FAQ: Is Honey, Agave, Maple Syrup, or Coconut Sugar Better than Regular Sugar?
FAQs - Did You Know? Nutrition
Morgan Medeiros MSc
January 9, 2018

better than regular sugarFan of the sweet stuff? You’re not alone: the average American consumes 20 teaspoons of sugar a day (compare that to the recommended 6 teaspoons/day!)

Although it’s easy to assume that you’re not among the millions of consumers overdoing it on added sugars, the reality is that most of us are- we just don’t realize it.

That’s because most sugars are hidden- they’re not in the obvious things like soda, candy, or desserts. They’re also in packaged and processed foods like bread, pasta sauce, and salad dressing, and in restaurant dishes, beverages, and foods with “health halos”- like honey and agave, for example.

While many consumers believe that coconut sugar, honey, agave, or other “raw” sweetener is more natural than typical cane sugar, there’s not much unnatural about the plain old white stuff.

Furthermore, all sugars and sweeteners are nearly identical nutritionally- even the much-vilified high fructose corn syrup. And they all elicit the same effect in the body- in other words, they all have the same effect on weight outcomes.

While weight outcomes are adversely affected by high sugar consumption, eating and drinking too much sugar can adversely affect health and mortality even in the absence of excess weight. In other words, even if you’re not overweight, you’re not off the hook: eating too much sugar increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and other metabolic conditions.

Regardless of your preferred sweetener source, limit added sugars to 6 tsp or 25 grams per day.

Morgan Medeiros is a certified nutritionist, holding a both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Morgan completed her undergraduate education at Central Washington University, and her graduate education at Northeastern University. During her time as a graduate student, Morgan focused her area of expertise in health education, weight management, and behavioral change. Morgan has experience working in areas of nutritional neuroscience and disease prevention, obesity prevention, and weight loss. Morgan also works in areas of nutritional analysis and menu labeling for restaurants, where she is able to creatively bridge her interest in food culture and health education. In her free time, Morgan enjoys traveling, reading, writing, running, and spending time with her family and friends (including- most importantly- her dog, Clyde).

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