How Much Sugar Is in the Food We Eat?

Working to reduce the amount of added sugar you consume each day is a worthy goal, especially because many common foods and beverages provide extra sugar and calories but very little of the quality nutrition our bodies need.

On its own, sugar isn’t necessarily good or bad. It becomes a concern when you consume foods that are high in calories and added sugar but low in essential nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Many everyday foods, beverages, and condiments contain a surprising amount of added sugar without contributing much nutritional value. Cutting back on these sources of excess sugar is a good idea for both your well-being and your waistline.

But, there is no need to eliminate sugar completely, especially if you want to eat in a way that supports your health and wellness goals. Sugar and other carbohydrates are essential nutrients that play a vital role in many bodily functions, including in the nervous system and immune system. Not to mention that naturally occurring sugar is present in many of the delicious, nourishing foods we should enjoy every day.

Does Sugar Belong in a Healthy Diet?

Short answer: in controlled amounts, yes. When many people think of “sugar,” they often think of added sugar found in processed junk foods and desserts. However, simple sugars and other carbohydrates are naturally found in many nourishing foods that are important to a healthy diet like fruits, vegetables, dairy, legumes, and whole grains.

The table below provides a breakdown of how much sugar is naturally found in nutritious foods.

Dairy and Non-Dairy Beverages Sugar (g) Fruits Sugar (g)
5.3 oz container strawberry flavored nonfat Greek yogurt 16 1 medium apple 19
1 cup nonfat milk 12 1 cup cherries 13
1 cup plain soy milk 6 1 cup grapes 23
1 cup plain almond milk 7 1 mango 46
    1 cup coconut water 9
Grains and Legumes Sugar (g) Vegetables Sugar (g)
2 slices whole-grain bread 6 1 cup sweet potatoes, cubed 6
1 cup red kidney beans, cooked 5 1 bunch of broccoli 10
1 cup chickpeas, cooked 6 1 zucchini 8
1 cup green peas 4 1 large tomato 5
    1 small head of cabbage 23

Source: USDA Database for Standard Reference, Release 19

When you combine some of the foods from this list to create a balanced meal as shown in the following recipes, you might be surprised to see how much naturally occurring sugar is part of a healthful diet.

Vegan Protein Bowl

Ingredients Sugar (g) Calories
1 cup sweet potatoes, cubed 6 100
1 cup chickpeas, canned 6 164
1 cup quinoa, cooked 1 132
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned 5 50
1 cup cabbage, shredded 3 18
1 large tomato 5 26
Total 25 490

Source: USDA Database for Standard Reference, Release 19

Zoodles With Chunky Tomato Sauce

Ingredients Sugar (g) Calories
1 tbsp olive oil 0 120
½ cup white onion 2 18
2 cups diced tomatoes, canned 12 39
1 tbsp tomato paste 3 30
1 zucchini, spiralized 8 55
¼ lb ground lean turkey 0 220
Total 25 482

Source: USDA Database for Standard Reference, Release 19

When considered in the context of these healthful and nutritionally balanced recipes, 25 grams of naturally occurring sugar is nothing to be concerned about. It’s part of a nutrient-dense meal that also provides vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber for about 500 calories.

Sugar is a natural part of any balanced meal that’s intended to support a healthy lifestyle, which is why sugar is used purposefully to provide a natural sweetness and a source of carbohydrate in Isagenix products.

Those who use an Isagenix System are likely to reduce their dietary intake of sugars by a considerable amount. Each serving of IsaLean™ Shake provides about 11 grams of sugar, which is substantially less than the sugar you might receive from a healthful, balanced meal. This amount falls well within the American Heart Association’s recommendations for sugar intake as part of a healthy diet.

Limiting added sugar from desserts, beverages, and packaged snacks is good advice to follow, but getting targeted amounts of sugar from healthful, nutritious foods should not be a concern. If you’re aiming to reduce the amount of added sugar you get each day, an Isagenix System has the tools to help you reach your goal.

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