Fat Vs Sugar For Healthy Weight Loss – Which Is More Fattening?

Fat Vs Sugar For Healthy Weight Loss – Which Is More Fattening?
Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.

Most diet plans tell you that sugars or fats – or both – are bad and that you have to avoid them. I got a question recently about whether sugar or fat is more fattening.

Ok, the first thing is that it’s not necessarily the ‘sugar’ or the ‘fat’ that’s bad. It’s the type of sugar or fat that’s bad.

Refined sugars – white sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, glucose, etc – are the bad ones. And refined fats – oils, margarines, trans fats in processed foods, etc – are also the bad ones. Steer clear of those, and you’re doing pretty well.

Good sugars would be fruit, and complex carbohydrates like brown rice and lentils (they’re broken down to sugar in your body). Good fats are from whole foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, and the small amounts in pretty much everything.

Beyond the types of sugars and fats, you also need to make sure you have a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Too much or too little of any one will throw off the efficiency of your metabolism.

Now that we have all that clear, let’s get back to the original question of whether sugar or fat is more fattening.

One gram of fat will give you 9 calories while one gram of sugar will give you 4 calories. So from a scientific perspective, a gram of fat gives your body more calories (which is just a unit of energy).

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The basis of weight loss is to burn more energy (calories) than you eat, so on the surface fat seems to have the more fattening potential.

The foods that give us our fats tend to be even more calorie-dense than just the fat content. Nuts and seeds have carbohydrates and protein along with the fat, and they pack those calories into a tiny little package.

Compare a handful of 16 almonds to an apple – same calories, but the apple has so much water and fiber that it’ll fill your stomach up more than the almonds. It’s a lot easier to overeat with nuts than fruit.

But there are some other factors to think about here. If you eat too little fat, your metabolism won’t be as efficient and will create some waste because of an excess of carbs and/or protein. A slower metabolism and a higher load of waste will interfere with weight loss.

Eating too much sugar – especially refined sugar – will also throw off your metabolism, and go further in throwing off your insulin levels. If you produce too much insulin because of eating too much sugar, it actually winds up causing a blood sugar dip.

Low blood sugar makes you feel tired and needing an energy boost – so you eat more, and you tend to give in to cravings for more sugar at that point. Of course, that only makes the whole cycle happen again.

So sugar can be fattening indirectly by causing you to eat more. Fat, on the other hand, dampens your appetite and can help you eat less.

My verdict – the good forms of both fat and sugar should be a part of a healthy weight loss plan. Both fat and sugar can be fattening if you eat the wrong types or in the wrong ratio, or if they lead you to eat more.

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