Do Sugar and Fat Always Seesaw?
By Joan Kent, PhD
Earlier this week, I wrote about the sugar/fat seesaw. Yes, that really is a thing. As one decreases in the diet, the other tends to increase.
But it's clear that the two can also increase together. Sugar can increase fats in someone's diet in several ways - and they're not always the best fats. This article covers a few of those ways.
Sugar Can Change Food Preferences
My clients who dislike vegetables almost always eat a lot of sugar. The connection here is pretty straightforward: those accustomed to the taste of sweet don't enjoy foods that lack sweetness. Vegetables certainly aren't sweet, so people who eat lots of sugar often avoid vegetables.
Some clients protest that they like vegetables and also like sugary foods. Of course, it's possible to like both.
But it's also common for fans of vegetables to enjoy the dressings or toppings they put on the vegetables as much as – or more than – they like vegetables. In some cases, the vegetables are simply a vehicle for the sauce or dressing – and those may contain sugar.
What About Fat?
The sauces or toppings that contain sugar may also contain fat. Commercially prepared ones frequently have both. Using them often can obviously increase both sugar and fat in the diet.
Sugar also triggers the brain to release a chemical called beta-endorphin (most people say "endorphins"). Endorphins in turn stimulate a preference for other endorphin-triggering foods – more sugar, fat, or a combination of the two.
Common sugar/fat combinations include ice cream, chocolate, chocolate cake, baklava and other desserts, or breakfast pastries. Many more examples are out there.
Research Shows That Fat Makes Sugar Taste Sweeter
In a study using mixtures that resembled cake frosting, participants were given different mixtures to rate, according to how sweet they tasted. When the mixtures had sugar alone, participants rated the ones with more sugar as sweeter.
But when fat was added, mixtures with more fat were given a higher sweetness rating, even though the amount of sugar was the same as – or sometimes less than – the amount in the other sugar/fat frostings.
There's more to all of this, including something I named "secondary fat consumption", as well as the hormone ghrelin. Stay tuned.
Do you feel stuck on sugar? I'm passionate about helping people quit – and making it easy! Grab your free copy of "3 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Trying to Quit Sugar" when you visit www.LastResortNutrition.com .
Brought to you by Dr. Joan Kent, best-selling author of Stronger Than Sugar: 7 Simple Steps to Defeat Sugar Addiction, Lift Your Mood, and Transform Your Health.