Avoid added sugars as much as you can!

September 19th, 2022

Can you entirely avoid sugars? The short answer is NO. Should you avoid all sugars? Definitely NO But…you should .

Sugars occur naturally in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and dairy products and most of them are healthy for you since they contain fiber, vitamins and minerals your body needs in order to stay healthy, strong and fight many diseases. However, the added sugars, manufacturers add in almost everything you can find on the shelf of a grocery store, are unhealthy and can contribute to weight gain, tooth decay, and a whole array of inflammatory diseases like diabetes and heart disease. There is a lot of naturally occurring sugar in some fruits and some sugar in vegetables (one should consume fruits with high sugar content in moderation if watching their weight, regardless of their other benefits). Some common vegetables with higher sugar content are sweet potatoes, beets, onions, green peas, and sweet corn. Some vegetables with low and very low sugar content are mushrooms, spinach, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, kale, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, arugula, radishes and asparagus.

Fruits are also healthy for you; they contain antioxidants that counteract free radicals and fight diseases. But some fruits contain a significant amount of sugar. Some examples are mangoes. One mango contains 46 grams of sugar (11 teaspoons of granulated sugar). A cup of grapes has 23 grams of sugar (5 teaspoons), a cup of cherries has 18 grams of sugar (4 teaspoons). Eat them in moderation. Some fruits like lemons, strawberries, blackberries, kiwis, watermelon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, peaches have lower sugar content. Enjoy them as you like. Avocado is my favorite fruit (yes, avocado is a fruit). Is very low in sugar (one gram in one fruit) and has a lot of very beneficial fats, that will keep you satiated.

Added sugar comes under many names. Do yourself a favor and check the food label for added sugar like: cane sugar, raw sugar, high fructose corn syrup (the most detrimental), agave nectar, brown sugar, evaporated cane juice, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, honey, syrup and more. Very important to keep in mind that the quantity of total sugar or added sugar is listed per serving, not for the entire bag or container. Be aware of dried fruits!  For example, a bag of 2.5 lb. of Organic dried mango, unsweetened, has 28 servings (1/2 cup) and each serving contains 24 g of sugar. That means the bag holds 672 g of sugar or 134 teaspoons of sugar.

Pay special attention to sodas. A 20 once bottle contains 70 grams of sugar and that’s 14 teaspoons of sugar of empty calories, no nutritional benefits once so ever. Plus reduces the PH that demineralizes teeth!

In one cup of milk there is 17 grams of naturally occurring sugar but in a cup of chocolate milk there is 23 grams or more due to added sugars.

Plain yogurt might be beneficial to you if you choose the right one, with probiotics and no sugar added; has about 12 grams of naturally occurring sugar(lactose) per 6 oz container. Flavored yogurt has 24 grams of sugar per container. They also might contain nasty additives and harmful sweeteners.

Alcohol contains sugar too. If you like sweet wine, you can get 24 grams of sugar in one glass. Thanksgiving is coming! Be aware there are 22 plus grams of sugar in a cup of eggnog.

Bottom line, read food labels carefully and pay increased attention to total sugar content and added sugar content. You can make better choices if you are aware of how much sugar a serving contains. Choices that will serve you well in maintaining a healthy weight, a healthy heart, staying diabetes free, cavities free and avoid aggravating your whole-body health.


Sugar is used by bacteria in the mouth as fuel and create acid that is damaging to tooth enamel!


Yours in good dental health,


Dr Horia T. Ionescu