Sugar seen as a bigger enemy than fat

September 26, 2016, 5:56 PM UTC

Most Americans view sugar as a bigger threat to their health than fat

In recent years it has become clear that traditional nutritional research blaming high fat diets for a range of health issues, most of all heart disease, were misleading and often wrong. In reality, while excessive fat consumption is indeed risky, sugar has been demonstrated to pose a greater risk to people's health than meat and dairy. New evidence shows, however, that this misconception may not have been entirely accidental: the American sugar industry gave large sums of money to scientists who blamed saturated fat, not sugar, for heart disease. 

Research from YouGov shows that most Americans have got the message about the threat of sugar. 61% say that sugar is the worst for your health while only 26% think that fat is the bigger threat.

A majority of every demographic group says that sugar is the biggest threat, but while at least two-thirds of people aged either under 30 or over 65 say that sugar is the biggest threat, less than 60% of people between the ages of 30 and 64 agree. People aged 30 to 44 are the least likely to say that sugar is the bigger threat, while 30% say that fat is a bigger health concern. 

Asked how many teaspoons of sugar are safe to consume each day the median response was three, but this is actually more cautious than the American Heart Association, who say that seven teaspoons of sugar is safe for daily consumption. 

Full survey results available here.