Sugar: source of all evil
But is sugar really the source of all evil? Then we first have to look more closely at facts. Facts in the field of nutrition research are not that simple to figure out. There are many studies. Some good, some bad and some far below the arrow. This applies to both sugar and fat surveys and so on.
Research into added sugars
Guidelines only arise from investigations when there are enough of them, which are large-scale and have a clear outcome. In the past there were many studies that attributed health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes to saturated fat. In recent years, however, the focus has been much more on sugars and in particular added sugars.
The nuance comes with time
It now appears that not all saturated fats are equal and not all saturated fats are bad for health. For example, the saturated fats in butter have a very different structure and therefore have an effect than the saturated fats in hard margarines. The tunnel vision that once prevailed in the area of saturated fat must now be abandoned. Not all saturated fats raise cholesterol levels, cause cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
Avoid the tunnel vision
At the same time, there is a risk of using a tunnel vision for sugar. Sugar is always bad. If we go in that direction, apparently nothing has been done with the ‘saturated fat is always bad’ fiasco. Not all sugars are bad. It is about the extent to which. It is not without reason that the WHO has issued a recommendation to limit the added sugar intake to less than 5% of the total energy intake. It is a signal and recognition that sugars can indeed lead to major health problems.
Nevertheless, it is important to continue to realize that research from the past is not worthless. There is progressive insight. Some saturated fats are poor in excess. Some sugars are poor in excess. The total picture of the diet ultimately determines the risk of conditions such as diabetes and obesity. Not a single nutrient.
The truth about nutrition does not exist
The danger of blaming a single nutrient is that the big picture is lost. A healthy diet goes beyond the amount of sugar. It goes beyond the amount of saturated fat. It goes beyond the amount of salt. It goes beyond a popular speech in a popular TV program. The truth about nutrition does not exist. Nobody knows anyone. And nobody can proclaim it.