Given the choice – Fat or Sugar?

Sugar Vs FatIf you’re a label reader and trying to make healthy food choices when shopping you’ve probably noticed that one product (especially the likes of muesli bars, yogurt and cereals such as muesli) may be low in fat, but is likely to be high in sugar, while another may be low in sugar but is high in fat.  It always seems to be a trade off! It’s really hard to find a (tasty) product low in both fat and sugar at the same time.

When it comes to the “crunch” in the fat vs sugar debate,  is it healthier to choose the product with less fat or the one with less sugar?

The answer is that the source of the fat or sugar is key.  With food items such as yogurt, muesli bars or muesli the sugar may be derived from added fruit or in the case of yogurt, the milk it contains is also a source of sugar.  However we need to be aware that there may also be added sugar.  Unfortunately the food labels won’t actually identify the specific source of sugar, but you can still get a load of information from the ingredients list.  On any food label, the ingredients are always listed in order of the greatest weight of one particular ingredient contained within the product.  You can be sure that most of the sugar comes from fruit if it’s listed second or first on the ingredients list.  If this is the case, that product is a better choice that one which states “sugar” as being the first or second item on the ingredients list.

With fat, use a similar process.  If the main source of fat is from animal products such as dairy, meat poultry then you’re better to chose a low fat option as all of these fats derived from animals are high in saturated fat and you ought to limit these fats in order to maintain good heart health.  On the other hand, fats from healthy sources such plants (nuts, seeds and their oils) are fine, so long as you keep an eye on the overall calorie count.  These types of fats are actually good for us.  There is an exception to the rule however.  That is fats in the form of coconut and palm oil.  These are also high in saturated fats and should be avoided or at least limited severely.

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Filed under: Weight Loss Myths

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