Confused about sugars?


Parents, are you confused about sugars? It’s very easy to be, given all the different labelling on foods and drinks and the often contradictory advice from professionals about what our children should and shouldn’t eat.

Have you ever been told one thing by your dentist, another by a doctor or nurse and something else from a dietitian? You aren’t alone.

Where sugar is concerned, not all sugar is equal, meaning that not all sugar is evil and should be avoided at all costs!

baking cakes


This is the sweet crystallised sugar many of us have in our homes, your standard table sugar would fit in this category. Sucrose can also be found naturally in foods such as dried fruits. You will also find added sugar in things like chocolate and sweets and baked goods like cakes and biscuits. This is certainly the kind of sugar that needs to be limited.

Look out for this type of sugar in other products like sauces, drinks and yoghurts and try to find alternatives where possible.

confused about sugar?

Artificial sweeteners

These are chemical ingredients that are usually used to replace sugar to sweeten foods and drinks. They offer the same sweet taste but without the calories of sugar.

One example of an artificial sweetener is something called Aspartame, which you diet coke drinkers should know about. I have to say that having read some of the reports about the dangers of Aspartame over the years, I often think that you’d be better having the sucrose and working off the calories!


This is another sugar which occurs naturally in animal milks – much more preferable to either of the two sugars above, you will find this in the bulk of the milk and healthy yoghurt products your purchase for your family.


This is the sugar which occurs naturally in fruit. Anything containing real fruit or fruit puree will contain fructose. This is often the other sugar your dentist isn’t keen on. Ever been told your children eat too much fruit? Or perhaps to stay away from grapes? This never sits that well with me because it goes against our efforts to reach that magic 5- a-day or more with our little ones.

If course if it’s a bowl of strawberries or a bag of sweets, go for the bowl of strawberries. As always it’s about a balance and encouraging a good diet and effective teeth cleaning practice.


Natural sweeteners

These are the sugars that come from a natural source like stevia from plants. You can use stevia when baking, in tea or coffee, on cereal and so on as a healthier alternative.

You still need to use this with caution but it’s a MUCH better option than sucrose.

One comment on 'Confused about sugars?'

  • I don’t really use it anymore but I used to use stevia in place of sugar for some recipes, like pancakes for example and it worked really well!

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

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