The holidays are coming, and it seems this season is synonymous with “sugar-high!”
Despite our seemingly endless love for sugar, sugar has a bad reputation. Experts have linked surgary drinks and snacks to the increasingly problematic obesity concerns.
However, the health concerns are more complex than simply vilifying sugar without considering other contributing factors.
For example, there are naturally occurring sugars. Further, sugar is a source of natural energy, a rich resource for nutrition that is important to our bodies’ energy creation. However, getting the right kind of sugar and in the right amount is important.
The concern arises with the modern ability to over-indulge on sugar, especially not-naturally-occurring sugars such as artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup.
Balance is key in all things, including sugar consumption. Try to avoid chemical sugars in favor of natural sugars. And eat sugar sparingly.
To help toward that goal, this is a list of sugars in different foods – naturally occurring and not. We list them from least sugary to most.
(This is the number of grams of sugar in a 100 gram serving. Another way to think about it, then, is the percentage of each food that is sugar.)
Broccoli: 1.4 grams of sugar
Sweet corn: 3.2 grams
Watermelon: 6 grams
Apples: 10 grams
Banana: 13 grams
Grapes: 15.5 grams
Fruit yogurt: 19 grams
Ice cream: 25 grams
Dried Apricots: 36.5 grams
Soda: 39 grams
Dark chocolate: 48 grams
Snickers bar: 54 grams
Angel food cake: 58 grams
Raisins: 59 grams
Cotton Candy: 100 grams (pure sugar!)
As you can see, dried fruits are more concentrated than their fresh counterparts and also have large amounts of sugar for their weight. Eat dried fruit sparingly, but fresh fruit is a great way to get naturally occurring sugars!
To satisfy your sweet tooth, try cubes of watermelon, baked sweet potatoes, or slices of banana. Try trail mix with plenty of nuts and grains and (not too much) dried fruit and chocolate. Or, for a cool evening dessert, try some natural fruit sorbet. Yum!
Sugar itself is an important part of nutrition, but choose carefully! Aim for naturally occurring sugars in fruits and veggies and steer clear of the sodas and candy bars.
Enjoy your sweet tooth! What’s your favorite sweet indulgence?