Posted by Brooke Tilson on Jul 9th 2019
In recent years, there has been an unprecedented amount of media attention dedicated to sugar. Sugar seems to have transitioned from being a harmless sweet treat to a controversial food causing many to fully abandon it. While added sugars should most definitely be limited, it’s important to fully understand the different types of sugar to ensure a healthy, balanced diet complete with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Arguably one of the best features of That’s it. Fruit Bars, and something that distinguishes us from the majority of other fruit snacks and bars, is that we never add any sugar to our Fruit Bars & Probiotic Fruit Bars. All of the sugar found in our Fruit Bars occurs naturally in the fruit itself. What’s the difference and why does it matter? Here’s the low-down on sugar.
Natural vs. Added Sugars
When reading labels, don’t put something down immediately just because it has a high sugar count. Before deciding how to proceed, it’s important to identify the source of the sugar. Is the sugar naturally occurring (as it does in fruit) or has it been added to improve the taste of the food? If the sugar content in a food product is naturally occurring, you have the green light, but if the sugar has been added, you should definitely proceed with caution.
Though our bodies technically can’t distinguish if the sugar has come from an apple or a cookie, the source of the sugar makes a huge difference as naturally occurring sugars often come with other health benefits as well. The two most common types of naturally occurring sugars are fructose (which comes from fruit) and lactose (which comes from milk). Fructose is encased in fiber (fruit), and that fiber hugely affects how the sugar is metabolized and absorbed in our bodies. Additionally, fruit delivers many more benefits in addition to the naturally occurring sugar. Fruit delivers antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins, while lactose supplies calcium and other important minerals that aid in bone health.
How to Identify Added Sugars
Given how many names the food industry has created to disguise sugar, learning how to read labels can take some work. The most common terms used to disguise added sugars include agave nectar, barley malt, dextrose, rice syrup, isomalt, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, and pure cane juice. Don’t let labels trick you – make sure to always read the complete label and if you see any of these terms, know that that sugar has been intentionally added by the manufacturer. To play it safe, try to avoid foods that contain added sugars altogether.