10 Myths About Sugar

Added Sugar Is Bad for You
If adding a little sugar to your unsweetened yogurt and fruit makes you more likely to eat it, go for it. matthewennisphotography/iStock/Thinkstock

In 2014, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends Americans slash their sugar consumption from the average 20 teaspoons (80 grams) a day to six (24 grams) for women and nine (36 grams) for men. And the group notes, added sugars are particularly worrisome. Added sugars are sugars or syrups that are tossed into our food and drink during processing or preparation. They can be natural (e.g., honey) or chemically manufactured (e.g., high fructose corn syrup). They're troubling because they don't provide any nutrients -- just excessive calories. And they're in more products than you might think – in ketchup, instant oatmeal and spaghetti sauce, for starters.

Yet you don't have to nix all added sugar from your diet. Sugar may not have any nutritional value, but it can enhance the flavor of foods that do provide important nutrients, such as whole-grain cereal or yogurt. So if sprinkling some sugar over a cup of healthy, plain yogurt is the only way you'll eat the yogurt, it's worth it to add the sweetness. Luckily, in most instances all you need is a small amount of sugar to achieve a satisfactory taste [sources: AHA]. That's why it's better to buy the no-added-sugar version of the product and add a little sugar than to buy the "regular" or fully sweetened version.