Fat versus Sugar
Consuming high amounts of refined sugar can store fat around the belly area. The dynamics of weight gain however is more complex than that.
Different studies already showed that either fat or sugar can replace eachother in a diet with hardly any body weight changes.
So if there was a lack of sugar forcing you to eat more fat, you would automatically adapt to only have as much as the body needs.
Furthermore, whether you'll gain weight also depends on other variables:
- Your activity level. Do you have a physically demanding job? Are you into sports?
- Are you sedentary?
- Your daily diet.
Understand that we're talking about excesses here. Not a normal consumption of foods.
Without going too much into it just think how fat and sugar affects you personally. The take away rule here, you only gain weight with an excess of calories.
In the BBC Horizon documentary "Fat vs Sugar", with the van Tulleken twin brothers (both physicians), it was shown how a high fat diet negatively affected blood sugar levels after just one month.
From the experiment in that documentary they also found too much fat is generally worse for your health than too much carbohydrates.
This may sound alarming but most of us don't have a high fat diet on a day to day basis. Not like the doctors van Tulleken did in that 1 month experiment anyway.
Realistically, a normal consumption of all natural food types is the best guarantee to a good health. Doctors always say to implement enough variation in your diet and rightly so!
A couple of things to keep in mind:
- You only gain weight when there's an excess of fats and sugars, amounting to a surplus of calories.
- Fat tends to ease hunger better (after proteins), carbs alone tend to increase hunger.
- For sports, carbs are a better energy source than fat.
- Your brain needs both carbohydrates and healthy fats like omega 3.
- Too much fat slows your brain functions, concentration level drops.
Low Carb or Low Fat
So we know now that fat and sugar separately do not necessarely make you gain weight.
That can change when they're combined in a dessert, especially in a 50/50 ratio.
Desserts with equal or near equal amounts of fat and sugar can be very addictive. But even when this ratio is off, there are always people who gravitate towards one or the other.
That's why it is always a good idea to think of portion sizing.
A few examples of "reduced" fat desserts are eclairs, meringues, profiteroles, ice-cream, sweet omelet, cheesecake and so on.
Any dessert naturally containing fatty substances lends itself much better to lower its calorie content.
...and you wouldn't believe what a thin layer of glaze/sauce can do to improve taste.
Someone who regularly eats sweets might want to consider low fat dessert recipes to reduce the energy load.
These are easier to make with the advantage of a larger calorie reduction.