Sugar vs. Fat-Free

Believe it or not, sugar may be equally as fattening as fat itself. Before buying your next box of ‘fat-free’ cookies, consider that an ounce of fat might be better for you than any sugar saturated fat-free snack!

All of us should eat less sugar! That is probably big news to a world that only considered fat as Mr. Bad Guy. Ever since we started slashing the fat and consuming those monstrous low-fat muffins and boxes of fat-free cookies and candy, we have actually gotten fatter. Why? Because, we have been consuming these goodies with abandon, disregarding the fact that they usually have more sugar and sometimes only slightly fewer calories than the original products.

Take Nabisco Fig Newtons, for example. Two of the original figs Newtons supply you with 13 grams of sugar and 110 calories. If you eat two Nabisco Fat-Free Fig Newtons, thinking you are doing your body such a favor, you’ll get no fat, but you’ll get more sugar, 15 grams instead of 13 grams, and only 10 fewer calories. What’s worse is that the fat in the original cookie helps satiate your appetite so you are apt to eat only a few. With the fat-free kind, people sometimes eat whole boxes with out ever feeling satisfied.

Nonetheless, sales of fat-free products have skyrocketed. SnackWell’s, a line of reduced fat cookies and crackers, now outsells Oreo Cookies, previously the country’s favorite. With the use of these fat-free products, our fat consumption may be going down but our waistlines are expanding. During the last decade, Americans have reduced their fat intake at least 2 percent, but we have also become 30 percent more overweight in almost the same time.

The answer to our battle of the bulge and current health problems, then, is not to avoid all fat. The right kind of fat can promote healing and weight loss. The right kind of fat is an essential nutrient that our bodies need. Processed sugar, on the other hand, is something we don’t need at all.

Statistics in France seem to prove this. Even though the French diet is higher in fat than the American diet, the French are much less afflicted by obesity and heart disease than Americans! What’s the French secret to maintaining weight and better health? The answer appears to be that French people consume five and a half times less sugar per capita than Americans (Hippocratic, May/June 1990). Humans don’t require sugar, yet the average American consumes their body weight in sugar each year.

If all Americans knew the dangers of sugar, it would be withdrawn form our list of food additives. Refined sugar acts more like a drug that our bodies need to detoxify rather than a nutrient supplying food. Refined sugar is, in fact, without nutrients. Important nutrients such as chromium, manganese, cobalt, copper, zinc and magnesium are stripped away in sugar refinement. Our bodies must use their own mineral reserves just to digest it. With lots of calories but no nutrients, it is my opinion that sugar is the number one cause of America’s weight problem and lack of nutrition — a combination known as over consumptive malnutrition. What this term means is that Americans are consuming too many calories that add up in weight but don’t give us the nutrients we need to keep our bodies functioning properly.

Our distant ancestors ate no concentrated sugars. Even in the infancy of this country, people ate sugar only as a rare treat. But now sugar and other sweeteners have become a part of our everyday diet. Little by little, as our country has developed and become more “civilized,” Americans have become more and more “sugarized.” The following chart shows the alarming rise in sugar consumption since the 1800s.

SUGAR CONSUMPTION PER PERSON PER YEAR


Even more, things have gotten worse since 1990. At last count, Americans consumed 152 pounds of sweeteners per year and when you add non-caloric sweeteners to that number, it is almost 165 pounds. Compare that to the consumption of less than 10 pounds of sugar per year in the late 1700s and you can see that sugar consumption has risen more than 1500 percent in the last 200 years!

Such a drastic change in the human diet in less then two centuries is a cause for great concern. Evolutionary changes occur over hundreds of thousands of years; the human body of today is still very similar to the Stone Age model of forty thousand years ago. To change the kind of calories consumed by humans so dramatically in so short a time is an invitation for trouble. Our bodies simply haven’t had time to respond and adapt to this nutrient-poor source of calories – and it appears that our bodies are rebelling with a multitude of physical ailments, telling us loudly and clearly that they don’t like what they are being fed.

We all know sugar causes Dental Cavities, but recent evidence shows that sugar is associated with weakened immunity, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and more. We also know without a doubt that excess calories from sugar consumption turn into body fat just as easily as excess calories from fat. Remember that the next time you want to think that fat-free means, “Eat all you want.”

Some of you might already be well aware that sugar is harmful to your health and be eager to move on to more advanced information. If you are, let me get to the bottom line: Fat, like protein, is an essential nutrient for human health. Simple sugars are not! We could live very nicely (much better, in fact) if we never ate another ounce of sugar.

Sugar has been blamed for nearly every known disease and even for the fall of several empires. While those accusations may sound like exaggerations, they probably are closer to the truth than you realize.