Controversial: Do You Really Need Added Sugar

I am a big coffee drinker…

Thought I would mention that in case you haven’t figured it out already! So why am I telling you this, I mean coffee isn’t really a big topic of conversation for a nutrition wellness blog but really it is and honestly this blog is more than just nutrition!

I wanted to write today because I feel sometimes on our wellness journey we overlook little things we are eating and sometimes those little things add up to big things!

I’ll start with my own personal experience so back to me being a big coffee drinker. I start each morning with a cup of coffee at home. I used to make my coffee by adding 2 tsp of sugar and creamer (also containing sugar). Then I leave for work where I will stop at either Dunkin or Starbucks and get coffee. And the coffee I would order would have more sugar in it and if I’m being honest and I ordered Starbucks it would be some kind of flavored latte, more sugar.

So realistically we are talking about at least 4-6 tsp of sugar by 9 am and I really don’t even know how much added sugar was in the rest of my food throughout the day. A few years ago I was doing a wellness challenge and a task was to cut all added sugar. I can literally remember laughing and telling my husband, yeah right, but something else you should know about me, once someone tells me I can’t do something you can pretty much bet I’ll do whatever it takes to get it done, not really one of my finer qualities but it’s there lol.

I started on this journey to cut added sugar mainly because it was part of the challenge. Well I not only succeeded but once the challenge was over I decided to keep going. Friends, that was over 2 years ago and I am still going strong!

Now I am not here trying to convince you to cut out all added sugar or to tell you that sugar is bad for you. As a nutrition coach I try my best to avoid labeling foods as “good” or “bad” and the same applies to added sugar. At this point you can find tons of research for and against added sugar and there is value in all of it. So when I was finished with the challenge I asked myself this question, “Does adding sugar to my coffee bring value to my health? Will it help me accomplish my goals?” And when I answered the questions, the answer was no. I might have enjoyed the sugar in my coffee but if I’m trying to keep a healthy balanced diet, 4-6 tsp of added sugar before 9 am wasn’t going to help me on that path.

Here is my outlook now. I haven’t eliminated added sugar entirely from my diet, I mean come on the second part of my business name is “donuts” so there’s that! But I have removed it from my normal day to day intake. This means I stopped adding it to my coffee and I try my best to avoid it when I can. I did this because I found that the foods that contained added sugar weren’t foods that were going to help me achieve the goals I made for myself.

So, do you really need added sugar? I’m going to go with no, you don’t NEED added sugar. You can be perfectly fine cutting out added sugar (added sugar is not the sugar from fruit, please continue eating fruit). Limiting added sugar is not the same as avoiding it altogether. I truly believe in a healthy balance and having treats in moderation, in my opinion, it’s fine. I find when you just limit these foods you are less likely to overeat them when you actually have them. Now these are my opinions and I am NOT a doctor so if your doctor tells you to avoid it or not avoid it you should absolutely listen to them because they know you and your health obviously a lot better than I do!

Let me know how you feel about added sugar!! Comment below!

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