low fat diet high sugar

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The beginning of a new year is a popular time for focusing attention on diets and weight loss. Everywhere you look – magazines, TV, Internet, there is talk about different diets, detox regimes and the latest wonder products.

If you are considering taking action, then choosing the right diet or detox regime is key, as many low fat diets could actually make you fatter.
Since the 1970s we have been told to cut our fat intake. It seemed to make sense: if we eat less fat, then we store less fat. At the same time theories were being developed that equated high saturated fat intake with high cholesterol and heart disease. The message was simple, and still pervades today.

However this is simply not true. Despite changes in our national fat consumption trends, such as switching to vegetable oils and avoiding saturated fat, we are still piling on the pounds and obesity rates in adults and children are still on the rise.

According to the International Federation of the Red Cross, there are now more obese people (1.5 billion) than hungry people (925 million). The figures for diabetes are equally arresting: 5 per cent of the world’s population now have the disease. In 1980 the figure was 2.5 per cent. Little wonder the Secretary-General of the UN recently said that the biggest threat to the world, developed and developing, is not from communicable diseases such as HIV or malaria but the non-communicable: obesity, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and of course diabetes. The death rate from those conditions alone is 35 million each year.

It is the fat content of food which tends to satisfy us or make a food taste really good. Low fat ready meals, snack foods and drinks contain much higher levels of sugar to compensate for their bland taste. Much of the time, this sugar is either sucrose or high fructose corn syrup, both of which contain about 50% fructose. When we have a high intake of sugar the liver has to manage it and if we do not instantly need to use all of this sugar then it gets converted to fat.

The intake of carbohydrates raises blood sugar levels, which then raise insulin levels, which then increase fat storage, but sugars and other refined carbohydrates will do it much quicker than more complex carbohydrates. Not only do we have ‘low fat’ foods with high amounts of sugar but we also find carbohydrates used to bulk out foods like sausages and breakfast cereals.

When faced with an overdose of sugar the body’s cells will shut themselves off and so starts the process of insulin resistance. This in turn  promotes chronic metabolic disease, including diabetes and heart disease.

High levels of hidden sugars can be found in a number of foods and drinks, including fruit juice – especially cranberry juice – and flavoured water drinks, take away meals, ready meals, low fat desserts, snacks and treats, yoghurt, crisps and much more. A low-fat yoghurt may, for example, contain 7% more sugar than the full fat version.

In addition, many fruit farms now focus on growing varieties of fruit that have higher levels of sugar. It seems our sweet tooth is becoming increasingly persistent: the more sugar we eat, the more sweetness we need to satisfy the craving.

Are you aware of the hidden sugars in your diet?


  1. Hi Dot,
    This regularly crops up in tv magazine programmes and media articles.
    I think the message is gettign across, but that ‘low fat’ marketing on the box looks so healthy!

    My own diet combination is everything in moderation plus increased exercise.
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  2. There is so much mis-information out there it is crazy. It is hard to know what to believe anymore.
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  3. Good article!
    Yes I’m very aware and have never fallen into the sugar trap. I do like sweets, but my system clearly tells me when something is too sweet. I can’t eat the regular kind of fruit yoghourt, for instance, without diluting it with regular. I also can’t eat “low fat”, make my stomach turn.
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  4. I am working hard at eating better, I think my biggest problem is that I don’t eat often so when I do I tend to over eat.
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  5. I’m so glad that you have shared information to dispute The Big Fat Lie. This is just one of the areas of MYTH-information about nutrition. You may be surprised to find out that the “devil” of sugar being terrible for you may ALSO be part Urban Legend! It’s so hard to keep up with all of the information that is spread about good and bad foods! But the one thing that I’ve learned is that vegetable oils (Omega 6-66) may be the Ground Zero for what has caused the rise in overweight in the US. So avoid bad oils (Omega 6’s) and fill up on GOOD Fats: Omega 3’s – coconut, butter, olive, etc..
    Thanks for spreading good info!
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  6. Thanks Dot. As others have said, the mis-information and I believe some of the ‘lies’ that we are told is all over the place. And the of course we get addicted to the different foods and it’s even more difficult to maneuver. I think we all ‘want’ to do a better job.

    Thanks for sharing.
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  7. On the news today they just said if you are obese and in an accident your are 20% more likely to be killed if you are in a car accident!
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  8. I try to eat natural and organic when I can, but I still occasionally have low fat. Will check the sugar levels out.
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  9. I decided long ago that virtually all mainstream health and diet information is misleading or wrong. I’m a huge fan of eating LOTS of healthy fats! And pretty much avoid anything with a label 😉
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  10. Being diabetic I think I’m more aware of some of this; however, its so hard to tell sometimes. I read labels and try to stay within the serving range but it can be a pain to count out ships or crackers some days! I am trying to eat more from the organic side. Salad greens are one of my best friends! I wasn’t aware of what you mention about the fruit farms though. Have to keep that in mind!
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  11. Thanks for sharing this information – definitely food for thought. Thanks for dropping by my blog.
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