Sweet Confusion

Yesterday was the release of the Unicorn Frapp from Starbucks. And, yes I added to the hype by posting about it – even though I wasn’t exactly encouraging you to drink it.



Yes, this drink is meant to be a “pretty thing”, not necessarily the most delicious treat. More on that here – Washington Post on UniFrapp.


As I mentioned yesterday, this drink has SO MUCH SUGAR! Way more than we’re even supposed to have in a day. And this has been pointed out by MANY different sources…but I’ve noticed that so many of those sources are a bit confused when it comes to the topic of SUGAR!


So, let’s try to clear this up….


First, I’m not blaming anyone for being confused about ANY nutrition info. There’s A LOT out there, and the sugar piece can be tricky.


The amount of ADDED SUGAR you “can” have in a day is 25 grams. ADDED SUGAR is any sugar that is not naturally occurring in food – like the “frosted” on the flakes!

But sugar is only ADDED to things that are SWEET, right?


NOPE! This is where it gets tricky…and FRUSTRATING! Sugar is added to pretty much ALL packaged foods – whether they are SWEET, SAVORY, SALTY, or SPICEY, there’s probably sugar (in some form) added.


The other SUGAR to know is NATURAL SUGAR – these are the ones that are in foods naturally. We hear a lot about high vs. low sugar fruits – we’re talking about natural sugars in fruits called fructose. There’s also natural sugar in dairy called lactose.

So, not ALL of that sugar in the Uni Frappe is ADDED, some of it is NATURAL from the milk.


So, what started as me pointing out that the Uni Frapp is loaded with sugar, led me down the rabbit hole of sugar info. Lucky for you, I’ve found two pretty easy to understand sources that can help us all get a handle on where ADDED SUGAR is “hiding”.


First, a source that shows you how easy it can be to get way too much ADDED SUGAR – here.


Some info on different ways ADDED SUGAR might be listed on food labels – here.

There is some good news to go with all of this NATURAL vs. ADDED sugar talk! The FDA agrees that this can be confusing, so they are requiring that food labels show how much added sugar there is per serving. This change will happen in 2018.


Bottom line here – be aware, not obsessed!


Yes, natural is better, so generally speaking we don’t need to stress too much about the natural sugars in foods (fruit and dairy).

As for ADDED SUGAR – know where it is in the foods you eat regularly. Make a decision if there’s a reasonable amount of added sugar, or if you want to find an alternative that has less added sugars.


For the Uni Frapp and other TREATS – ENJOY them if you want them. Just make sure they are TREATS and don’t become part of your daily intake. Remember that we don’t want to FEEL DEPRIVED, so choose the treat, savor it, and move on without guilt!

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