Sugar Intake From Artificially Added Sugar

3 Easy Steps to Managing Sugar in Your Diet

By | Nutrition | No Comments

There is a lot of fear these days regarding sugar intake and its role in long term health. High sugar intake has been implicated in the main diet-related chronic illnesses: type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s.

This fear drives many diets out there to encourage minimizing or even completely eliminating sugar from the diet, including natural sources like fruits (fructose) and dairy (lactose). Grains also get lumped into this category, as the carbohydrate in grains gets broken down into the same basic unit sugars do: glucose.

Sugar Intake: Fruit Sugars vs. Artificially Added Sugars

As a nutrition professional I don’t believe sugar should be eliminated from the diet. It’s a surefire way to build cravings for it and overeating it later down the line. The body also requires glucose to run efficiently – particularly your brain and muscles. Well-timed sources of sugar can actually provide some benefit, as any endurance athlete will be quick to validate.

Here are a few guidelines to follow when making decisions about sugar so you don’t go overboard in either direction!

    1. Is it a natural source of sugar?
      There are two main natural sources of sugar: fruit (fructose) and dairy (lactose). For dairy, there are typically about 12 grams of natural sugar per 8-ounce serving. Fruit varies greatly, but as an example there are about 19 grams of sugar in an apple, 17 grams in an orange, and 15 grams in a cup of blueberries. 

      The average nutritional recommendation for dairy is 3 servings per day, and for fruit it’s 2 servings per day. If you stick to your general recommendations, that equals about 60-70 grams per day.

      This source of sugar comes packed with nutrients; for lactose, you’re also getting protein, calcium, and vitamin D — all of which are nutrients many Americans are looking to increase in their diets. For fruits, it’s micronutrients like potassium and folate, as well as fiber and protective antioxidants.

      Eliminating these sources of natural sugar also eliminates all of the nutritional benefit that comes with it! Stick to and enjoy your dietary recommendations, and the natural sugars that come with them.
      Avoid Added Sugar

    2.  Is it an artificially added sugar?
      Any food product that has added sugar is required to list that in the ingredient list of the nutrition facts label. For example, any energy bar that does not have dairy or fruit will contain added sugar. Look to the ingredient list to identify the source. If the ingredient list includes “sugar,” and there are 18 grams of sugar in the bar, then all 18 of those grams are added sugar.

      The tricky thing here is that added sugars have many names. The more obvious will be sugar, honey, and maple syrup. Other forms of added sugar include agave, brown rice syrup, molasses, caramel, corn syrup, corn sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, maltose, lactose, sucrose, and nectars — to name a few!

If you want to evaluate your sugar intake for a week or two, pay attention to food labels, take note of grams of sugar per serving, and then check the ingredient list to see whether any sugar is added.
 

  1. Does it fall within my daily recommended guidelines for sugar intake? 
    The Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting added sugars to less than 10% of their total daily calories as part of a healthy diet. For the average 2,000 calorie diet this amounts to 200 calories, or 50 grams of sugar, per day. As a reference point, there are about 4 grams in a teaspoon of sugar, so that’s about 12 teaspoons of sugar per day.

    There are 2 ways to stay within your recommended sugar guidelines without completely eliminating it. First, stick to the recommended servings and portion sizes of dairy (3 per day) and fruit (2 per day). Second, read labels to determine amounts of sugar in a product, and whether there’s any added sugar in the ingredient list.

    If the product contains dairy, subtract about 12 grams of sugar per serving to account for natural lactose. If the product contains fruit, subtract about 15 grams of sugar per serving to account for natural fructose. Whatever is left is considered added sugar. Try to limit that amount of added sugar to less than 50 grams per day and you’re armed with everything you need to know to navigate nutrition labels for sugar!  

 

grilled food

Is Grilled Food Bad For Me?

By | Nutrition | No Comments

Grilling is a national past time over the summer months, especially in the Southern states. You may have read somewhere along the internet highway of nutrition information that consuming charred, grilled foods is bad for your health. Let’s take a closer examination as to why the internet is telling us to stop eating grilled foods. Read More

fitness

5 Top Apps To Keep You On Track

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

Hey Siri, what are the best fitness apps to download? Hey Alexa, what’s the best app to help keep me on track with my summer goals? Come on, I know I’m not the only one who’s googled this or asked my device to find me the top option, right? This summer, I’m all about crushing my fitness goals; and if you’re like me, you’ll take all the help you can get – even if it comes from an app. Read More

workout

Free Boston Summer Workouts

By | Workout | No Comments

After sitting at a desk for 8+hours a day, the last thing I want to do is stay indoors on a beautiful day. Lucky for us Bostonians, the Beantown outdoor fitness scene from June-September is robust with workout options for everyone. Whether you like yoga, HIIT, barre, Crossfit or Zumba – the Boston summer scene has a FREE workout for you! Lace up your trainers, grab a friend and head to one of these scheduled events under the sun. Read More

Get on the Water Flavor Train

By | Nutrition | No Comments

Do you absolutely hate the taste of water? You are not alone; for many people, staying hydrated is difficult for this exact reason. And dehydration is no joke. It can happen quickly and result in fatigue, loss of concentration, dizziness, confusion, and of course – less frequent urination. We lose water regularly through sweating, breathing, and going to the bathroom. If any of those has increased, we probably need to be drinking more. Special cases of water loss include breastfeeding and illness (through diarrhea or vomiting). Read More