Sugar; Too Much of a Bad Thing

This title is misleading, I don’t believe that any food should be labeled “bad” or even labeled “good”. There are foods that have more nutrients than others, like vegetables and fruits, compared to the nutritional profile of a cookie. The reason a cookie would be labeled “bad” is because of the high sugar content, which is fine in moderation, but when eaten too often, it can become a bad thing.

Sugar can come in different forms. Monosaccharides are the simplest forms of sugar, including, glucose, galactose, and fructose. Fruits and vegetables contain fructose, which is the most common monosaccharide. Disaccharides are made when two monosaccharides are joined. Sucrose, which is glucose and fructose, is the most common disaccharide and is the type found in table sugar. Lactose is the type of sugar in milk products and is glucose and galactose joined together. Monosaccharides and disaccharides are simple carbohydrates. Polysaccharides have multiple glucose chains and are complex carbohydrates. Starch is an example of a polysaccharide.

Healthy, well-rounded diets can contain broccoli and brownies, just more broccoli than brownies. Sugars in fruit and vegetables are naturally occurring and are metabolized more efficiently because they also contain lots of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The fiber slows down the digestion, which keeps insulin and blood sugar levels stable. Sugar found in cookies, soda, and candy causes insulin and blood sugar levels to spike rapidly because there is no fiber or protein to stabilize these levels or to keep you full. Eat a mix of complex and simple carbohydrates.Chocolate_cake

Eating a variety of foods is part of life, including foods that have sugar. Enjoying one piece of cake at a birthday party is not going to harm you, as long as the rest of your diet includes lots of vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products, lean proteins, and dairy products that aren’t loaded with added sugar or fat. Eat the cake, just have it once in a while!

Article provided by Emily Burger, UWGB Dietetics Student

Sources: Johnson, R. K., Appel, L. J., Brands, M., Howard, B. V., Lefevre, M., Lustig, R. H., Wylie-Rosett, J. (2009). Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. American Heart Association, Inc., 120(11).    doi: