why is added sugar so bad for us but regular sugar isn’t?

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For example, most fruits have around 10-20g of sugar per cup of fruit. How is this sugar any different than if I were to eat a granola bar with 10g of added sugar? Or have a drink with added sugar? The USDA says to limit added sugar consumption, but says nothing about limiting regular sugar consumption. Is added sugar chemically any different from sugar found in natural foods?

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28 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because added sugars typically lack the additional vitamins, minerals, and fiber that whole fruits do, they are empty calories that raise blood sugar levels and trigger a surge in blood sugar that can lead to type II diabetes. They also make you feel hungry for hours afterward, which may lead to overindulgence. When energy dense, high-glycemic index foods give off their initial rush of endorphins, this might result in obesity and a lack of contentment. Your body need the previously stated nutrients as well, and you run the risk of developing deficiencies if you replace foods high in those nutrients with low-nutrient options, like added sugars.

Anonymous 0 Comments

>Is added sugar chemically any different from sugar found in natural foods?

Yes but not enough to actually make that much of a difference

>most fruits have around 10-20g of sugar per cup of fruit. How is this sugar any different than if I were to eat a granola bar with 10g of added sugar?

Try compare the amount of food in a granola bar with 10 grams of sugar versus a portion of food with 10 grams of sugar. The portion differences are very large. People that eat added sugar products are not consuming nearly the same amount of sugar as people who eat fruits.

Example: 1 can of soda contains about 39 grams of sugar. To get that much sugar from strawberries you’d need to eat 800 grams(about 1.3 pounds) of strawberries.

And lastly, fruit has vitamins and fiber. Vitamins keeps your healthy, and fiber keeps you full which stops you from over consuming fruits, along with the other benefits fiber has on your digestion.

edit: Also one more benefit from the fiber in fruit is that it slows down your bodys absorption of sugar, this reduces the blood sugar spikes that are bad for people with diabetes/prediabetes, and even for healthy indiviuals such spikes can cause uncomfortable side effects

Anonymous 0 Comments

What you’re seeing is a compromise that was reached on labeling between the FDA and the fruit industry.

There is a general consensus that more sugar = more bad, regardless of its source. The FDA wanted to highlight how much sugar food contained on the nutrition labels. Fruits in general, and fruit juice in particular, would have looked bad with a nutrition label that overly highlighted how much sugar was in something.

The compromise that the FDA reached was to allow products to list how much sugar they naturally contain and how much sugar has been added.

Drinking 24 ounces of apple juice gets you about the same amount of sugar as drinking 12 ounces of a refreshing, ice cold Coca-Cola®. There is no meaningful difference between drinking those two things from a health perspective. Obviously, if you’re limiting yourself to a single, 12 ounce drink, the apple juice contains half the sugar and would therefore be better for you.

But ya, 1 gram of sugar = 1 gram of sugar from a health perspective, regardless of where you get it from.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s the dose which makes the poison. Added sugar ISN’T any worse for you than naturally occurring amounts. The problem is that sugar is added to so many things in such excessive amounts. That’s the issue.

You can have the same issue with other things that naturally concentrate sugar too. For example, there might be 10g of sugar in apple. If I were to tell you go eat almost 5 apples, there’s probably no way you’d be able to do that comfortably. If I were to pour you 12 ounces of apple juice you probably wouldn’t have an issue drinking that. Those both have the same amount of sugar.

And if that wasn’t enough, most “juices” have added sugar in amounts that’s not uncommon to see juice with more sugar per cup than soda

Anonymous 0 Comments

It pretty much depends on your diet and lifestyle. In most cases (US especially) the typical diet is too high in sugars/carbs. Biologically, we’re sort of “programmed” to like sugar because it is the major source of energy. Because of this food manufacturers add more sugar to make food more tasty and this makes it very easy to overconsume sugar. It is also possible to overconsume “natural” sugars so the idea of “good vs bad” sugar is incorrect. It is the total sugar consumption that matters.

Anonymous 0 Comments

They are both bad for you in excess. A lot of “natural” sugars in food have increased in the last few hundred years. These days a banana has the equivalent of several tablespoons of sugar.


Anonymous 0 Comments

Fruit have fiber which slows the absorption of sugar resulting in a lower sugar spike.    

>Is added sugar chemically any different from sugar found in natural foods?   

 No it’s identical, added sugar literally comes from beets or sugar cane or corn. It’s not made in the lab.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Carbs, added sugar and alcohol has nothing to slow down the glucose spikes and absorption. It’s also often overloading the liver / intestine to the point it can’t cope.

In nature we have fruit (glucose/fructose) which is paired with fibre and water. This is why fruit is ok to eat. The fibre / water slows down spikes and absorption. It’s also nutrient dense which boosts metabolism.

We also have fat and protein found in nature and fibre (an indigestible carb, digested by the gut microbiome).

Ultra processed foods are pure carbs, often lacking any fat or protein. Glucose spikes, which causes fat storage and insulin releases blocking fat burn. They also lack nutrients, slowing metabolism.

This is why it’s good to pair veggies, proteins, fats with carbs – to lessen their impact.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Added sugars aren’t necessarily worse for you than natural sugars. Sugar is sugar. The difference is that products with added sugars usually have a LOT of sugar, without a lot of other nutrients. Natural sources of sugar (e.g. fruit) usually have fiber and vitamins to make the food more balanced, and you’re not as likely to eat as much of it. So you’ll end up eating less sugar if you’re opting for those less processed foods.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’m not an expert, but my doctor explained it to me as having something to do with the fiber content of fruit. Not that the sugar wasn’t still sugar, mind you, but that the fiber (which is very good for you and slows down digestion) was more than worth it as long as I wasn’t just horking a bucket full of super sweet strawberries in one go. She did also tell me to avoid fruit juices, because it was all the delicious sugar with none of the helpful fiber, haha.

I think it’s also just sheer quantity, as someone else commented. You get a lot more other good nutrients with fruit along with that sugar, compared to something like a soft drink or a cake. Not getting too much sugar is important, but potentially significantly more important is getting a healthy amount of fiber, vitamins, etc, that come with a balanced diet.