What’s the Deal with Added Sugar?

PCOS BlogThere’s been a lot of talk about added sugar recently, because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is talking about putting “added sugar” on the nutrition label. If you are someone who reads the nutrition label on the foods you eat, you know that sugar is already listed on the label. So, you may be wondering what all the hype about added sugar is about. Isn’t all sugar bad if you have PCOS anyway? Not really.

There are some sugars that are found naturally in the foods we eat, and many of the foods we eat that have natural sugar in them are actually pretty healthy. Have you ever heard of lactose? Lactose is a kind of sugar that is found in milk and other PCOS-friendly dairy foods. Fruit is another PCOS-friendly food that is high in natural sugar. Added sugar, on the other hand, is sugar that food companies add to food to make them taste sweet. These types of sugars (such as high-fructose corn syrup, powdered sugar, brown sugar, white sugar, dextrose, maltose, and syrup) are added to things such as soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, candy, cakes, cookies, pastries, ice cream, and sugary cereal, and are not PCOS-friendly.

Although you can tell if something has added sugar in it by looking at the ingredient list, there’s no way of knowing how much is actually added. Since many foods have both natural sugar and added sugar, it can be hard to figure out if something is actually a healthy option. For example, if a strawberry yogurt has 30 grams of sugar in it, you don’t know how much is coming from lactose (natural sugar) and how much the food company put in to make the yogurt taste sweet. We’re hoping the FDA decides to put added sugar on the label. It will make spotting a PCOS-friendly food so much easier!

-Dietitian Kendrin