By Sheri Berger, RDN
A common question I am often asked, how bad is sugar and should it be completely avoided? A healthy diet can contain sensible amounts of sugar. I will provide guidelines on what is considered reasonable in just a moment, but first I would like to clear up one common misconception ALL sugar is bad. There are two different types of sugar in the diet:
Naturally occurring sugar- found in fruit (fructose) and found in milk (lactose)
Added sugar- table sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, honey are some common ones.
Here is a more extensive list: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/what-are-added-sugars
Naturally occurring sugar should not be avoided! Fruit and milk products supply the body with many important nutrients such as protein, vitamin D, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber.
Added sugars can definitely make a food tasty! However, they add empty calories and do not contribute significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, or nutrients. Diets that contain excessive sugar increase one’s risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic conditions.
The American Heart Association recommends these added sugar limitations:
Women – no more than 6 teaspoons per day (25 grams, 100 calories)
Men – no more than 9 teaspoons per day (36 grams, 150 calories)
Read here for more information from the American Heart Association: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Added-Sugars_UCM_305858_Article.jsp#.WPE7rkXyvIU