Sugar 101 – What to Know Before You Say No

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Sugar… the dirty word everyone’s cutting out. We get it. It’s easy to confuse the good from the bad and eat the wrong stuff. Been there. Done that. Hard not to when sugar is in most things we eat—from bananas, squash and onions, to pasta, bread, candy bars, soda, beer and more.

The thing is, not all sugars are created equal; different sugars are processed by the body in different ways. Some sugars, like those in fruits, vegetables and whole foods, are essential to metabolism. Other sugars are a silent killer, contributing to the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart attack, fatty liver, cancer, addiction and more.


If you’re confused about sugar – good sugar, bad sugar, hidden sugars, added sugars, processed sugars, things that don’t sound like sugar (but are sugar) – remember this: good sugar is the naturally occurring sugar in fruits, vegetables and whole foods. We want good sugar in our lives. The other sugars, well, they’re not worth knowing.

Ask yourself: should I eat a banana with 14 grams of natural sugar or a protein bar with zero grams of sugar (but 18 ingredients, artificial sweeteners and chemicals I can’t pronounce)? Answer: the whole food is always the heart-healthy, brain-healthy, immunity and energy boosting choice.

Simply Stated…

  • Processed sugar can damage your heart = increased risk for heart failure
  • Processed sugar promotes belly fat and obesity = increased risk for diabetes
  • Processed sugar increases your cells’ susceptibility to cancer formation = need we say more
  • Processed sugar is toxic to your liver = same toxicity of alcohol
  • Processed sugar speeds up aging = same effects as cigarette smoke
  • Processed sugar impacts brain functions = memory loss, mood disorders, poor attention
  • Natural sugar (fruits, vegetables, whole foods) combats everything listed above = health, energy, awesomeness

BTW, we’re not saying you need to jump on the vegan bandwagon and eat nothing but fruits and vegetables all day. We’re saying, these days all sugar has a bad rap – even the good stuff and we don’t want you to be afraid of the good stuff.

We have much more to say on this topic, so check out the other blogs in our URBAN ROOTS KITCHEN Sugar 101 series and remember this: instead of running from sugar, embrace the good stuff, kick the bad stuff to the curb, or… indulge in a sugary treat once in a while (dreaming about Scallions’ carrot cake right now).

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