Fatty foods were the first found harmful to health in 1940s research linking high-fat diets to high cholesterol levels. There is merit in that. Artificial trans fats and some saturated fats are associated with cholesterol imbalance and heart disease. But not all fatty foods are bad for you. There is a lot of good fats for heart health, such as monounsaturated fats – found in olive oil – and polyunsaturated fats – found in fish, nuts and canola oil. Unfortunately, in the 1980s, the low-fat fad had taken more. Fats, both good and bad, began to phase out of the American diet. Even in the 21st century, a low-fat diet has been an essential tool for fight obesity and achieve better heart health. Ironically, the low-fat foods we’ve been touting for decades may not be the healthiest option at all. A 2016 study by Stanford researchers found higher sugar content in lower fat versions of products. Indeed, to make low-fat products palatable, food scientists gap fat loss by increasing the sugar content. This common exchange — fat for sugar — is problematic.
Today, the sugar of choice is table sugar or sucrose. Sucrose Split into two molecules in the body – glucose and fructose. Glucose is one of more common sugars in nature and can be treaty by almost every cell in the body. Fructose, on the other hand, cannot be broken down into the liver. If the liver is overwhelmed with fructose, the fructose can turn into triglycerides — lumps of fat that can accumulate in the blood and conduct fatty liver or heart disease. To help college students maintain their health and avoid the negative side effects of some sugars, it should label nutrition information on all its foods and beverages and offer a wider variety of juices and milks rather than sodas.
That said, heart damage isn’t entirely fructose’s fault. Glucose triggers the release of insulin which prepares the cells for glycemic consumption. Under a constant flow of glucose, the body rotates stopped a large part of its fat burning processes. Basically, when we eat sugar, bad fats accumulate in the blood without biological counterbalance to burn them.
Our ancestors were never too gooey when it comes to sugar consumption. Eighteenth-century humans ate an average of 4.9 grams of sugar per day. Modern Americans do not have this power of moderation. The average amount of sugar consumes by an American is a whopping 68 grams of sugar. All the while, the American Heart Association recommended no more than 24 grams of sugar for women and children and 36 grams for men per day.
What can we do about it? AHA said an important first step is to replace sugary drinks. Sugary drinks Account for 47% of the added sugars we consume. Drinking water is an excellent alternative which is calorie-free, helps digest food and can help with weight loss. If you are not looking to lose weight and are looking for a drink with caloric value, try natural fruit juices as a substitute for sodas, sweet tea and the like.
To promote this goal at the University, I think we should try to reduce our wide selection of sodas and increase the availability of juice and milk alternatives. U.Va. Dine exercises due diligence in SEO food nutrition —- but no drink. U.Va. should start labeling the nutrition of their star drinks, especially sugary drinks. Nutrition labels are proven make consumers more aware of the foods and beverages they consume. Labeling all food and beverages online and onsite would be a low-cost initiative for the University to help students and staff cut down on sweets.
In addition, local healthy eating awareness organizations deserve to receive their flowers. The University should work more on collaborating with people like Vegetable garden of Morven — an organic garden managed with the support of volunteers in the Charlottesville area. U.Va. Dine should do more to highlight the efforts of local kitchens by promoting more pop-up tastings in the middle of Newcomb, O’Hill and Runk. In addition, the University is expected to repeat its organized Farmers Market event in the amphitheater which showcased local products from smallholder farmers. These events showcase tasty low-sugar options, provide flowers to deserving local farmers, and offer a sustainable farm-to-table methodology.
Look, I’m very much suppressing sugar in this column. It should be noted just as there are good and bad fats, there are good and bad sugars. Under no circumstances should you remove fruits from your diet after reading this article. Fruits contain essential vitamins — A, E and C — and minerals — magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and folic acid. In addition, fruits are rich in fiber, which assistance with digestive processes. Thus, the health benefits of fruit consumption outweigh the costs. A good rule to follow is to avoid eating empty calories. Empty calories are foods and beverages that have Caloric merit but little or no nutritional value. This understand, but not limited to sugary drinks, alcohol, sweets, cakes, junk food and fast food. These empty calories provide immediate energy but do not promote strong muscle growth, acquisition of vitamins or feeling of satiety.
In conclusion, when it comes to the fats you ingest, avoid synthetic trans and saturated fats. Treat yourself to unsaturated fats. Along with sugar, chart your sugar intake against AHA guidelines. It’s easy and effective to cut out sugary drinks to reach your AHA goals. More broadly, don’t waste your time consuming empty calories. Eat and drink fats, sugars, and foods not just for their caloric merit but more importantly for their nutritional value.
Rylan Dawson is an opinion writer for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at [email protected]
The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Cavalier Daily. The columns represent the opinions of the authors only.