Everyone “knows” that sugar is bad for you — but are there “good” vs “bad” sugars?
First things first, there is a big difference between added sugars in boxed/bagged/packaged
foods such as candy, pop, cookies, etc vs natural sugars in whole foods such as fruits,
vegetables and whole grains.
The natural sugars from whole foods are considered “good” sugars because although they do
contain natural sugars, they are also packed with fibre, carbohydrates, protein and many
nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. You can’t have one without the other when it comes
from a whole foods source, so the nutritional value of a whole food outweighs the sugar
In contrast, the added sugars in boxed/bagged/packaged foods are considered “bad” sugars
because they almost never contain fibre, protein or any other nutrients.
||Can of Coke
||Tim Hortons Lemon Poppyseed Muffin
||McDonalds Strawberry Banana Smoothie
||Starbucks Chocolate Chip Cookie
= 11½ tsp
= 9¾ tsp
= 17¼ tsp
= 6½ tsp
= 12¼ tsp
= 11½ tsp
|% of Daily Requiremnt
In the above comparison chart, we compare the sugar content and nutritional content
between a mango and one can of coke, one grande caffe vanilla frappuccino from Starbucks,
one lemon poppyseed muffin from Tim Hortons, one medium strawberry banana smoothie
from McDonalds and one chocolate chip cookie from Starbucks. You can see that although the
mango contains 46 g (equivalent to 11½ tsp) of sugar, it also contains lots of other nutrients
at the same time. In contrast, the frappuccino, lemon poppyseed muffin, strawberry banana
smoothie and chocolate chip cookie contains lots of sugar — between 39 g to 69 g (equivalent
to 9¾ tsp to 17¼ tsp!) — but minimal additional nutritional value.
But WHY is sugar bad for you? High sugar consumption is associated with many health
conditions, such as:
• Weight Gain: Consuming excess amount of sugar a day can lead to you putting on weight,
which can then lead to diabetes and some cancers
• Cavities: Sugar feeds the bacteria that live in your mouth and leaves an acid behind that
wears away at your enamel. Always rinse your mouth with water after you eat sweet
• Heart Disease: Consuming excess amount of sugar on a daily basis can increase your
chances of heart disease such as heart attack, stroke and other heart diseases. It
increases your risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. In fact, it increases
“bad” cholesterol (LDL), decreases “good” cholesterol (HDL) and increases triglyceride
• Diabetes: Consuming too much sugar sets you up for insulin resistance, which can
eventually lead to type 2 diabetes (or insulin resistance diabetes)
• Liver Disease such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Your liver converts simple sugars
into fat, which can build up in the liver and eventually lead to damaging effects on your
So the big question is, what can you do to keep your sugar intake as low as possible?
1. Always read your labels whenever you purchase anything that is bagged/boxed to look at
the sugar content of the product.
2. Try your best to limit your consumption simple or refined sugars
3. Stay away from pop and juice. If you LOVE juice and can’t fathom swapping it out for
water, start with a mixture of 75% juice : 25% water for a week, then 50% juice : 50%
water, then 25% juice: 75% water and eventually, even 10% juice : 90% water will be sweet
enough to just give you a hint of sweet and you won’t be able to go back!
4. Stick to whole foods and use fruits as a replacement initially to help you switch over
5. Whenever you eat something sugary, make sure to combine it with something that
contains a lot of fibre and some protein to help balance it out. Even better if you can pair
it with a whole food, which usually does the trick.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Adelaide Health Clinic at (416) 367-5200
or firstname.lastname@example.org and you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Moira Kwok ND who
can help guide you through your dietary and other health questions.