This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Our guidelines on sugar tightened up even more this past summer, with experts recommending that we specifically limit added sugars in our diet. Avoiding table sugar may seem easy, but seemingly “healthy” sugars can be confusing at best, and deceiving at worst. In today’s Get FUELED segment, Molly gives us the rundown on why it’s so important to limit these added sugars – plus what counts as added sugars, and how to avoid marketing pitfalls.

HOW MUCH ADDED SUGAR IS TOO MUCH // 2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend that added sugars make up less than 6 percent of our calories. For most people, this means not more than 20 to 30 grams – less than two tablespoons per day.


  • A diet high in added sugars is pro-inflammatory, linked to an increased risk of conditions from cancer to heart disease to joint pain and more.
  • Added sugars also contribute to excess calories and weight gain, with minimal or no nutritional benefit.
  • A diet high in added sugars can set us up on the blood sugar + cravings rollercoaster, causing and perpetuating our desire for more carbs and more sugars.

BY THE LABELS // Fortunately, by 2021, food labels will be required to reveal just how much added sugar is in their products.

PERCEIVED AS HEALTHY’ // Think maple syrup, honey, raw coconut sugar, organic cane sugar, ‘vegan’ sugar, beet sugar and turbinado – all are still considered added sugar and should be limited in our diet.

Compounds isolated in sweeteners like maple syrup and honey have been shown to have potential anti-inflammatory effect and possible protection against cell damage, but keep in mind – these are mostly test tube and/or animal studies – and these are still considered added sugars, with the recommendation to use sparingly within the recommended upper limit for daily added sugars.

TOP PICKS FOR SWEETENERS // plant-based natural zero-calorie sweeteners such as Swerve (blend of erythritol, oligosaccharides and natural flavor from citrus; full disclosure that Swerve sponsors this FUELED TV segment), as well as monkfruit and stevia.


Want more from Molly?  Click here to sign up for Eat Fit Wellness Bites weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO and more!   Follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram:  @MollyKimballRD – and check out her weekly podcast; just search ‘Molly Kimball’ on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.