Daily limit for a green badge: 40 grams (25 grams for Lark Diabetes)
Meal limit for a green badge: 13 grams (8 grams for Lark Diabetes)
Why your Lark Coach suggests limiting added sugar
Sugars are types of carbohydrates. They supply 4 calories per gram. That means, like any type of calorie-containing nutrient, consuming too much can lead to weight gain. It is easy to eat too much sugar not only because it tastes so good (to most people), but because it is often in calorie-dense foods, or foods that have a lot of calories in a small serving (for example, a cup of chocolate candies has 600 calories, while a cup of plain oatmeal has 150 calories).
The research agrees, as studies link sugar consumption to obesity, as well as other conditions. High sugar consumption raises levels of triglycerides in the blood and may be a risk factor for heart disease. In fact, adults who are not obese but who eat excess sugar may be at higher risk for heart problems.
Sugar has another characteristic that can lead to health problems. Since it is a simple carbohydrate, your body can break it down and absorb it quickly. This leads to spikes in blood sugar and an exaggerated insulin response. Too much of this for too long increases risk for prediabetes and diabetes.
This is a list of some increased risks linked to sugar consumption.
On top of everything else, there just isn't much that is good about added sugars. Sugar is not an essential nutrient, and it does not come with any vitamins or minerals. Eliminating added sugars entirely would not lead to any nutrient deficiencies.
Added versus natural sugars
The negative effects of sugar, and Lark's coaching to limit sugars, are in reference to what are called "added sugars." Added sugars are sugars that are added to foods. They can be derived by isolating them from beet, sugar cane, or corn, and other possibilities include honey, molasses, and syrup. These and other forms of sugar can sweeten foods and have other properties, such as adding volume and weight.
Natural sugars are found in whole foods. The sugar itself acts the same in your body as added sugars, but, unlike added sugars, natural sugars tend to be in nutrient-dense foods. For example, fruit is a source of natural sugar, especially a type called fructose, but it also contains antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and is linked to health benefits.
Top Sources of Sugar in Americans’ Diets*
Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks and sports drinks.
Snacks and sweets, such as cake, cookies, brownies, doughnuts, ice cream, frozen yogurt, custard, candy, syrups, jam, pies, cinnamon rolls
Grains, such as sugar-sweetened cereal, granola bars, bread, pancakes, oatmeal.
Mixed dishes, such as spaghetti with tomato sauce, sweet and sour chicken
Condiments, spreads, salad dressings, such as peanut butter, barbecue sauce, sweet and sour sauce, hoisin sauce
*Source: US Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020
Where added sugars may be lurking
There are many different names for and types of sugar. Added sugars may be in some surprising places. These are some words and products to check.
Sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup
Molasses, honey, turbinado sugar, sugar in the raw
Lark helps you eat better, move more, stress less, and improve your overall wellness. Lark’s digital coach is available 24/7 on your smartphone to give you personalized tips, recommendations, and motivation to lose weight and prevent chronic conditions like diabetes.