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january 22, 2021
When it comes to sugars remember this: "8 is enough, 9 is fine". 4g (grams) of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon. 8g is equal to 2 teaspoons and so on. 8 is enough, 9 is fine... more than 10 and the amount of added sugar is creeping up to 3 teaspoons! This goes for white sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc... they are all the same in terms of their molecular weight. Sugar is not "bad" and does not need to be completely avoided, but it is important to be aware of how much you're having.
At the time of writing this, food labels in Canada do not identify added sugars separately from naturally occurring sugars. However, this is changing in 2022! The hope is that consumers will be better able to make healthier choices with this added information.
Naturally occurring sugars are found in foods like fruit, which contains fructose, and dairy, which contains lactose. One piece of fruit, like a small apple, has about 15 grams of sugar. One cup of milk has about 12 grams.  While these foods have more than 8g of sugar you should definitely include these foods in your diet because of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, and fibre. With new label requirements, you’ll see the naturally occurring sugar and added sugar. A good example of this is chocolate milk. One cup contains 12g of sugar (lactose), as well as anywhere from 11-17g of added sugar. Chocolate milk has all of the same health benefits of white milk, but it does have added sugar. Now you know that one cup of milk has about 3-4.5 teaspoons of added sugar, would that change how often you drink it? Sometimes you may decide to reach for the chocolate milk, and that is completely ok to have that! 

Another surprising thing you will see when you start to read food labels is that some foods that are commonly thought as being high in sugar, don’t have that much at all. I get asked about peanut butter all of the time. Somewhere along the road peanut butter was labelled as a “high sugar food”. The jar of good old fashioned peanut butter (with the teddy bears) that’s in my pantry has 1g of sugar per tablespoon. That seems perfectly reasonable if you ask me, but it all comes down to a personal and informed choice.

If you’re looking to cut back on your added sugars remember that 8 is enough and 9 is fine.