Added Sugar vs. Natural Sugar

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between added sugar and natural sugar?  Is natural sugar good for you? How much added sugar is it okay to consume every day? Keep reading to find out!

Natural sugar is exactly how it sounds, its natural! That means that it is naturally found in the food item, fruit for an example has natural sugar. Natural sugar that is found in fruit and vegetables also comes with a load of added health benefits from the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Added sugar on the other hand is sugar that is not naturally found in the food or food product and has been added as a flavor enhancer. Added sugar tends to add a lot of excess calories without providing any nutritional benefits. When reading the ingredient list added sugar can be termed several different ways, the most common are cane sugar, cane juice, cane syrup, high fructose corn syrup, or raw sugar. Don’t forget that items such as honey and maple syrup are often added to foods as a sweetener.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans was recently released and came out with a new recommendation to limit added sugar intake  to less than 10% of total calories. For a 2,000 calorie  diet that is 200 calories or about 12 teaspoons of sugar. You  might be thinking that 12 teaspoons sounds like enough, but do you know how much added sugar is in your favorite sweet treat?  For example, one snickers candy bar has almost 7 teaspoons of sugar! You also might think you don’t eat a lot of sweet treats like cake, cookies, brownies, or candy so you probably aren’t consuming that much added sugar however added sugar is found in foods that might surprise you such as: cereal, granola bars, yogurt, salad dressings, and other condiments.

Next time you are craving a sweet treat try having a food that has natural sugar such as fruit to cure that sweet craving!

It’s National Nutrition Month!

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March is National Nutrition Month! This annual educational and information campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The theme for 2016 is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” which encourages everyone to take time to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasures, great flavors and social experiences food can add to our lives.

Keep the following tips in mind this month:

•    How, when, why and where we eat are just as important as what we eat. Making sure to enjoy the sights, sounds, memories and interactions associated with eating are essential to developing an overall healthy eating plan.
•    Develop a mindful eating pattern that includes nutritious and flavorful foods, while also taking the time to enjoy everything that a healthful and tasty meal brings with it. That’s the best way to savor the flavor of eating right!
•    It is possible to enjoy the taste and flavor of food while still maintaining a healthy diet. Take time to enjoy food traditions and find creative, healthful and nutritious ways to add flavor to food. An eating pattern based on the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate recommendations can accommodate the food preferences, cultural tradition and customs of many diverse groups.
•    A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.

Upland Hills Health is celebrating National Nutrition Month by adding a daily dietitian approved wellness meal. Be sure to stop by the cafe and check it out Monday – Friday!