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“No Added Sugar”: We’ve Been Here Before

I try to read a lot. Keeping up to date on nutrition “news” is an essential part of my job. I try to make sure that I’m well-versed on new nutrition research as well as the nutrition trends that my clients are likely to ask me about.

One of my new favorite blogs to read is found on the ConscienHealth website, which focuses on informing the public on the topic of obesity.

A recent post, which you can read here, questions if the food industry’s movement to remove added sugars will really be the solution to obesity that some dream it will be.

I do believe that this shift should be a positive change. Consumers have asked for products with less sugar, and we’re starting to see that happen on grocery store shelves. Consumption of excess sugar is certainly a contributor to the problem of obesity (and all the health problems that come with it). We’ve all seen the lists of aliases for sugar and generally know that we’ve been eating too much of it.

With all that being said, we need to understand that we’ve been here before. We spent 25 years blaming the fat in our diet for obesity and heart disease, only to realize that the problem is much bigger than that. The food industry eagerly offered a myriad of products labeled “light”, “low-fat”, and “fat-free” – but where did that get us?

We need to be very cautious about repeating this mistake with sugar. We should be conscious of the amount of sugar we eat and, yes, most of us should be reducing our added sugar intake. But we already know that when we feel we’ve made a “healthy choice”, we’re much more likely to overeat. Will we eat larger portions of products with “no added sugar" labels? If we’re not mindful, maybe.

What else does removing added sugars not solve?

We’re mindless eaters and don’t listen to our body when it tells us we’re full. Have you ever eaten past the point of fullness on potato chips, movie theatre popcorn, or eggs and bacon? Me too. And none of those foods have added sugars.

We don’t move enough.

We don’t sleep enough.

We don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables.

We’re overstressed – I don’t think I need a link to validate that statement.

Plus, we’ve actually reduced our consumption of sugar since 1999. And of the 500 daily calories the average American has added since 1970, only about 7% is from sugar.

My point is, we are fully capable of not taking care of our health while consuming little to no added sugar. Let’s not repeat the mistakes we made when we decided to blame fat for all of our health problems.

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