Dear Mary Poppins, a spoon full of sugar does not make the medicine go down. It makes your blood lipids go up.


By Katherine MacPherson BS, ACSM HFS & UVAC Personal Trainer


My sister’s great way of getting her 3 year old to enjoy watermelon


Growing up I can remember my great grandmother sprinkling sugar over fresh picked and sliced strawberries for us young kids to enjoy.  Sugar overload?  I’m sure I thought those strawberries were perfectly delicious!  Of the US population, we consume on average 25% or more of own DAILY diet in simple sugars (Thompson, Manroe 2009).  And yes, the rumors are true, simple sugars are not that ideal. Let’s sweetly recap:
Glucose: Generally combined with other sugars, it’s a preferred source of energy for the brain and for all cells.


Fructose: Sweet sugar found of veggies and fruit.


Lactose: Milk sugar


Maltose: A disaccharide that contains two molecules of glucose.


Sucrose: A disaccharide that contains one glucose molecule and one fructose molecule.   It’s sweeter than lactose or maltose.


Added Sugars: Brown sugar, dextrose, honey, corn sweeteners, raw sugar, maple sugar, high-fructose corn syrup (this list of added sugars can go on!).  


Sucralose (Splenda):  A man-made product that is not broken down by the body.  Known to be highly sweeter than table sugar, Sucralose is non-caloric.





·         Large amounts of simple sugars leads to unhealthy levels of blood lipids.  Meaning an increased risk of triglycerides (lipids in our blood) and LDL’s (the bad cholesterol.) 


·         High sugar intakes contributes to obesity.  Obesity contributes to diabetes.  


·         Tooth decay!




·         It is clear today that soda would probably be the first additive sugar item to deduct from your diet. Two reasons for two kinds of sodas:


1.       Non-diet sodas contain over 2-8 tablespoons of sugar. Ouch, call the dentist ASAP?


2.       Diet sodas typically contain aspartame or sucralose, remember the words “man-made” from the recap section of this blog?  When the body tries to break down those ingredients, it will start to process them as if they were true glucose, increasing the rate of insulin production.  Once the body figures out it is not real glucose, your body will lower its blood pressure so that you’ll be hungry enough to soon ingest the real form of glucose so that the insulin can be successful stored. 


·         Avoid doubling up on sweets.  Fruit and veggies are naturally tasty and ready for you to eat.  Adding sugar, or honey for an example to them will only retrain your taste buds to think they aren’t sweet enough.


·         “I’ll take my coffee with two creams and 3 sugar packets please.” YIKES, biggest don’t!  What a terrible way to sneak in sugar.  Your taste buds WILL adapt to a deduction!


Example equation: If you put in 3 tablespoons of sugar in your one cup of coffee a day, that is 1,008 calories at the end of the week.  That is 1/3 of a pound of fat just from your one cup of coffee a day!




·         Drink it, eat it, AS IS! Your fruits and veggies have the sugar already in it, why add to it?


·         Baking with sugar can be tricky, but my personal recommendation is that you use natural resources, like maple syrup, or sugar in the raw.   They are unbleached and readily digestible compared to many other resources.


·         One of my clients got me a bumper sticker saying “READ THE INGREDIENTS!” and it could not be more true.  Cereals, drinks, baked goods, pretty much ALL foods that come with a nutrition label, you should read before you buy it or consume it! Remember 14 grams of sugar = 1 TBS.



Resources from Nutrition; An Applied Approach.  Second Edition. J. Thompson, M. Manroe.
Second photo credit to



Have any cooking tips or tricks? Or maybe some sugar reduction success stories? Fill us readers in!
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