40547108_MPaleo. Keto. Low carb. Whatever version of these popular diets you may follow, they have one thing in common—the underlying assumption that sugar is the enemy. While this can be an over-simplification, there is some truth to it. Still, it’s important to understand the nuances, so you can make the best choices for you and your body.

For one, did you know there are actually two types of sugar? What’s the difference between the two? And is one healthier for you than the other? It can seem overwhelming, but we break it down for you here:

Empty calories
First, let's start with added sugars. This refers to sugars or sweeteners that are added to foods during processing or preparation to enhance the flavor profile. They also might appear on an ingredients list as brown sugar, pure cane sugar, raw sugar, molasses, and high fructose corn syrup.

Part of a balanced diet
Naturally occurring sugars are part of a whole food, like the lactose in milk or the fructose in fruit. The good news is that these types of sugars are metabolized differently in the body than their additive counterparts, thanks to the protein, fiber and water content accompanying them in a whole food. They are also lower on the glycemic index than added sugars. Consuming them typically doesn't result in a sugar crash like you may experience when eating food with added sugars, like a donut, for example. That’s why eating fresh fruit is considered part of a balanced diet. (As an aside, did you know that fruit skin is a powerhouse of nutrients?)

Choose wisely
The takeaway? Natural sugars are better for your body than added ones. Keep in mind as you choose the foods that fuel your body that not all sugars are created equally, and your body will thank you for making informed choices. If you're concerned about your sugar consumption, try keeping a food journal and logging all of the nutritional data. You may be eating more added sugar than you realize. Consider the fact that American adults consume an average of 77 grams of added sugar per day, according to the American Heart Association. Eating too much added sugar can lead to chronic spikes in blood sugar, weight gain, and increased risk of several chronic diseases. So tread lightly!

If you have any questions about the way supplements might help as you make nutritious choices for your body, I'd love to answer any questions: mlgervacio@gmail.com

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