Ask Leah! The Ingles Dietitian

Sponsored: Sugar - this year’s VILLAIN ingredient!

Sponsored: Sugar - this year’s VILLAIN ingredient!

Having been a dietitian for over 20 years, I've seen fingers pointed at many supposed "villains" of weight and health issues:

• Fats: cholesterol, saturated fat, partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats)

• Red Meat

• Eggs 

• Salt/Sodium

• "GMO's"

Related Items

• Soda

• Artificial dyes 

• Artificial sweeteners

• High fructose corn syrups

• Gluten

• Wheat

• Carbs (carbohydrates)

This year's "villain" is definitely SUGAR. You can find "no sugar added" and "sugar-free" claims  on everything from bread to bacon. I'm not saying that we should eat sugar with abandon and I do think that limiting added sugars is important. (See American Heart Association Guidelines or the Dietary Guidelines for sugar amounts!/2016/07/guest-post-sugar-shock-by-margaret-peck.html) Trying to isolate one "villain" for our health or weight issues and eliminate it from our diet is seldom accurate or science based and we may end up substituting it with choices that aren't especially healthy. The culprits for poor health and obesity are often a "gang" i.e multiple issues. Additionally, food brands and marketers will use these food fears to market products to us that may still not be good choices, for example gluten-free fried donuts, no-sugar bacon, and non-GMO candy. 

What's the bottom-line? 

View "free-from" claims with skepticism and a grain of salt. Eat foods in moderation. Get exercise. Don't fall for marketing claims on food!

(Parts of this blog were originally written in 2014, "Weight Woes and the Villain du Jour")

Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN

Ingles Markets Corporate Dietitian



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