Sugar v. Fat – The Silent Killer(s)

Haha, gotcha with that clickbait title.

Yesterday, the Times published an alarming, but not surprising, article all about sugar, fat, and who’s to blame for heart disease, obesity, and so on and so forth. Before we go on, I just want to make clear that when I say sugar, I mean added sugar (so fruits are OKAY!) and when I say fat, I mean saturated fats.

The Times came out guns blazing, “the sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to play down the link between sugar and heart disease and promote saturated fat as the culprit instead, newly released historical documents show,” and then goes on to state that “the Sugar Association paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 in today’s dollars to publish a 1967 review of research on sugar, fat and heart disease.”

Oh, it gets better…

In 2015, the Times did a piece on Coca-Cola. As it turns out, Coca-Cola gave millions (millions!!) of dollars “to researchers who sought to play down the link between sugary drinks and obesity.”

But wait…

Mark Hegsted, one of the three Harvard researchers, went on to become the head of nutrition at the USDA. In 1977, Hegsted drafted the federal dietary guidelines and thus dictated how we, as a nation, should eat.


I thought living in Illinois was bad #FreeBlago (kidding).

Okay so basically what all of this means is that, FOR YEARS, we (the general public) thought saturated fat was the sole perpetrator of heart disease. Saturated fat acted alone, if you will. Saturated fat made you fat. And sick. And lazy. And sugar? Sugar was tasty. Sugar was GOOD!

What does this mean for you? Who’s the real killer?

Well as it turns out, neither sugar nor saturated fat are going to kill you, so long as you consume minimal amounts of both. Duh, right? It’s 2016, I thought we already knew this.

Excess is the real killer. Enjoy your saturated fat in limited quantities and enjoy your occasional sugar-laden juice drinks. Just kidding, I can’t advocate for either of those options and still uphold my duty as a responsible dietitian.

What I can advocate for is choosing whole foods like fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits, chicken and beef (if that’s your thing), nuts, avocados (are they fruit or nah?), herbal teas (but please, no poop teas!), and smoothies. And chocolate chip cookies (they’re a food group, KAY?!) You should definitely exercise, too. For heart health, strong bones, all that good stuff. And then, on occasion, TREAT YO’SELF.

Peace and I’m out 

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