- Giulianni Giraldo
Should You Track Your Sugar Intake?
Since this is one of the questions I get asked the most and this seems to be one of the biggest concerns with all dieters, I’ll address this topic here to give you a better understanding.
Somehow sugar has been imprinted into our minds as one of the worst enemies to weight loss and overall health. What people fail to understand is that when it comes to dieting there's a gray area. And there's no reason for you to take the "all or nothing" approach, there's a very strong word in the middle called MODERATION! This grey area is very context dependent, and also depends on the source of the sugar. The main concern with sugar is its lack of micronutrients (vitamins & minerals), but this does not apply for all sources of sugar. Dairy products and fruits are high in sugar, but they are also very high in micronutrients. So you see, not all sources of sugar are 'bad'.
One source of sugar that might cause concern, health wise, is refined sugar; Things like candy, chocolate bars, lollipops, table sugar, etc. Why?
Because these types of food have little to no nutritional value and lack fiber content. But this does NOT mean that you have to cut them out completely from your diet. Here's where MODERATION comes into play.
My recommendation is taking the 80/20 approach, this means: 80% Whole unprocessed foods that are high in their nutritional value. And the other 20% can come from whatever you want. But this can also vary from person to person. Why?
Here comes CONTEXT.
If you're part of the group of people that have a daily intake under 1,200 calories, you cannot be flexible with your food choices, because first of all, having a daily intake under 1,200 calories can already be causing a nutrient deficiency, even if its 100% 'clean foods'. So throwing in a snickers bar that has something around 280 calories, which is around 25% of your total caloric intake, with little to no nutritional value can be a bad and unhealthy choice.
So that's why context is very important, because the higher your caloric intake, the more flexibility you can have with your diet, that's why taking care of your metabolism is so important! So to sum things up, sugar is not bad and does not cause adverse health effects, and you do not have to track it, sugar is just a carb, just track all your carbs in general. But its low nutritional value makes it important to limit its intake, unless it comes from fruits or dairy products.
And sugar does NOT! Affect weight loss. As long as you're in a caloric deficit you will lose weight, even if all your calories come from table sugar.
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, leave a comment below.