Are All Sugars Bad? : Differences in Natural & Added Sugars

In recent years, there has been an unprecedented amount of media attention dedicated to sugar. It seems to have transitioned from being a harmless sweet treat to a controversial food, causing many to fully abandon it. Here's info on the differences between natural and added sugars.

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 or Probiotic Fruit Bars. All of the sugar found in our fruit bars occurs naturally in the fruit itself. So, what’s the difference and why does it matter? Here is 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.

Why It's Important To Learn About Sugars 

While added sugars should most definitely be limited, naturally derived sugar in moderation is a better, potentially healthier choice for your sweetner. It’s important to fully understand the different types of sugar to ensure a healthy, balanced diet complete with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. You don't have to completely deprive yourself, but being more conscious about how much and where sugars are derived is key. 

As we've mentioned, That's it. Fruit Bars have no added sugars and are a tasty, 100% natural, and healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Try them today! 

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