There is so much confusion surrounding sugar. Many people think that everything that contains sugar is evil, but that’s not completely true. Others think that the 44 grams of sugar they consume in one Coke each day is not going to hurt them. And that’s also very much not true. So today, I want to clear a few things up.
Let’s talk about sugar.
The first question you should ask yourself when looking at the sugar content in food is: where is the sugar coming from? If it’s natural sugar, eat it up! If it is added sugar, get rid of it!!
Let’s look at an example using snack bars. An item like Larabar is fine to eat! The ingredients are natural, meaning nothing is added. If you look at the nutrition label, you will see that the only ingredients are fruits and nuts. Consuming 19 grams of that kind of sugar is 100% okay, and I encourage it. The PowerBar ProteinPlus Chocolate Brownie has 27 grams of added sugars like fructose syrup and cane invert syrup. Basically, it’s not the kind of sugar your body is going to like. Don’t eat it!
A lot of the time, foods labeled as “health conscious” (extra protein, low fat, etc) have a lot of extra sugar in them. So, please… read the food label! You should see only natural ingredients, and if you don’t, you should not buy it.
Added sugars are unhealthy because they contain no nutrients, no protein, no healthy fats, and no enzymes. They are just empty calories that the body digests quickly and pull useful minerals from your body during the digestion process. You’ll be hungry an hour after eating foods containing added sugars. These foods don’t keep you full because they are digested too quickly. Added sugars have many other negative effects to the body as well, including: stress to the liver, increased bad cholesterol, and can contribute to Leptin resistance.
You want to eat foods that are full of nutrition and take the body time to digest. When foods, take longer to digest you A. eat less and B. can burn calories while digesting food which C. can increase your metabolism.
Honestly, you shouldn’t consume any added sugars. Your ideal added sugar intake for the day should be 0 grams. All sugars should come from natural carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc). I understand that is hard to do. So, if you are used to eating more added sugar, you should slowly start to eliminate it. You do not want to shock your body by eliminating it all at once. Take small steps to lowering your added sugar intake. Start by having a Coke once a week instead of once a day.
To give you a number though, the American Heart Association says it is safe for men to eat 37.5 grams of added sugar a day and for women to eat 25 grams. But, like I said, those added sugars are literally doing nothing for your body and are only hurting you. If you can make that number 0 grams (man or woman), that is ideal!
There’s not a number I can give you for natural sugars. Eat however much you want! If you are specifically trying to lower your weight though, look for fruits and vegetables with low (natural) sugar content. Examples of this would be: raspberries, blueberries, pears, broccoli, carrots, and spinach. Dried fruit and corn are examples of foods with a high amount of (natural) sugar.