The Real Score on Sugar: Natural vs. Added Sugar

If you don’t know by now, there are tons of evidence that a diet high in sugar comes with extremely harmful health risks. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should banish all sugar in your diet because it’s bad for your body.

Put simply, there’s bad sugar and then there’s good sugar. For example, the sugar found in apples is totally different from the sugar in sodas.

Natural Sugars (Or Good Sugars)

Natural sugars are those in whole, unprocessed food items like fruits and whole milk. These foods are typically low in sodium and calories and have high levels of water, minerals and vitamins. They are also high in fiber content, which slows down how swiftly you can digest them so you won’t experience a sugar spike as you would after eating donuts.

Plus the lactose, a natural sugar in milk, serves up a healthy dose of protein providing sustained energy that will keep you feel fuller for longer as opposed to the sugars found in sodas and processed fruit juices with added sugars.

Added Sugars (Or Bad Sugars)

Different flavors of donutsThese are sugars in soda and donuts. Basically, they can be any sugar that manufacturers, chefs, or you add to any food. These also include corn syrup hiding in some bread and even ketchup, even the agave or honey you put in your smoothie, coffee or tea.

Since these bad sugars don’t come naturally with nutrients that are great for the body, such as fiber and protein, your body will digest them faster than natural sugars and can lead to a spike in blood sugar levels. In the long run, having high blood sugar consistently contributes to various health issues such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease among many others.

Where Are These Bad Sugars?

Just because you don’t eat sweets doesn’t mean that you’re not eating added sugar. This is one of the key things you’ll learn when taking nutrition counseling or undergoing a weight loss program at weight loss centers like MD Diet Clinic in Salt Lake City.

Plenty of unassuming processed foods such as frozen foods, cereal, dried fruits, granola, salad dressings, instant oatmeal, barbecue sauces, ketchup, protein bars and flavored yogurt come with high levels of added sugars.

How to Look for Bad Sugars in Processed Food Items

These bad sugars go by many different names on nutrition labels and ingredients lists. Some of the most common include raw sugar, glucose, corn sweetener, sucrose, brown sugar, rice syrup, corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, fructose sweetener, barley malt, fruit juice concentrates, invert sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, lactose, maple syrup, pancake syrup, molasses, turbinado sugar and trehalose. An easy way to identify added sugars is to look for words ending in “ose” and phrases with malt, syrup and sweetener.

Natural sugars are generally fine, but bad sugars are not, so you have to reduce your intake of processed foods to reduce your added sugar intake. Knowing where bad sugars can be found and reading nutrition labels will help ensure that you enjoy the good stuff and avoid sugars that don’t do anything good for your overall health.