Sugar and fats – what you need to know

Sugar and fats have been a hot topic as of recent, with new claims stating that we should now be more concerned about the sugar we consume than the fat. We have gone from being a fat-obsessed nation to having an overall fascination on our sizes altogether.

We have seen over the years many dietary trends and fads, of which are based on factual evidence provided to us by studies undertaken. But having this information and knowing what the right thing to do with it can be an entire new ‘kettle of fish.’


Several claims have been made that in order to maintain a healthy weight and body mass index (BMI), we should be looking to reduce or at least limit the level of calories we put into our bodies’ – specifically fats and more recently focusing on sugars.

We know that we require calories as part of our daily requirements, even if it is a limited amount – let’s start by clearing something up that some of us may be under the wrong impression; calories, in simple terms, are a measurement or a unit of energy, not a tangible ingredient found within the food and drink we consume.

Calories come in two forms:

  • Small – cal, of which 1cal is the unit of energy required to raise a gram of water by one degree Celsius.
  • Large – Cal, or kcal, is the amount of energy required to raise one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.

Calories are found in anything that contains energy. In food and drink terms, we focus mainly on the calorific equivalent of the following:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Proteins

Sugars vs fats

Although sugar has been commonly used over the years as a flavour replacement, the effect of a high-sugar intake can leave you feeling lethargic with blood glucose levels being above the norm.

Using sugar as a main calorie intake can also mean that you are missing out on essential nutrients that you may gain from a less sugary snack.

Several vitamins are fat-soluble, so vegetables and other nutrient-rich foods are best consumed with a bit of fat in order to help the body better absorb the contained nutrients.

Cutting out high saturated fats and concentrating on replacing condiments, for example replacing butter spread with an olive oil -based spread has proved to reduce levels of cholesterol.

Digital assists

Looking ahead with this fresh look on food energy sources, how are we going to measure the results? Observing from a personal experience, I have found that I am a fickle person when it comes to keeping data on my own progress. I’m not sure of the precise mentality behind this, perhaps due to the fact it will have no direct response on another person.

If you are however someone who wishes to categorically monitor the calories you are taking with the aim to collate results, a good App to use would have to be one that gives you information on food types, with an estimate or guide how many calories they contain such as MyFitnessPal.

Download for Android Download for iOS

Your opinion

I’d be interested in finding out how many of you do in fact keep a record of the foods you are consuming, are there any Apps or digital tools you find that really help? Does keeping the information as a reference point help you change your eating habits?

As well as hearing how people feel regarding recent claims are going to play a big part in the way health and dietary trends will be shaped, I’d be interested in hearing from those who have always believed that sugar has been a larger contributor in terms of long-term illness, BMI, and general health comparative to fats.

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