SUGAR! and the Spark People Tracker

Saturday, December 03, 2011

After gathering comments from SP members about this topic, I am better able to summarize my issue:

Really, it's a simple matter of transfer of data. The data is there in the nutritional info of each food item. It needs to be transferred to the daily food tracker when we add the item to our meal.
Look up an apple. Look at nutritional info. See the entry for SUGAR.
That info just needs to be transferred to the daily food tracker when we add the apple to our meal.
The protein info is added.
The fat info is added.
Etc. Etc.
Why not the sugar info?


I've been reading about nutrition a lot lately and one area of focus is SUGAR. We do seem to love it, don't we?

I read that eating sugar stimulates the same area in the brain that is stimulated by cocaine, heroin and nicotine. Scary, hmmm? Also, eating sugar makes us want more sugar. The more we eat, the more we want, just like those other substances that are not good for your health.

There is no Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for sugar. No one has ever said to you, "You need more sugar in your diet", have they? However, I think if we are on a journey to optimal health, we might want to know how much sugar we are really eating, don't you think?


This link just gives the sugar breakdown for a few fruits. It doesn't mention fiber or pectin or any of the other really good things in fruit, but it does give you an idea of the amount of sugar.

I think we all realize that many canned and frozen items contain sugar, even the ones we don't think of as "sweets". So you look at frozen dinners and canned veggies, etc. and check the labels for the grams of sugar inside.

This is all leading up to my QUESTION:

Why doesn't Spark People's nutrition log track grams of sugar? I found that I can add "sucrose" to the nutrients I want to track, but that is only one type of sugar, and after adding it to my list of items to track, I added 10 cups of various fruits to My Nutrition log for today (just to get an idea of the nutrients in various fruits) and only 1 gram of Sucrose showed up. I also found fructose and dextrose but still, there is no TOTAL for SUGAR, even though sugar grams are calculated when you look at the individual nutrition breakdown for each fruit.

When I look at the nutritional info on one medium apple, the SP NUTRITIONAL INFO says there is a little over 13 grams of sugar in it, but I can't seem to track that on my TOTALS for the day. What am I missing?

This link talks about sugar and that we shouldn't get more than 10% of our calories from it in any given day. (About 50 gms in a 2000 calorie diet.)

Sugar is important. I personally believe it doesn't add anything healthy to our diet and we need to try hard to avoid it because it’s like ingesting slow acting poison. (Not that I’m always able to practice what I preach, but that’s my goal, lol.) I just want to know how to easily track the total on my nutrition report. I think it would be an eye opener, just like when you first began tracking calories and were so AMAZED at how much you were eating.

Anyone have the answer?

Do YOU track the amount of sugar you eat each day?

Karen, trying to be sugar-free.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • SILLYHP1953
    I'm trying to be sugar free, too. I read a book years ago called Sugar Blues and it really opened my eyes. The first "diet" I ever tried was the South Beach diet, and for the first two week you aren't allowed any fruit due to the high sugar content. You aren't allowed a lot of other things the first two weeks, either, and amazingly after 3-4 days I had NO MORE cravings!! It was a miraculous feeling. I never really wanted fruit that much before those two weeks, but afterwards it became one of my favorite foods, and still is. I even told my doctor to test me for diabetes because of how much sugar affects me, but I'm not diabetic.
    2295 days ago
    I totally agree and probably am even more adamant about sugar because I'm a nurse. The stuff is as evil as transfat and we need to keep it as low as possible unless it's coming from something healthy like veggies, dairy, or fruit. I monitor my carbs and realize they are sugar. Eventually it all converts to sugar even it it's complex.
    2295 days ago
    On SparkPeople you can track total carbohydrate and fiber. Subtract the fiber from the total carbohydrate to get "net carbs," which is essentially sugar. If you're counting carbs, net carbs is what you want to count.

    I, personally, try to keep my net carbs below 30 because I am diabetic. A lot of people find between 50 and 100 net carbs a day is the sweet spot. I also choose not to consume any added sugar six days per week -- meaning I make almost all my food, and I don't eat anything processed that includes sugar in the ingredients.
    2298 days ago
    What an interesting thought~I've never given it more than a passing thought except how much there is in milk. I hope somewhere we can find a calorie counter that totals our sugar input..
    2298 days ago
    Kren --
    I have not used this feature for sugar, but ...,
    you can track glucose, fructose, sucrose.

    Go to your Nutrition Tracker.
    Near the bottom right, click on "Chage Nutrition Goals".
    Clcik on "Add Another Nutrient to Track".
    That will take you to the "Add Nutrients" page, and, you can choose which sugars you wish to track.

    I haven't tried it, so I'm not sure if all of those sugars show up in the foods we enter or not.

    ~ Faith
    2298 days ago
    >This article explains why. I remember wondering the same thing when I was diagnosed with diabetes.
    2299 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/3/2011 6:04:56 PM
    Didn't know there is no tracker for sugar. That seems totally weird to me. Hope you get a good answer -- I'll be watching to see what others say.
    2299 days ago
  • SOUPY18
    Thank you for the information and the various links.
    2299 days ago
    Very interesting Karen. I don't track my sugar intake. I don't eat sweets at all, but I know there is sugar in some of the packaged foods I eat. Thanks to making me aware of this concept. I did read the thread you posted about this subject.
    2299 days ago
    I've been working at getting sugar completely out of my diet as well and I watch the labels on foods and if sugar (of any type) is anywhere near the top, I don't get it or use it anymore. As far as brown sugar like Chica_Boricua noted, it's my understanding that the brown sugars are nothing more than white sugar with a little molasses or something added to make them brown and "flavored" light or dark.

    The only sugar I have in any form is coconut sugar crystals, it's a lot lower on the glycemic index (so they say) I bought some "just because" I had to try it. I seldom use it at all though, just once in a great while.

    About the only fruits I eat anymore are berries and not many of those. I do put some in a protein smoothie on occasion.........

    I think we all get too much sugar in our diets, then we get this insatiable sweet tooth.. It's wonderful not dealing with that anymore........
    2299 days ago
    I emoticon "I Liked This Blog!"

    No, I, personally, do not Track my sugar, just because I know from the type of foods I am eating I am totally okay.
    HOWEVER, I feel that "Sugar Grams" should be Track-able by those that want to because "Sugar Grams" are listed on FDA "Nutritional Lists".

    I can hear the cheers from Diabetics everywhere ... :-)

    Thank you for Blog'ing about this.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2299 days ago
    I read Dr. David Kessler's "The End of Overeating" at the beginning of this year. It is an AMAZING book. Ever since then I simply STOPPED using sweetners of any kind (read: sugar, chemical sweetners, etc.), stopped buying prepared foods (unless the "sugar grams" is zero), and started getting my palate used to appreciate the sweetness of fruit.

    It took a bit to get used to it but now I "sweeten" my cereal with 1/8 cup of dried fruit, rarely use honey (the only sweetner I was actually using this year), and will have a Tbsp of low-sugar preserves as a treat once in a month or two.

    Fast forward to today, for the first time in the last 10 years I have normal blood sugar levels; they were always "just a bit too high." And, on the rare occasion when I buy fruit juice, I always have to cut it with water to cut out the sweetness.

    I wish SP helped me track sugar grams...but my natural approach to eating takes care of limiting the sugar I consume so, in the long run, it doesn't much matter.
    2299 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/3/2011 12:44:07 PM
  • DGAIL51
    Hmmmm.... thought provoking for certain. I do love fruit & make an effort to include fruits in my diet. I find they are especially good to substitute for nutrient empty sweets which I have a weakness for. I have to avoid citrus fruits b/c of heatburn, but I do find that I feel better when I have a yogurt and fruit smoothie for breakfast, more than anything else i have tried.

    Junk sugary foods are certainly to be avoided.... thanks for the reminders. I certainly need the old Gibbs slap up the back of the head now & then (NCIS fans know what I mean) LOL

    2299 days ago
    Really interesting! I hadn't thought about how the tracker registers sugar, since I only really look at the carbs and fiber regularly.

    I get a lot of flak for shunning fruits. First, they give me wicked heartburn, so I've avoided them for years anyway. And second, there's nothing you get from fruit that you can't get from veggies. Except less sugar.

    Modern fruits are not the same as their original counterparts. They've been hybridized and bred over centuries to be sweeter and sweeter and have less fiber in them. If you've ever picked and eaten a wild strawberry you'll understand the difference immediately!
    2299 days ago
    There are so many kinds of sugar, which are tracked as carbs right along with fiber. It would be impossible to be completely accurate. Every apple is different, every stalk of broccoli or potato. Diabetics track either "carbs" or "carb exchanges". Then there is the concept of "glycemic index", which tries to indicate the rapidity of metabolization of the carb: rice is higher than fruit which is higher than vegetables. You can drive yourself crazy with it. This is why I like exchanges. I eat 6 a day when I have to knock back a little, or 7-8 when I am happily maintaining. I don't care if it's potato or pasta or winter squash or peas. I get 2-3 fruits a day (weighed because 1 fruit is only 4 oz of apple: try to find a 4 oz apple!) and unlimited non-bread veggies. I know that if I stick to the exchange lists it all works out well in the end. Of course, there's no room for packaged or snack food, and precious little for desserts, but that's ok. I think too many people think that if something's "healthy" that you can eat as much as you want, but, alas, it isn't true for weight controllers.
    2299 days ago
  • GABY1948
    This was an outstanding blog! Absolutely outstanding and it gave me lots to think about...I also would like to track sugars in my diet. Though I try to stay away from KNOWN sugar and sugar foods. Ever since beginning spark, my interest in foods and nutrition has taken a new level. I would really love to be a dietician but at 63 I guess I won't go back to school now.

    Thanks for such a great thought provoking blog. I will be watching your blogs for sure for more on this and if I find something I will send it along! emoticon
    2299 days ago
    talking about sugar, have you tried light brown sugar or dark brown sugar, I stopped buying regular sugar and the flavor in food specially in oatmeals is incredible and in coffee as well. Also I stopped using Splenda.
    2299 days ago
    I don't track my sugar intake. But I do monitor what I eat and what I want. For example, if I want something sweet, I will eat something sweet but I will make sure it's healthy. I think it would be good to track sugar intake, but then again, if I stick to my daily necessary food amounts of protein, fat and carbs then I will be fine.

    I pray this was helpful. May U have continued success!
    2299 days ago
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