The Sweet Stuff
Some foods naturally contain sugar, which is okay! Foods like fruit and milk naturally have sugars that give them the taste we love. The thing is, although some foods naturally contain sugar, they also contain nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, and more depending on the item. We get beneficial nutrients when we consume these foods that outweigh the fact that they contain some sugar.
Added Sugars Means Added Problems
Added sugars are not naturally found in foods and include a laundry list of over 200 sweeteners. These include table sugar (sucrose), brown sugar, molasses, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, honey, juice concentrate, and more! Simply put, added sugars just add unwanted calories. These added calories from sugar do not provide vitamins, minerals, or anything beneficial. These extra calories are often referred to as empty calories. Over time, added calories can lead to weight gain and thus obesity. Obesity increases one’s risk for numerous chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Are Any Added Sugars Better
Currently, many products are marketing themselves as being made with “real” sugar and not high fructose corn syrup. The truth is both are bad if you eat or drink too much. “Real” sugar is still an added sugar that has the same negative health effects as high fructose corn syrup, or any other added sweetener for that matter. Even worse, most foods at the grocery store that brag about using “real” sugar are not that nutritious to start with.
According to the American Heart Association, the recommendation for adult men is 36g of added sugar daily, and for adult women, it is just 25g of added sugar per day. Unfortunately, on average we get nearly 80g of added sugar a day. Our real focus should be on how we can decrease sugary beverages, desserts, and other sources of added sugars in our daily lives. No added sugar is a good one, no matter how “natural” its origin may be.