Added Sugar: How to Reduce It for Better Health

Sugar is often the top response when consumers are asked which ingredients they avoid for health reasons. That said, adult Americans consume, on average, over 77 grams of sugar a day, which is more than three times the recommended intake (for women).

When I used to sample dark chocolate snacks with my former chocolate company, nicobella organics, I would always emphasize that the chocolates were high in fiber and protein due to the dark chocolate and nuts. But shoppers would always ask (while anxiously grabbing the bag of chocolate and flipping it over to the see the Nutrition Facts label), "yes, but how much sugar does it have?"

While the chocolate didn't have much sugar compared to most snacks on the market, I didn't blame them for having concern. After all, studies have repeatedly demonstrated the harmful effects of high sugar consumption. Excess sugar can lead to insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and obesity. Too much sugar has also been show to negatively affect cognition, mood, skin health, sleep, and satiety (i.e. making you feel like you're hungry and like you need more when you probably don't).

Not All Sugar is is Detrimental to Health

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate naturally found in many whole foods. Fruits and vegetables contain naturally occurring sugar. Starch-based foods, like beans and potatoes, are broken down into simple sugars in our body. Whole grains are a carbohydrate-rich foods that also break down into sugar that enters our bloodstream. Does this mean we should avoid these nutrient-dense foods? Negative. These foods also come with an abundant amount of other essential nutrients for optimal health like vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.