It kind of amazes me that some people get so freaked out by a tiny teaspoon of sugar. Fifteen calories have never gotten such a bad rap. In the rush to place blame for the so-called obesity epidemic, this basic carbohydrate that everybody needs for fuel has become a scapegoat.

Nobody has ever gained weight because they put a teaspoon of sugar in their two cups of coffee every morning. And despite what the Food Police will have you believe, there is no reliable science that indicates that sugar causes obesity or has some extra-caloric superpower that causes people to gain weight.

But some people still don’t get that it’s a simple formula of “calories in, calories out,” and if you eat more calories than you need for the energy you will gain weight, and those calories can be in the form of carbohydrates, protein, fat or a combination of all three. A person can eat the “healthiest” foods imaginable, but if they eat more than they need they will gain weight. And for the record, one gram of sugar provides 4 calories, one gram of protein and one gram of fat provides 9 calories each.

The one gram of sugar provides the same 4 calories any other form of carbohydrate provides. The difference between sugar and the other calories is that sugar is immediately converted into fuel that the body uses right away. If you are active eating carbs and sugars are a necessary part of your diet. And if you exercise carbs and sugars are a vital part of your fueling and recovery regimens.

If you enjoy sugar, use sugar. Natural sugar. I’m of the belief that it’s better to use natural sugar – or use nothing – than to use an artificial or chemically altered substance. And some believe that the taste of real sugar can help to control hunger, and as a result, help people to manage their weight.


  1. get your facts straight
    1g carb 4 cal
    1g prot 4 cal
    1g fat 9 cal
    1g alc 6 cal
    these are estimates, but 1g of prot does not equal 9 cal of energy

  2. It’s not about a teaspoon here and there in coffee and such – it’s about the amount of sugar-based carbs in everyday food, and the fact that a lot of us – especially busy office workers like myself – don’t have active lifestyles.
    It’s one thing to have a carb-and-sugar-laden breakfast if you have a physically demanding job to do every day, but if you just sit on your butt and type away like I do, it’s damaging. If you intake a breakfast that involves large amounts of sugar, dumping all of that into your bloodstream, and don’t actually use the glocose you’re consuming… your body has to dump a bunch of insulin into your system to compensate. Causing a sugar crash. Causing a craving for more sugary foods to replenish energy. Causing another insulin spike.
    It’s high-sugar, low-activity diets that are the problem. I’m Type 2 diabetic – the only way I’ve been able to control my sugar levels is by basically cutting out carbohydrates, because I’ve damaged my cells so badly from my too-carb-laden diet – I can’t process the sugar properly anymore. A meal with more than five tsp of sugar in it will spike my blood sugar to a ridiculous level, so I have to cut back and hope that my more active lifestyle and higher-protein, lower-carb diet will help my metabolism heal.
    I don’t think it’s so much that SUGAR IS EBIL – it’s that we’re not very smart about how we *portion* our sugar.
    You’re also not acknowledging the amount of pre-existing sugar in the processed foods, and the fact that people are more likely to dump one or two TABLEspoons of sugar on top of that bowl of corn flakes rather than one or two teaspoons. A teaspoon isn’t a lot.


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