How Not To Fall Into The Low-Sugar, Low-Fat, ‘Diet Food’ Tap | Telegraph
efore the summer holidays, a client came to see me with a leaflet that had been sent home in her six-year-old’s school bag. ‘Let’s get sugar smart,’ it said, but I quickly realised it was anything but.
The mother was confused, as the leaflet went against everything I’d taught her. Its overriding message was right: that sugar is lurking everywhere, from cereal to drinks, and that too much can lead to a build-up of harmful fat, which can eventually lead to serious diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
However, the advice it went on to give astounded me. In the ‘Swap this for that’ section, parents were advised to swap sugary cola and juice for water (great) or diet and sugar-free drinks (shocking!).
It also suggested swapping chilled desserts (ice cream and similar) for fruit (great), low-fat yogurt or sugar-free jelly (so misleading and so wrong).
Finally, there’s a chart for parents to reward their children with stickers that say, ‘sugar smart’ – a lovely idea, if only the advice were correct.
I consider foods advertised as ‘low-sugar’, ‘diet’ or ‘sugar-free’ as wolves in sheep’s clothing. They look harmless, but they often have their sugar replaced with artificial sweeteners, which encourage our taste buds to want more sugar and so sugar cravings continue.
New research has also found that when we’re eating artificially sweetened foods the body triggers a range of hormonal and metabolic responses ready to take on a blood-sugar increase.
So if you’re eating a low-sugar jelly, your body suffers the metabolic consequences of eating sugar regardless. This is why dieters who depend on diet drinks and foods often don’t experience the weight loss they were expecting.
Artificial sweeteners are also heavily processed and full of man-made ingredients that are not great for the body.
So my advice to my client was to forgo them entirely.
At breakfast, try boiled eggs instead of sugary cereals, swap fizzy drinks for water and eat fresh fruit for dessert.
And for a sweet treat? Here’s one of my favourite recipes.