The Playbook For The Modern Man

“Sugar Doesn’t Make You Fat”: Fitness Coach Sparks Controversial Debate

Is sugar the devil or just a playful one-night stand?

What started as a quirky platform for ‘artsy’ types to pat each other on the back has morphed into one of the largest shade-throwing forums on the internet. And even before Instagram’s decision to “hide the likes”, when it comes to nutrition, it has always been difficult to tell the winners and losers (and truths and myths) apart.

There are thousands of ‘nutrition coaches’ on the platform, promoting diet plans that are — in many cases — as diametrically opposed to each other as a vegan restaurant is to a Brazilian churrascaria.

Some advocate intermittent fasting, others advise eating smaller quantities more regularly. Some say you should cut out all carbs, others say you should only eat them at night. Some portray sugar as the devil, others portray him as a harmless one night stand.



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Enter: The Fitness Chef, a longtime jester of controversy, who has made a habit of undermining the arguments of Keto Warriors and Carbohydrate Morality Police everywhere.

While he has been accused of missing the point in his pedantic ‘takedowns’ he raises interesting questions like, “Why do people trust gurus over science?” (which we answer here) and “Do you still need to worry about calorie surplus on a low carb diet?”.

The latest argument he put forward, however, contradicts conventional wisdom and has re-ignited one of the most held nutrition debates of the 21st (and indeed 20th) centuries: does sugar really make you fat?


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A post shared by 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🇬🇧Graeme Tomlinson (@thefitnesschef_) on

The Nutrition Chef claims the answer to this question is a definitive no. While he admits “ratios of sugar and other calorie sources may subjectively nurture satiety and food related behaviour,” he says the “consumption of sugar does not inherently affect the possibility of fat gain to an individual any more so than consumption of any food.”

“Consumption of too many total calories for the amount an individual moves will result in fat gain, regardless of sugar’s presence within those calories consumed.”

He was then taken to task in the comments section, with people responding with such quotes as, “Increased sugar intake drives insulin levels up. Excess sugar not used by the mitochondrial turns into fat… Keep promoting this misinformation and cancer will never go away.”

“Nutrition and weight loss is not just calories. Respectfully unfollowing now.”

To which The Nutrition Chef responded, “Excess calories turns (sic) into fat – not just calories from sugar.” While many users thought this idea was “so wrong it’s not even funny” a surprising number were on The Nutrition Chef’s side.


There was one critique he did not seem to have an answer to though. “Crazy to me that people avoid eating fruit due to its fructose content. How can you disregard these foods’ nutritional value and think only of the sugar content?”, one commenter asked — to which The Fitness Chef replied, “the rhetoric that feeds such statements usually comes from a place of book sales.”

Pithy but unconvincing.

Is there a takeaway (apart from a 6 pack of doughnuts) from this controversial discussion? Well, besides confirming going against people’s sensibilities rakes in comments, this saga proves how important it is to eat in the correct ballpark of overall calories and to realise that what you eat greatly impacts your ability to do this.

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