the most important carbohydrate among all carbohydrates. For good reason, sugar is the main content of many foods including fast food, processed foods, sweetened beverages, and soft drinks, candies, fruits, dairy products, etc.
We find sugar in many forms and many colors that make it difficult to understand his role for your health. Natural sugars are good for your health. As the name suggests, these types of sugar are naturally found in fruits and vegetables, meaning there hadn’t been any changes, alterations or adds. On the contrary, when refined, sugar had been purified or decolored, it might be harmful to your health. In this way, the sugar loses its natural nutrients like minerals that are particularly essential for your body. it’s important to keep an eye on refined or ‘added’ sugar.
Another aspect of sugar is its colors. It exists white, brown and finally liquid sugar. Their colors mean absolutely nothing about their healthiness or not. Indeed, not all white sugars are refined and not all brown sugars are necessarily the best for your health. We’re the most familiar with white sugar because it’s one the most common and eaten sugar worldwide. However, it doesn’t mean it’s good sugar. This same process is made with brown sugar.
The importance of sugar for your body
The body requires carbohydrates to give energy in order to nourish the brain and muscles. Like a car needs fuel, our body needs carbohydrates.
To function your body properly, it’s crucial to consume sugar in moderation along with physical activity and a healthy and balanced diet.
Is sugar good or bad for your health?
Sugar is either good or bad for your health when you consume sugar, the key is always the same: moderation. If you’re an active person who exercises regularly, sugar is important to give energy to your whole body and muscles. Nonetheless, sugar doesn’t provide anything else apart from energy. That’s why we often refer to sugar as ‘empty calories’.
Because we consume many processed or foods that had been altered in their sugar content, it’s difficult to notice how much amounts of sugar we eat. A high intake of sugar is particularly hurtful for your health as it can cause diabetes, heart diseases, strokes or weight gains. That’s why there are some health benefits to stop eating sugar. Besides, the problem with sugar is that it can turn into food addiction. As we already discussed things you probably don’t know about sugar, sugar can lead us to eat it more and more.
It’s thus food to eat with moderation. Moreover, it’s crucial to favor natural sugar. Fruits and vegetables!
What is fat?
Fat is part of three main nutrients, along with carbohydrate and protein.
There are several types of fat.
The first one is unsaturated fat divided into two categories called monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats. We naturally called them the good ones. These are mainly from plant foods. Avocadoes, olives, almonds, nuts, pistachios for the monounsaturated and corn and soy oils, sesame seeds, sunflower, seeds, walnuts for the polyunsaturated. This latter contains also omega-3 and omega-6 which are great for your health. The second one is saturated fat including meat and dairy products. We called him the bad one. Finally, there is the very bad one, trans fat which is found in industrialized prepared and processed foods such as fried foods, takeaways, snacks, pastries, cakes, etc.
The importance of fat for your body
Like carbohydrates, fat is an essential element of a healthy diet. Indeed, fat is a large source of energy. It allows your body to absorb some vitamins and minerals, among the most important health benefits.
Moreover, your body can’t produce polyunsaturated fat, also called essential fat. Hence the necessity to have a healthy and balanced diet containing this polyunsaturated fat.
As analyzed above, goods fats to favor in your diet are unsaturated fats. Fats to avoids are trans. Nevertheless, it’s important to eat fat in a small quantity so that you can protect your health against any cardiovascular diseases or weight problems (obesity).
What your body needs the most is unsaturated or ‘good fat’ to ensure its proper functioning.
Is fat good or bad for your health?
Answering the question is easy because it’s necessary to eat the ‘good’ fat and eat in small quantities or avoid ‘bad’ fat. Most importantly, fats to avoid are trans fats. Generally, when consumed in high quantities, trans fats can increase cholesterol levels and bring the possibility of cardiovascular diseases.
This is why it’s important to limit the number of processed products, fast food, and takeaways in your diet by replacing it with good fats. However, it’s difficult to avoid them completely because they can be found also in butter, whole milk, prepared products including cookies, cakes, pieces of bread, snacks, crackers…
On the other side, ‘good’ fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that help to maintain normal cholesterol levels. Therefore, organize your healthy and balanced diet with foods containing ‘good’ fats.
The competition is harsh. Fat and sugar are both important in a healthy diet.
Regarding sugar, it’s important to eat it in moderation which means to limit sugar intake. Besides, it’s also good to limit eating processed foods because they contain a lot of added sugar that is obviously hurtful for your health. We can’t help noticing the other negative effect that brings sugar which can be a terrible addiction. Sugar is definitely a food to limit a lot in a healthy and balanced diet.
For fat, the key is to eat ‘good’ fat: the unsaturated fat including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Eat avocados, olives, salmon, mackerel, nuts and seeds and various oil like sunflower, corn oil. They need to be an integral part of your diet that can bring a lot of health benefits. On the contrary, trans fat is associated with a huge range of diseases such as diabetes and heart problems.
Finally, it’s, therefore, more recommended to remove refined, processed sugar from your diet and replace it with fruits and goods fats along with a healthy and balanced diet as well as of healthy lifestyle including physical activity.
Sources and further readings
BBC Good Food: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/truth-about-sugar
Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321655.php
Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good
Business Insider: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/nutrition/sugar-vs-fat.html
Sugar photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.
Olive oil photo by Stevepb on Pixabay.
The importance of fat for your body by Dana Tentis on Pexels.