Sugar and fat have a reputation as some of the biggest dietary dangers. But which of the two is worse?
Humans love the taste of sugar. But our bodies need fat. As health hazards, they've both gotten a lot of attention, but which is worse... and which of the culprits is most responsible for making us fat? "Fat actually yields more calories than sugar does per gram, so it's not really an apple to orange comparison," said Dietitian Amy Goodson. Dietitian Amy Goodson says it's one of the biggest conundrums people face when trying to adopt healthier eating habits and when trying to figure out what to look for on food labels. "Sugar is definitely an added culprit to weight gain in America because sugar adds calories, but people like the taste of sweet things, so the more processed foods you eat, typically the more sugar you're taking in plus you're probably getting in more calories versus if you were just choosing a fruit or a low fat yogurt or something that's a more whole food," said Goodson.
Health experts recommend we eat no more than eight teaspoons of sugar a day, but on average, Americans consume much more than that. And people who eat high fat diets have an increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and premature death. But Goodson says, when comparing the two, it might be best to look at sugar content first. "When comparing sugar and fat while you're grocery shopping I would say look at the sugar first because sugar is usually added to more food products... such as cereals, granola bars, juices, things that people eat on a normal, daily basis," said Goodson. But as any nutritionist will tell you, it's the overall quality and quantity of your diet that likely matters most. Amy actually says her first inclination is to look at total calories.. even before she compares sugar or fat.
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