Diet-to-Go Blog
  1. Sweet News About Sugar

    Higher levels of sugar are okay… when the sugar sources are natural!

    But just to be on the safe side, we asked our food sleuths to put the spotlight on sugar – check out what they found.

    When it comes to added sugar versus natural sugar, there is a very important distinction.

    First, sugar that occurs naturally in a food generally comes packaged with vitamins, minerals, and fiber…or all three.

    Meanwhile, added sugar contributes calories but no nutrients, so it’s smart to avoid foods that contain a lot of it.

    Next, the Nutrition Facts label does NOT distinguish between added sugar and natural sugar. So, the key is to be sure to read the ingredients label closely.

    Decoding the Fine Print

    If your nutrition bar is made from all-natural ingredients – including dates, fruits and fruit juices – the sugar count is going to be on the high side. And again, that’s quite all right, because the sugar is safely packaged with nutritional superstars.

    This may be easier to swallow if you take a look at this all-natural example:

    Clif Nectar Fruit and Nut Bar – Apple Cinnamon

    Cals 160, 6g fat, 0g sodium, 23g sugar, 6g fiber, 2g protein

    INGREDIENTS: Organic Dates, Organic Apples, Organic Walnuts, Organic Hazelnuts, Organic Lemon Juice Concentrate, Organic Cinnamon

    Take note that this great-tasting treat boasts just six ingredients and all are 100 percent organic and extremely healthy. Yes, there are 23 grams of sugar, BUT it’s sugar that comes from these all natural ingredients, not from added refined sugars. My friend, this is a nutritional home run!

    Reality Check

    When you come across nutrition bars that taste more like candy bars but list super low sugar grams on the Nutrition Facts label, be sure to read the fine print. You’ll usually find several artificial sweeteners padding out the ingredients list – which explains the low sugar count.

    I hope this information eases your fears and allows you to enjoy your nutrition bars - guilt-free!

    Remember, when you're armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you're in control at the grocery store.

    Kerry McLeod is the founder and Chief Brand Doctor of, a bi-weekly e-newsletter that educates shoppers on how to find the healthiest and best-tasting foods at the local grocery store. McLeod has recently been featured on CBS 46 News, Martha Stewart Living Radio,,, and the Vancouver Sun. She has also authored the popular diet and nutrition book The Last Diet Book Standing. For more information visit 

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