Over the course of recent years, sugar has had a progressively worse reputation, with the current trend demonising it and presenting it as the cause of every illness from obesity to cancer. But with all of this debate occurring, what’s the truth?

Like most things, there are very few absolutes in the sugar debate, partly due to the wide variance in circumstances and partly due to the wide variance in genetics. That said, there are two factors we know to be true when working with obese individuals.

They eat too much and move too little.

Whilst addressing calorific intake directly is rarely necessary or beneficial, ultimately, weight/fat gain is down to a long-term surplus of calories and a lack of mitigating activity. The key thing to recognise here is that it is always long term. No one binges one day and wakes up 2 stone plus the following day. Because of this, any successful strategy should focus on addressing total calorific intake and increasing activity.

The best strategies here are to first address calories indirectly, typically by moving people towards more nourishing, but less calorie dense foods. This allows you to manipulate calories by adding rather than restricting, which can help clients avoid feeling deprived.

From an activity perspective, little and often wins the day. Get clients to focus on doing a little more each day, rather than making a determined effort to overhaul their lifestyle. Whilst this may take longer to produce results, it has a greater likelihood of becoming a permanent behaviour and leaves the client feeling like they’re always capable of more.