An auditorium full of students interested in learning more about their personal health were present as Anthony Giusti, Professor of Nutrition at American River College delivered a lecture on the dangers of Sugar, Fat, and Salt in our diets on Thursday, Sept. 6.
“He shed light on rumors people have that sugar is bad, salt is bad, and he kind of simplified it to say your main concern is calories,” said Joel Soule, a 24 year old government major.
Giusti stressed the importance of moderation when it comes to consuming foods that are high in sugar, fat, and salt content. These foods are considered palatable because we enjoy them, which triggers reward sensors in our brain that cause us to eat more.
Although there are many diets on the market that severely restrict calories, it’s not about how many calories we consume, but rather calories in vs. calories out; how many calories we take in compared to how many calories we burn. To burn calories he recommends eating less and moving more.
Sodium may contribute to high blood pressure, depending on the amount. Sodium comes mostly from processed foods such as fast food, TV-dinners, boxed foods, noodles and lunch meat..
Ways to reduce the risk are to eat less processed foods and added salts.
“The most important thing is to try to eat more whole foods and less processed,” said Giusti. “Definitely eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains.”
While sugar may lead to type 2 diabetes, it is not a factor for type 1 diabetes. Those who are most at risk are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, and are physically inactive.
Although there isn’t a significant difference between natural and processed foods, high fructose corn syrup may cause weight gain, but only in large amounts. Giusti advises us to use less added sugar and eat foods lower in overall sugar content.
Saturated fats are considered less healthy, therefore a better alternative would be unsaturated fats. Trans fats – which are used in processed oils – should be avoided altogether.
While sugar, fat, and salt do have a purpose in our overall diets, they can be highly dangerous for those who binge eat. What is the key to a healthy diet? Eating less salty foods and avoiding foods that are high in sugar and fat content.
As for Soule, he plans to be more conscious of the foods he eats.
“ I will definitely start checking the back of my bread, and pay more attention to labels.”
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of a faculty members name; changed from “Giustia” to “Giusti”