First it was fat. Now it is sugar. What will it be next? The TV chef, Nigel Slater, said as much in a recent article, ‘It is worth remembering that today’s devil will probably be tomorrow’s angel and vice versa’. But this is not the case. We are learning more and are better informed.
The problem lies with the process of science. We want clear answers, and science only provides progressive insights, some of which lead us down the wrong road. However, we now understand better what effects come with the consumption of sugars and processed carbohydrates. In sum, they stimulate the body to store fat.
The World Health Organization recommends that we gain less than 10% of calories from ‘free’ (processed) sugars. Ideally, it should be maximum 5%. For an average woman, this provides an allowance of 100 calories out of the recommended 2000 daily. That adds up to one biscuit and a glass of fruit juice. So long as you consume no other sweetened food that day, then you can happily consume those two tempting treats. Not a lot is it?
Of all things, our taste for sugar is the hardest to forego. So much in our evolution has attuned our taste for sweeter things. It gives us instant gratification. When we ask ‘What will it be next?’, we may be allowing our taste-buds to overrule our best interests. We do not relish going cold turkey on puddings and cake.
The science behind weight gain is complex, yet it is better understood now than 20 years ago. Hard though it is to live with the truth, the recommendations on diet are now more robust. We should move on from questioning whether the advice is correct, to weighing up how on earth we can follow it.