The Scoop on Sugar

Sugar is found in many forms and not all sugar is created equal. The sugar found naturally in fruits is not the same as the sugar found in soda, chocolate milk, baked goods, and other processed foods. These foods all contain added sugars. "Added sugars" are added during processing and were not present in the original food.

Although different kinds of sugar are handled by the body in similar ways, added sugar is undesirable because it is calorie dense and nutrient poor. That means that while it provides you with lots of extra calories, added sugar alone contains no nutrients to contribute to your daily needs and no fiber to help fill you up.

On the other hand, foods with natural sugars also contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It is recommended that no more than 10% of your daily calories come from added sugars, which equals about 10 teaspoons per day.

When looking at food labels, remember that food manufacturers make no distinction between naturally occurring sugar and added sugar. You have to look at ingredient lists to determine whether sugar has been added. Common sources of added sugar include brown sugar, dextrose, corn syrup, and honey.

Foods with Natural Sugars Foods with Added Sugars
1% or fat free milk Chocolate milk
Orange Juice Orange soda
Apple Sweetened applesauce
Cranberries Sweetened dried cranberries
All fruit jam Regular jam
Tomato Ketchup