Are you on the seesaw?

The last couple of years have been all about sugar. Sugar sugar sugar. "IT WILL KILL YOU!" has basically been the message from everyone.

But like I always say, before too long a new study comes along and pumps the breaks or just adds enough pressure to slow us down a little. In this case we have a reduction in speed towards our sugar free destination.

Although the dangers of a sugar-rich diet still remain a very real threat to the health and well being of the planets human population, a new study from the University of Glasgow has concluded that focusing health messages on sugar in isolation may mislead consumers on the need to also reduce overall calories, including those from fat.

The research looked at data from 132,479 people from across the UK, who completed online diet questionnaires as well as having their measurements taken at a clinic.

Although sugar is currently being targeted in initiatives such as the sugar tax, the researchers concluded from the study that fat made the biggest contribution to the overall calorie intake of the individuals studied.

The study’s findings emphasize that the critical factor in the battle against the bulge is the overall calorie intake consumed by individuals, and evidence suggests if people focus on reducing one type of food, they simply compensate by eating more of another type (called the “sugar-fat seesaw”), rather than reducing their overall calories

Jill Pell, co-lead author says: “The critical message is that people need to reduce their overall calories. If focusing attention on sugar results in people compensating by eating more crisps then we will fail to combat obesity.”

Dr Jason Gill, co-lead author added: “People who are overweight and obese consume more calories than those who are normal weight. But they consume a smaller proportion of these calories from sugar and a larger proportion from fat. Thus it is important not to simply focus on reducing sugar intake; we need to emphasize reductions in fat intake as well.”

The message is clear. If you plan to eliminate the 4 teaspoons of sugar from your cup of tea just make sure you don't replace it with a fist-full of butter.

1. It's bad and 2. It would taste rancid.

PS. To all those coconut oil lovers out there. It's still FAT!