Nutrition panels alone only part of the weight-loss story

As New Year’s resolutions begin with the best of intentions, many people trying to lose weight study food labels to gauge the fat and calorie counts of their favorite treats.

A UT Southwestern nutrition expert says the list of ingredients is just as important.

Dr. Elizabeth Parks, associate professor of clinical nutrition, says the sugar fructose converts more rapidly into fat and may even cause foods eaten later to turn into fat instead of being burned.

Though fructose, a simple sugar, is naturally found in high levels in fruit, it is also added to many processed foods as the sweetener called high-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS.

Dr. Parks says that dieters shouldn’t eliminate fruit from their diets but that limiting fructose-laden processed foods may help.

“We’re overeating fat; we’re overeating protein; and we’re overeating all sugars,” she says. “Many people want to demonize fructose as the cause of the obesity epidemic. I think it may be a contributor, but it’s not the only problem. Americans are eating too many calories for their activity level.”

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/nutrition to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in nutrition.

Media Contact: Katherine Morales

Return to January 2010 News Tips

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