Research published today shows why people find it hard to
follow government guidelines to cut their fat and sugars intake at the same
time - a phenomenon known as the sugar-fat seesaw.
The review, published in the journal Critical Reviews in
Food Science and Nutrition, looked at 53 scientific papers and found a strong
and consistent inverse association in the percentage of energy coming from fats
and sugars. People with diets low in sugars were likely to be high in fat, and
vice-versa. Nutritionists have labelled this the 'sugar-fat seesaw'.
Dr Michele Sadler, who led the research team, said "A
key reason that we see this sugar-fat seesaw is likely to be because sources of
sugars such as fruit, breakfast cereals and juices are low in fat, while
sources of fat such as oils and meat products are low in sugar."
In the UK dietary guidelines are set and described as a
percentage of daily energy intakes. Therefore, the researchers suggest that
people may find it difficult to follow advice to reduce the sugars and fats
contribution to energy intakes at the same time, something recommended by the
Dr Sadler added "This study highlights the need to
focus dietary messages on eating a healthy balanced diet and not categorising
individual nutrients as good or bad, which could result in unbalanced dietary