Are you interested in tracking Natural Sugar vs Added Sugar?

Sugars are generally divided into two types: natural and added. Natural sugars are naturally found in certain foods like fruit or milk, while added sugars are added to foods during preparation.

Are you interested in tracking Natural Sugar vs Added Sugar? 27 votes

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  • TX_Bluebonnet
    TX_Bluebonnet Posts: 244 Member
    There are some processed foods I don't like if they're overly sweet, so I may compare different brands and choose the one with the lesser added sugar. Pasta sauce is one. Another example is I mostly liked some Lays baked potato chips I recently tried, except I thought they tasted sweeter than regular ones. Sure enough it had 2 grams added sugar. Interestingly, Ruffles baked potato chips have 5% less fat and only 1 gram of added sugar. They're both produced by the same company. Some day I'll give them a try. But, no, I don't "track" added sugars when logging.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,463 Member
    I care more about what's in my eating - getting in the good stuff I need - and not at all about excluding anything that isn't literally poison, an allergen for me, or contraindicated because of a health condition or a needful prescription drug regimen.

    Long ago, probably in my first year in MFP, I dropped the sugar column from my diary, replacing it with fiber.

    Within reasonable calories, I focus on getting a certain minimum of protein daily (100g), a certain minimum of fats (50g), at least 5 and ideally 10+ 80-gram servings of varied, colorful veggies/fruits, and try to keep a good portion of my fat intake MUFA/PUFA vs. sat fats, as well as keeping O-3s and O-6s in reasonable balance. I have a fiber gram minimum set, but if I eat the foods I like most, and get my veggies/fruits, I routinely exceed any reasonable fiber goal, so I don't pay much attention to it, honestly. I don't pay attention to carb intake, either. (Those goal numbers are specific to me, 5'5", female, age 66, active, mid-120s pounds.)

    If I do those things, I don't see any reason to think about sugar or added sugar. If one reads the USDA/WHO/etc. background material on added sugar, their reasons to limit it are pretty much:

    (1) It will be difficult to get adequate nutrition while keeping calories low enough to avoid weight gain. (One or the other of nutrition or calorie level will suffer.)
    (2) Dental health.

    If I focus on good nutrition (as I defined it in the 3rd paragraph) at appropriate calories, #1 is not an issue.

    If I practice good dental hygiene, my dental health is fine.

    When I first joined MFP, I noticed that I was going over my MFP default sugar goal while eating very close to zero added sugar. That's when I dropped the sugar column as silly. (As a vegetarian, I eat a fair amount of non/low-fat, no-sugar-added dairy. It has inherent sugars. I also eat 2-4 servings of whole fruit daily. It also has inherent sugars. Some veggies have inherent sugars. Even USDA/WHO/etc. don't seem too excitable about inherent sugars. I definitely don't.)

    I understand that many people have difficulty with overeating sweets, or controlling intake of sugary foods. But I still don't really understand improving that by directly trying to reduce sugar. If someone focuses on reducing sugar, takes it to low levels, s/he can still be getting pretty poor overall nutrition. If someone focuses on getting good nutrition, it's pretty difficult to still be eating a large amount of optional/added sugar, unless the person is an endurance athlete burning many hundreds of calories daily training . . . and that endurance athlete arguably needs the sugar, added or inherent.

    I assume that MFP will add some capability for tracking added sugars as there come to be more database entries (from the newer US labeling laws) that have that data. The existing database has a field for added sugars. Most database entries don't have data in that field, because the database is crowd-sourced, and the data wasn't previously readily available. AFAIK, one can't track added sugar as a diary column yet, but I'm betting that will happen eventually - maybe as a premium feature, since that's how net carbs were added.
  • Goddess_Atalanta
    Goddess_Atalanta Posts: 7 Member
    I'm not so into tracking per se, but I do think this is an important distinction.

    Refined sugars are generally devoid of all nutritional value, while naturally occuring sugars in whole foods come with additional nutrients. For example - dates are so sweet that I consider them to be nature's candy. Luckily eating them provides a lot of fiber and also minerals that your body needs. What does regular candy have?
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 7,549 Member
    well it isnt quite a false dichotomy between dates and candy.

    Plenty of foods have added sugar AND other nutrients, like, say sweet and sour chicken
  • russellholtslander1
    russellholtslander1 Posts: 285 Member
    I think we all are aware that there are other things we get from food, like vitamins & minerals, so there are differences, based on where you get your sugar from.

    However, other than the body having to break down different sugars, they all end up the same. You can have a high sugar diet, and not eat junk.. there is a ton of sugar in fruits, berries, and dairy. It's harder to consume as much sugar, but a lot of people who eat a " healthy " diet, consume an incredible amount of sugar. Fruit juice is just as bad as pop, as far as sugar. skim milk has half ( 12 g ) the sugar of a Coke per 8 ozs. (21 g ).

    Now, skim milk has some benefits, and Coke has none I can think of.. but let's take Vitamin D.. we ADD Vitamin D to milk, orange juice, cereal, oatmeal.. so we get 10-20% per serving.. along with the sugar in the cereal, orange juice, and milk for breakfast.

    Meanwhile, there are MUCH better sources of Vitamin D.. without a lot of sugar, if ANY. One 3.5 ozs serving of wild caught salmon has 124%. Even the farmed salmon has 66% of the RDA. Even if we use the best number for milk, which is fortified with Vit. D ( 22 % ), you would need to drink 3 full glasses, to get as much Vitamin D as 3.5 ozs. of farmed salmon... 5.5 glasses to equal wild caught 3.5 oz. serving. Each glass with 12 g of sugar. So 3 glasses of milk is 36 grams of sugar versus ZERO.

    I think you can see that orange juice, and cereal are also loaded with sugar, so getting the nutrients in these foods, comes with lots of sugar, which breaks down to glucose.

    124 g of Vitamin C in a cup of orange juice.. 152 g in a cup of sweet red peppers.. difference is 24 g sugar versus 3.9.

    There is better, but natural sugar is not that much better, and a lot of the foods we think are healthy, are loaded with sugar.

    We can't avoid sugar completely, but if we just realize that all sugars break down into glucose, then we should be asking why we think foods with lots of sugar are healthy?

    The goal should be to get your nutrients from foods with little to NO sugar. THOSE are healthy foods.

    You may still indulge in some high sugar foods, like milk or orange juice.. just realize that you are choosing a food which has a lot of sugar in it, and act accordingly.

    We all get sugars.. vegetables have sugars in the, but a lot less sugar, and we can still get all the nutrients we need, if not more from low sugar sources.

    There are a few vitamins and minerals which may require us to eat foods which have higher amounts of sugars, but those are rare.

    So instead of tracking the different types of sugars, why not just get rid of as much of both kinds of sugar? That is why I answered that I am not concerned where I get sugar.. I am more concerned with quantity. We have to get some, but if we limit it to foods which are lowest in sugar, which still allow us to get all our nutrients, then we can't go any lower, and if we are low enough, does it really matter what kind of sugar it is?

    If you consume 10 g of sugar a day. I doubt it's that harmful.. natural or added. Of course, at that point, it's unlikely you are eating added sugar, but if you got 10 g of sugar from 4 ozs. of Coke, with no natural sugar ( that would take some work ), I doubt that would kill you either. Quality only matters if you have a large quantity of sugar in the diet, and not really that much. It just gets absorbed a little slower.

    Better, but still not good for you.
  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,867 Member
    edited January 3
    No, not really, as I am generally mostly interested in whether I am getting sufficient nutrients and a good rounded diet with everything I need in a sensible amount of cals, but I am interested in whether the sugars I get are mostly from nutrient dense foods or not, and I look to see where my sugars come from. I don't see sugar from foods like veg, fruit, or dairy to be a bad thing in my diary at all. Wrt low nutrient foods, I would see eating too much of them over the course of a week or whatever to be a bad thing, but not specifically based on sugar -- high cal, low nutrient foods without much sugar still shouldn't be a significant source of cals on the regular IMO, unless someone has a much higher cal goal than I do, anyway.

    I think trying to simplify nutrition to something like sugar=bad or sucrose=bad shows a lack of understanding of nutrition.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,771 Member
    Not something that is particularly important to me. For starters, sugar is sugar and it is processed the same by the body...your body doesn't know the difference between sugar coming from a fruit or sugar being added to something. I also don't really have much of a sweet tooth, so I don't eat much in the way of added sugars and I don't have any health concerns for which I need to monitor either added or naturally occurring sugar. I mostly focus on an overall sound and nutritious diet and ensuring I'm getting appropriate nutrition.