Author | Sarah Koszyk Sugar comes in many shapes and sizes and some forms of sugar are better for us than others. When we read food labels, we can find three main food groups which contain sugar from various sources:

  • Fruits
  • Dairy products (milk & yogurt)
  • Actual sugars/sweets (table sugar, honey, syrups, etc)

It is important to note where your sugars come from because the different forms of sugar affect our bodies in different ways:

Fruits and dairy products offer the body additional benefits when compared to food sources that contain sugars/sweets. For example, a fruit, which contains the sugar fructose, also provides our bodies with various health benefits such as vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Dairy products, which contain the sugar lactose, also provide our bodies with calcium, Vitamin D, and protein. So ultimately, when we eat these forms of “sugar,” we are getting more than just the carbohydrate. We are receiving a multitude of health benefits. Fruits and dairy products are the recommended sugars to eat versus plain old sugars/sweets. Other sugars/sweets primarily just give us calories and energy but don’t provide our body with all the additional health benefits from fruit and dairy products.

So how do you know where the sugar comes from in the food item you buy?:

Read the ingredients list! The most predominant ingredient will be at the top of the ingredient list. Look for products that state: milk, yogurt, or actual names of fruit.

Be cautious of the many hidden names of sugar/sweets:

Corn syrup, barley malt, syrup, honey, sucrose, cane juice (from sugar cane), agave, sweetener, and words ending in “ose,” just to name a few. Consume these sugars less often since they are not adding much benefit to your health besides calories.

Get your preferred sources of sugar by focusing on fruits and dairy products and keeping your sugar/sweet sources to a minimum.

A spoonful of sugar can help the medicine go down when the sugar comes from the right source. So get that apple-a-day handy!

Sarah Koszyk is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach at MV Nutrition and Eating Free where she coaches her clients to reach their successful weight goals. She was the recipient of Outstanding Dietitian of the Year Award 2011 and Recognized Dietitian of the Year Award 2011 from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Contact Sarah today to set up your free consultation.