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Sugar: Friend or Foe

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

Researching this article took me down so many rabbit holes. I chose a few and will continue to elaborate and go into some of the other paths throughout the weeks.

Is all sugar bad for us?

Too much is!

How much is too much?

There is not an RDA for sugar, but the American Heart Association suggests that men should consume no more than 150 calories (about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams) of added sugar per day. That is close to the amount in a 12-ounce can of soda.

For women, it's 84 calories (5 teaspoons or 20 grams).

Currently, US food labels contain information on total sugars per serving, but do not distinguish between sugars that are naturally present in foods and added sugars. Thus, it is difficult to determine the amount of added sugars in foods and beverages. Read labels.

Better yet, just eat the whole food, no packaging or labels.

A healthy, well-balanced whole food diet contains naturally occurring sugars, watch for the added sugars first.


MYTH - If it's salty then it does not contain sugar.

MYTH - Sugar is just used to sweeten things - if I do not eat sweet things, I'm not getting extra sugar.

TRUTH - Sugar is used in foods for many different reasons like:

  1. To add sweetness

  2. to extend the shelf life of foods

  3. to increase flavor and spiciness

  4. in Low fat and Gluten-free foods, it's used to make it taste better.

TRUTH - Sugars are common additives in:

  • condiments

  • sauces

  • dressings

  • nut butters

  • mayonnaise

  • marinades

  • soups

  • breads

  • cereals

  • potato chips

  • crackers

  • flavored yogurt

  • cured meats

  • sports drinks

  • juices

  • many canned foods

  • And the list goes on and on...

MYTH - If it does not say sugar on the label, then it does not contain sugar.

TRUTH - Sugars have many different names, here are a few:

  • corn sweetener

  • corn syrup

  • fruit juice concentrates

  • high-fructose corn syrup

  • honey

  • Caramel

  • Carob syrup

  • maple syrup

  • rice syrup

  • sucanat

  • sorghum syrup

  • molasses

  • Agave

  • Malt

  • syrup sugar molecules ending in "ose" (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose).

More types of sugars

  • brown sugar

  • invert sugar

  • Barley malt

  • Malt sugar

  • Beet sugar

  • Buttered sugar

  • Coconut sugar

  • Date sugar

  • Demerara sugar

  • Pure cane sugar

  • Muscovado sugar

  • Turbinado sugar

  • Treacle sugar

MYTH - Organic sugar is better - it's still sugar!

TRUTH - Some sugars have trace nutrients but in the end, they are all sugars. The high sugar content outweighs many potential benefits.

MYTH - Fruit juice is better for me.

Both soda and 100% fruit juice contain around 110 calories and 20–26 grams of sugar per cup (240 ml), It is absorbed a little slower but, it's still a sugar.

TRUTH - The whole fruit contains fiber and is absorbed slower.

Go for the whole food options.

TRUTH - There are healthier options. - I'll talk about that next week.

TRUTH - Eating too much added sugar can have many negative health effects.

High sugar consumption can cause:

  • weight gain

  • insulin resistance

  • metabolic syndrome

  • fatty liver disease

  • type 2 diabetes

  • Inflammation

  • Increase risk of Cancer

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • High blood pressure

  • Increased risk of heart disease and stroke

  • Acne

  • Depression

  • Skin and cellular aging

  • Drains energy

  • Worsen cognitive decline

To summarize:

Too much sugar is not good for your health. Limiting the added sugars in your diet can be difficult, but beneficial.

Next week I'll talk about ways to lower your sugar intake. I'd love to hear your ideas too. Reach out to me at

Until then, READ the labels - you may be surprised by how much sugar you are consuming.


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