In the health and fitness world, there are exercise and nutrition myths that have survived for decades, even though a preponderance of information proves their inaccuracy. As if the task of improving one’s health or fitness level isn’t challenging enough, fitness myths can cause confusion and frustration, and often result in wasted time. Here dotFIT experts debunk several fitness myths that seem to be particularly pervasive.
MYTH #1: Sugar is making America fat
FACT: Poor choices are making America fat
All legitimate science agrees that the causes of continuous weight gain in developed nations consists of a variety of environmental, psychological and physiological factors, not sugar and sweeteners . Researchers found that obesity was positively linked with time spent watching TV or at a computer and diets high in fat. This review looked at 38,409 individuals ages 20-74 and found no increase in body mass or obesity in populations that consumed sugar sweetened beverages vs. those that did not. Sweeteners are unfortunately guilty by association because of their presence in the foods and drinks (thus calories) we choose to consume. In other words, we can get fat on anything if we eat more calories than we burn, even if we only ate whole grains, fish and salads. According to a 2003 article in Obesity Research, “The use of caloric sweeteners has risen across the world, and has contributed to an increasing number of calories consumed per day, which leads to weight gain” . The sad truth is that as a society we simply make poor food and drink choices. No one would argue that a diet high in sugar (and high in the nutrient deficient foods that deliver it) is good for you, but in the end these poor food choices are simply a delivery vehicle for excess calories. And don’t forget, too much of any nutrient can become unhealthy, including, meats, vitamins and minerals, fish oils, etc. If we consumed sugars in moderation like we should, there would be no health-related issues. Sadly, we would probably fill the calorie gap with something else and then blame all our problems on the substitute food. So, there is nothing inherently fat-producing about sugar. The reality is that sugary foods do make up a significant portion of the typical American’s diet. Coupled with low daily activity, this is a recipe for disaster, tipping the scale in favor of weight gain. A more accurate take-home message is, “reduce junk food intake and increase physical activity to improve health and body composition”. Not, “don’t eat sugar, it makes you fat.”