While researchers continue to debate how effective various diets are, today they all agree that eating too much sugar can harm your health. The fact that sugar is bad is not a new theory; just an old one that now is getting traction. The history of sugar and its role in our health is a convoluted one; you could call it a sugar conspiracy. As early as 1957, John Yudkin, a British professor of nutrition, published an article in The Lancet suggesting sugar had a bigger role of heart disease over dietary fat. In fact, in 1972 Yudkin published a book, Pure, White, and Deadly with even more evidence against sugar, but meanwhile the sugar industry was lobbying hard to reshape the debate around heart disease, sugar and fat, doing its best to portray fat as the demon, and Yudkin’s work fell to the wayside. By 1980, when the first U.S. Dietary Guidelines were published, there was more evidence against fat than sugar, and Americans were told to cut back on saturated fat and cholesterol. Soon everyone was ditching eggs and olive oil in favor of packages of low-fat cookies. The result? Just 12% of Americans were obese in 1950, 15% in 1980 and 35% by 2000. What can this brief history of sugar and its role in our health show us? It’s been a long time coming, but more research continues to prove that saturated fat and dietary cholesterol aren’t all that bad. As Dr. Atkins said a while back in The New Diet Revolution, “The thirty-year-old campaign against dietary fat is as misguided as it is futile.”
So, if your goal is to lose weight and improve your health, the one change you should make to your eating habits this year is cutting back on sugar and carbohydrates containing hidden sugars.