Is sugar the new fat?

February 6, 2015 | Carolyn

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Sugar Cubes   Photo by Uwe Hermann. Creative Commons licence.

From the Paleo diet to buttered coffee, fat is making a comeback after decades in the dietary wilderness.

For years the conventional wisdom was that dietary fat was responsible for many chronic health problems. Studies starting in the 1960s appeared to show a strong relationship between saturated fats and heart disease, and low-fat diets and food products enjoyed decades of popularity as a result. As David Katz, Director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, noted in a 2012 blog post, "The food industry saw opportunity in the low-fat message, and reinvented the interpretation of the message to suit its profit-driven motives. The era of highly-processed, starchy, sugary, salty, low-fat foods was born."

Recent research has discredited the earlier studies, leading to declarations that the war on fat is over. 

So what has replaced fat as the new dietary culprit? How about sugar. Increasing sugar consumption is being linked to rising rates of obesity and diabetes, and recent research suggests that it is at least as responsible for other poor health outcomes, including heart disease, as fat. The pendulum has swung so far that some even suggest sugar may be toxic.

To read more about sugars and fats in our diet, and their health effects, have a look at these books, available in a variety of formats:

Fat Chance: beating the odds against sugar, processed food, obesity, and disease Why We Get Fat: and what to do about ir Sweet Poison: why sugar makes us fat
available as a book, an eBook and an eAudiobook available as a book, an eBook, an audiobook and an eAudiobook
The Big Fat Surprise: why butter, meat and cheese belong in a healthy diet Year of No Sugar: a memoir Salt, Sugar, Fat: how the food giants hooked us
available as a book, an eBook, an audiobook, an eAudiobook and a Talking Book available as a book and an eBook available as a book, an eBook, an audiobook and an eAudiobook