Why Quit Sugar?

Sugar is in all three macronutrients and before sugar enters the bloodstream from the digestive tract, it is broken down into two simple sugars:  glucose and fructose. Regular table sugar (refined sugar) is sucrose, which is made up of glucose and fructose.


The basic message is glucose=healthy, fructose=unhealthy.


  • Glucose is found in every living cell on the planet. If we don’t get it from the diet, our bodies produce it.
  • Fructose is different. Our bodies do not produce it in any significant amount and there is no physiological need for it.
Fructose is almost exclusively metabolized by our liver (while glucose can be metabolized through every cell in our body).



Fructose promotes fat storage in and around the liver in the form of triglycerides. This can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and insulin resistance.  Our brain doesn’t have the same “off switch” for fructose as it does with glucose. Fructose is also highly addictive and twice as sweet as glucose.



  • Sucrose is also known as white table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar and rapadura sugar. It contains 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose.
  • Agave is a sugar substitute made from the same Mexican succulent that tequila is made from. It contains roughly 90 percent fructose – higher than sucrose! Look out for it in “health” bars and chocolate.
  • Coconut sugar/nectar/syrup: You’ll often find one of these variations of coconut sugar in many health food products. Unfortunately, it contains anywhere between 38 percent to 48.5 percent fructose, which is almost the same amount found in sucrose
  • Honey: Whether it’s raw or organic doesn’t matter when it comes to fructose content. Honey contains 40 percent fructose. It does have some health benefits but still contains up to 40 percent fructose.
  • Maple syrup is often used as a healthier sugar alternative. It does have some health benefits but still contains up to 40 percent fructose.
  • Dates are often used to sweeten “sugar-free” recipes, but they contain roughly 30% fructose. Keep in mind they often need to be used in large quantities to get the same sweetness.
  • Rice malt syrup is made from fermented cooked rice. It’s a blend of complex carbohydrates, maltose and glucose. It’s 100 percent fructose free.
  • Stevia is a plant-based sweetener. It’s completely fructose free and 300 times sweeter than sugar. It’s great in recipes where you want to add a little sweetness, but avoid using it in large quantities as it can have a bitter aftertaste.
List of High Fructose Fruits*
Fruits and Fruit Juices Highest in Fructose:
Raisins, seedless – 1 cup, packed – 48.97g
Figs, dried – 1 cup – 34.17g
Dates, – 1 cup, chopped – 28.75g
Prunes (dried plums) – 1 cup, pitted – 21.66
Peaches, dried – 1 cup, halves – 21.58g
Grape Juice, unsweetened – 1 cup – 18.62g
Apricots, dried – 1 cup, halves – 16.21g
Pomegranate juice – 1 cup – 15.86g
Grapes, red or green – 1 cup – 12.28g
Bananas – 1 cup, mashed – 10.91g
Cranberries, dried, sweetened – 0.25 cup – 10.78g
Pineapple juice, unsweetened – 1 cup – 9.52g
Persimmons – 1 fruit (2-1/2″ diameter) – 9.34g
Pears – 1 cup slices – 8.99g
Kiwi – 1 cup, sliced – 7.83g
Mangos – 1 cup pieces – 7.72g
Cherries – 1 cup, with pits – 7.41g
Apples, with skin – 1 cup – 7.38g (6.63g without)
Blueberries – 1 cup – 7.36g
Grapefruit juice – 1 cup – 7.16g
Orange Juice – 1 cup – 5.55g
List of Low Fructose Fruits*
Fresh Fruits and Fruit Juices Lowest in Fructose:
Papayas – 1 cup 1″ pieces – 5.41g
Watermelon – 1 cup, balls – 5.17g
Plums – 1 cup sliced – 5.07g
Honeydew – 1 cup – 5.03g
Tangerines (mandarin oranges) – 1 cup – 4.68g
Grapefruit – 1 cup – 4.07g
Currants – 1 cup – 3.95g
Oranges, navel – 1 cup – 3.71g
Strawberries – 1 cup, halves – 3.71g
Pineapple – 1 cup chunks – 3.50g
Blackberries – 1 cup – 3.46g
Cantaloupe – 1 cup – 3.31g
Raspberries – 1 cup – 2.89g
Lemon juice – 1 cup – 2.68g
Peaches – 1 cup slices – 2.36g
Nectarines – 1 cup slices – 1.96g
Lime juice – 1 cup – 1.48g
Apricots – 1 cup halves – 1.46g
Clementines – 1 fruit – 1.21g
Plantains, green, fried – 1 cup – 0.78g
Cranberries – 1 cup chopped – 0.74g
Avocados – 1 cup – 0.18g
*All measures are for one serving.


Additional Resources:
Sugar: The Bitter Truth (the full documentary)
Sugar: The Bitter Truth (condensed lectures)



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