The Sugar in Healthy Foods

The Sugar in Healthy Foods

One cup of corn flakes gives you enough sugar for the morning. The average American can have all the calories from simple carbohydrates needed for a healthy diet without adding any sugar. Over the course of a week, the three daily meals supply all that''s needed.

Regular Foods in a Healthy diet

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Sugar is an essential part of the regular food in a typical healthy diet. The American Dietetic Association describes a healthy diet as one with plenty of vegetables, grains and lean meats, rounded out with lowfat milk and fruits. But how much of each food group is in a diet with the right amount of sugar?

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In a diet rich in fruits and milk products, the volume of the sweet carbohydrate is fairly adequate. A person can eat too much of the natural sugars fructose and lactose by choosing too many regular foods like oranges and yogurt. On the other hand, a protein heavy diet with a large proportion beef, poultry and fish doesn''t have many sweet calories.

Not only sweet foods have sugar. Though fruits and milk products have the highest natural sugar content, most of the rest of a healthy diet has amounts of sugar that count in the total. Vegetables, grains and nuts can contain enough for a day.

Sugar Counts

The quantity in a diet depends on the balance of the food groups. A cup of orange juice has 32 grams of sugar, about half the amount in a milk shake, 63 grams. Eat only one cup of bananas and that counts for 18.35 grams. The simple slice of cantaloupe has more than 5. Many people believe yogurt is low in calories. They might be surprised to find 8 ounces contains 16 grams. A cup of lowfat 2% milk? More than 12.

Low volume foods add up. Enough corn flakes, carrots and cashews and there is no need to worry about eating enough sugar. In the morning, a small bowl of corn flakes contributes about 3 sugar grams to the day’s diet. A full salad with romaine lettuce and a cup sliced carrots has near 6. A 1 ounce serving of cashews has just under 1 and 1/2 grams.

By paying attention to the grams in regular foods, a person can know if sugar can be added. The key to eating the right amount is the choice of the balance of meats, grains, fruits and vegetables and milk products. A moderate amount of food gives the average person enough.


American Dietetic Association, Eat Right Nutrition tips
USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20

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