Sugar versus fat – which is worse?

The debate over which is worse for you – sugar or fat – has been raging amongst doctors and nutritionists for many years. This particular health conundrum is on everyone’s lips and has even been the subject of a BBC Horizon TV show.

With so much information flying around, it’s easy to get confused. But there’s still plenty of ways to find reliable information about sugars and fats online. Here’s our guide to the best websites with the information you need.

Learn more about the effects of sugar

To find out more about how sugar affects your health, start with the NHS Facts about Sugar web page. Here, you’ll discover why it’s important to cut down on sugars, how to do so and how to read nutritional labels. Reducing your sugar intake isn’t just about eliminating fizzy drinks, chocolate and confectionery from your diet. Sugar is present in a surprising variety of foods – even foods advertised as fat-free are often very high in sugar. So the more you know about where to find sugar, the easier it will be to remove it from your diet.

If you’re keen to find out why some scientists have begun comparing sugar with tobacco, this Telegraph article will shed some light. You’ll also find a variety of sugar low-sugar recipes on the Telegraph website to help you adapt your diet.

Still not sure what the fuss is about? This Huffington Post article on 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sugar breaks down its harmful effects into digestive chunks. And if you’re looking for more detailed information about particular effects, this February 2014 Forbes article takes a more in-depth look at how sugar can harm your heart.

Incorporating good fats into your diet

Fat, on the other hand, is slowly regaining its reputation. While many people believe that fat is the true enemy of a healthy lifestyle, the truth is that everyone needs some kind of fat in their diet. However, the trick is to avoid saturated fat and instead select foods that contain unsaturated fats. The NHS Fat: the Facts page offers helpful insight into how to distinguish between these two types of fat, and even imparts tips on how to eat less fat.

Unfortunately, fatty foods often prove irresistible to some.  So if you think you’ll have trouble following a low fat diet that’s also low in sugar, a food plan may be invaluable. This low-fat diet sheet from is based on expert medical guidelines and could help you devise a healthy food plan. It identifies which foods you should eat regularly, which in moderation and which you should avoid. It also details foods that contain unsaturated fats, including oily fish, rapeseed and olive oil.

Elsewhere, this BBC Science article on healthy eating has some fantastic tips and a handy chart of healthy foods separated into five groups. This is a great resource for anyone trying to follow a low-sugar, low-fat diet as the information is accessible and clearly explained.


All content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.

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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Assistant Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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16th May 2021
Thanks for voting!
Not long been on here so I've found this 7 years after it was written.

In December 2021, I looked down to see I had a beer belly, something I've always hated seeing on others.

I decided that I needed to do something about it so the first thing I did was to learn something about fats, sugar and salt. I discovered that we can live a healthy life without sugar but we can't live without some salt and fats in our diet. So I decided that the only way forward was to cut out sugar as much as possible. Also I learned that most people that lose weight, put most of it back and lots put even more back than they've lost once the diet ends

I therefore decided to change my diet rather than try to diet.

I used to eat two pieces of thick buttered toast with a fried egg for breakfast and then sandwiches for lunch, unless I was out somewhere, in which case I would normally eat in a cafe.

For tea it was what ever took my fancy. The problem I had was, I often felt hungry and would resort to eating biscuits, crisp, cake or anything else that was within reach

Now, for breakfast I have two scrambled eggs with cheese and I pour oil on it to stop me getting hungry before lunch.

For lunch I often have a tin of tuna in oil with olives, jalapeños, beetroot and some celery.

For tea, I still eat whatever takes my fancy.

We've been told for years to cut out fats and salt and then we go into the food store and find the sweet/chocolate isle full of offers that are hard to refuse. This ends up with us cutting out essential foods and increasing none essential foods

Now I don't buy the biscuits and chocolate because if it's there I'll eat it. I often wish I had bought some but in the morning when I stand on the scale, I'm glad I hadn't.
One thing I'm sure of is, if I ate chocolate at night, I wouldn't be happy that I'd eaten it in the morning.
Another thing I hear is that chocolate is good for us, maybe it is but isn't it just the bean that's good for us and not the sugar in the bar

I've lost a stone and half in five months and I'm hoping that, as I've changed my diet, I won't put it back on. I've gone from being just in the obese range to being within my acceptable weight range.
Dolores McManus
18th Mar 2014
Thanks for voting!
I will be Interested to learn more.
17th May 2021
Thanks for voting!
I knew from my wife dieting all her life that dieters go hungry all the time and I didn't want that. So after reading loads about fats I realised that fats aren't the bad boys they've always been charged with.

Let me give you a tiny bit about my background
I used to be religious and I learned that in the old testament that God said that the fat was the best bit and that it had to be included in any sacrifice. I always wondered why that could be the case because fat to me was horrible.
I suppose that it never left me and it's always been a conundrum to me.

Therefore, when I wanted to lose weight it was a no brainer to look into fats. Don't get me wrong, I'm no expert on fats and I don't think anyone actually fully understands fats. It's a science on it's own and I don't think it'll ever be fully understood.
One thing I do know is that fats stop you feeling hungry, so I add it to my food. If I add too much I don't enjoy so I've learned the correct amount to add to stop me feeling hungry before my next meal
The very fact that our bodies don't need sugar was something else I took into account and I decided to limit the amount of sugar I ate.

We are constantly told how bad fat it to us but we cannot live without it. The way folk say that someone is fat doesn't help either because not only is it a derogatory comment about an overweight person, it's actually alienating fat itself and it perpetuates the myth that fat is bad. Overweigh people should be considered to be exactly that... overweight. Overweight people have been grossly misled and I think some of it is deliberate. If you don't believe that, go and look in a dieting magazine and notice how many photos of cake there are.
I like a drink of whisky from time to time and if I see a TV program and someone is having a drink of whisky, I want one, so dieters see a cake and they want one.
People think that they're too sophisticated to be influenced by TV (or photos) but in reality, they're not, and the slimming industry know that
I know that too much fat is bad but then again too much lettuce is bad for us. Get the mix right and you'll win without any effort, and by that I mean you won't go hungry to often

Sorry if I've gone on a bit.

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