Did anyone see BBCs Horizon programme last night on Sugar v Fat? If not and you’re in the UK I’d say it was worth a quick catch up on iPlayer or just have a quick read of this review which sums it up pretty well.
It feels like every day that some new diet or research is coming out claiming fats bad, no it’s just sugar, no it’s all carbs, just stick to low calories and on it goes. No wonder people throw their arms up in the air and say ‘who knows?’ as they tuck into their muffin and latte.
The programme followed identical twins over the course of a month seeing how they responded to two extreme diets – one of almost no fat and one of no carb (sugar). Perhaps unsurprisingly the twin eating just protein and fat lost the most weight, but perhaps more surprisingly he also ended up with his insulin rocketing as his body started using his muscle to create glucose in order to function (ketosis), also causing him to lose muscle. The twin on a diet of no fat still lost weight (both fat and muscle) but found he never felt full and was constantly snacking plus continued exposure to that level of sugar is likely to have serious long term health consequences. Whilst the experiment was far from perfect I think there are still things we can take from it.
We’ve all read that crash and fad diets can damage your health but what surprised me is how quickly this can happen. They only did this for ONE month. What impact does years of yo-yo dieting have? Is it not time to find balance, eating healthily without forgoing life’s pleasures constantly?
The programme also interviewed scientists on the research around the effect fat and sugar combined. They suggested that sugar and fat combined, particularly in a ratio of around 1:1 had a similar affected the brain in a similar way to cocaine, which could explain why a pot of ice cream is so hard to put back in the freezer!
Whilst the key is to find out what food works best for you I believe that a diet high in protein, vegetables, fruit and sufficient carbohydrates with minimal processed junk is the most sensible option we have right now.
Let me know your thoughts.