What to Know About Added Sugar vs Natural Sugar


Cutting sugar out of your diet can be the most difficult part of trying to eat healthier. Luckily, there’s a way to effectively minimize sugar in your diet and eat healthier. The first step is to understand the difference between added sugars and natural sugars.

The Difference Between Added Sugars and Natural Sugars

Believe it or not, natural and added sugar are two different types of sugar. Added sugars are added during the food manufacturing process to sweeten foods or enhance their flavors. You can also add sugar to food yourself, like when you add sugar to your coffee.

Natural sugars are the natural sources of sugar found in food like fruits and dairy. They are easier to metabolize and maintain your body’s glucose levels better, giving you more energy for your day.

According to Clean Eating Kitchen, when you consume food with added sugars, they are processed much quicker than natural sugars. This can cause your blood sugar to spike, which later causes a “sugar crash,” or a sudden drop in energy.

Not only do added sugars mess with your energy levels, but they can also hinder any attempts to maintain weight while dieting. If your body does not process the added sugars for energy, they get stored as fat and contribute to weight gain.

How to Prioritize Natural Sugars in Your Diet

It can be difficult to cut added sugars out of your diet all at once. Instead of trying to eliminate all added sugars from your diet all at once, a balanced diet can be more beneficial. This can help you reduce the amount of added sugars you consume, while also helping you maintain a healthy diet. 

Striking the balance between the two sources of sugar depends on each person’s eating habits and personal preferences. Some people are able to eat less added sugars by keeping one item with added sugar in their diet. Others may find balance by alternating between eating food with added sugars and natural sugars.  

Foods that Contain Added Sugars

Added sugars are most often found in processed foods like breakfast cereals, candy, jelly or jams, dairy-based desserts, and puddings. Natural sugars can be found in foods like fruits, carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes. They can also be found in dairy products such as low-fat milk and Greek yogurt. 

If you’re trying to avoid eating added sugars, reading food labels and keeping track of your sugar intake can help. However, grams of added sugar are not always listed in the content on the nutrition facts label. Sometimes they’re only listed in the ingredient list. Extra sources of sugar in ingredients can come from high-fructose corn syrup, corn starches, brown sugar, and molasses. 

You may also be receiving sugar from foods you wouldn’t expect to. Sugar can come from foods like sandwich condiments, nut butters, and pasta sauces. Checking the labels on everything you eat can help you determine whether your favorite food is really worth the sugar intake.  

Ways to Incorporate Natural Sugars into Your Diet

There are several ways you can incorporate natural sugars into your daily meals. For example, mixing fresh fruits into plain Greek yogurt can give you more natural sugars than pre-packaged fruit yogurt. 

You could also substitute your condiments for foods with natural sugars. Avocados can replace mayonnaise, salsa can replace ketchup, and oil or vinegar can even replace premade salad dressings. 

You can also avoid added sugars in beverages by choosing healthier drink options. Coconut water and sparkling water are good substitutions for sodas and sports drinks. If you enjoy sugar in your coffee, you may want to try cinnamon instead. Drinking water regularly can also help boost metabolism and satisfy the need for a sugary drink. 

Eat Healthy at 3Natives

If you’re looking for more options with natural sugars, you should see what we have to offer at your local 3Natives!  

At 3Natives, using fresh fruits and vegetables to give you satisfying and healthy meal options is our number one goal. Our acai bowls, bagels, and smoothies can help satisfy your sweet tooth while helping you get the sugars your body needs. 

Check out the menu at 3Natives today!