Suga Suga How You Get So... High?

Guest Blogger: Alexandra Agasar (

There's been a lot of talk about sugar recently. It just came out that the Sugar Corporation actually paid researchers at top universities in the 1960s to blame heart disease and other health risks on saturated fats and not sugar! This caused a flood of 'light' and 'fat-free' foods in the grocery stores. The only problem with that is when fat is taken out of products, flavor is lost, and most corporations turn to sugar to replace the flavor that consumers crave and associate with certain products. Without a % daily value on nutrition labels, sugar can be easily and cheaply added into almost anything without consumers realizing.
Did you know that per ounce, your everyday ketchup has more sugar than ice-cream? A jar of tomato sauce has almost double the sugar as a pack of M&Ms? Some flavored yogurts have the same sugar content as 3 Krispy Kreme donuts? And that some 'healthy' protein bars have the same amount of sugar as 3 Oreos? Sugar is hidden almost anywhere and it's important to know how to read labels to see if what you are about to eat is right for you.

Sugar. The Good and The Bad:

Most commonly found in processed foods, we find added sugars. Added sugars cause a spike in blood sugar, which cause low energy and an increased sugar craving later on. They also cause an increase in triglycerides, bad cholesterols, heart problems, obesity, inflammation, numerous skin irritations, autoimmune diseases, and much more. Unfortunately it's not always as easy as seeing the word sugar to know if added sugars are in the food you are about to eat. There are many names for added sugar including: high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, maltose, sucrose, glucose,  lactose, raw sugar, cane sugar, malt syrup, rice syrup, raw syrup, fruit juice concentrates, etc. (Find all the names sugar can disguise itself under here).  It's hard not to be frustrated with food corporations who hide sugar in their products, but the more you know, the more you can make an informed decision to keep your body happy and live a happy life!

On the bright side, there are natural ways to sweeten foods! One of my favorites is the date. The date fruit can be used in baking to naturally sweeten foods, while still holding it together. Others include: fruit, all natural maple syrup, raw honey, agave nectar, black strap molasses, and coconut sugar. Clean eating doesn't have to mean sacrificing taste! It just requires more awareness of what is in the foods we buy every day.

Thanks to recent regulation, nutrition labels will eventually have % daily values for sugar, as well as a separate category for added sugars aside from sugars as a whole. For now, sugar can go even more incognito on labels, making it that much more important to always read the list of ingredients before you eat it. 

Got It. So How Much is Enough and What's Too Much?

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends women to consume no more than 24 grams a day, and 36 for men. That may sound like a lot, but to put it this way, if you have 1.5 cup of your average cereal, with 1/2 cup milk, and then a french vanilla coffee from your favorite coffee shop along the way, there's a high chance you've already met your limit for the day... and it's only breakfast!

With a daily recommended allowance of about 25-35 grams of sugar per day, Americans are still consuming about 82 grams per day on average. That's about 2-3 times as much as it's supposed to be, and not on occasions, not on birthdays or holidays. This is daily. 

As you can see, we are consuming way more sugar than we should be, and most of the time we may not even realize it! But Swell Foods snacks get it. They have no added sugars, no added chemicals and their Bites have not only 3 ingredients, they are recognizable ingredients. Sweetened with dates and a good source of fiber, your body will thank you! They make clean snacking easy in world that doesn't always do so.

Alexandra Agasar

Alex has a degree in Kinesiology from Penn State and is pursuing a career as an integrative registered dietician.  She has a passion for using nutrition to help people reach their full health potential by getting the human body to function the way it's supposed to. She loves creating and sharing with the world healthy, whole, clean foods that taste good.