Be Well: Your Top Five Questions about Added Sugar, Answered

MSP Mag | April 26, 2019

Northwestern Health Sciences University nutritionist gives you the scoop on the sweet stuff in the latest edition of Minneapolis.St.Paul Magazine’s Be Well.

Stumped by the subject of added sugar? You’re definitely not alone. Confusion about sugars of all kinds is rampant, making it tricky to navigate the supermarket aisles. What do we really need to know? “Paying attention to food labels can help you make healthier choices and cut down on your added sugar intake,” says Lizzie Streit, registered dietician nutritionist, adjunct professor at Northwestern Health Sciences University and creator of the blog It’s a Veg World After All. Here are her expert tips for sorting out all things sweet.

What’s the difference between added sugars and natural ones?

Added sugars are those that are specifically “added” to foods to make them sweet. Any food that has “sugar” on its ingredient list has added sugars, but added sugar also goes by several different names, such as dextrose, corn syrup solids, brown rice syrup, glucose, barley malt, and more.

Consuming a lot of added sugar may be linked to several poor health outcomes, including weight gain and possibly heart disease. In light of this, the American Heart Association suggests that women limit added sugars to no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) per day and that men limit them to no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) per day. BUT, it’s important to note that this is for added sugars, and there is no recommended limit on natural sugar consumption.

Natural sugars are those that naturally occur in foods, such as lactose in milk and fructose in fruit. They exist in foods that are also rich in several vitamins and minerals, fiber (in the case of fruit), protein (in the case of milk), and other beneficial nutrients, and are a great source of energy for the body. Foods with natural sugars, like fruit and milk, are generally considered to be very healthy, and should be included in a well-balanced diet.

Read the full article from Minneapolis.St.Paul Magazine’s Be Well here.