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Six Things Employees Should Know About Sugar

Updated: Dec 10, 2022

Is Smart Start a "smart start"?

Very little is settled in nutrition science. Sugar is one of them. Added sugar – even naturally occurring sugar – should be limited in most people’s diets, because it raises risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Quizzify can complement your health risk assessment and take sugar-avoidance advice to the next level.

For instance, while it is great that HRAs almost invariably advise employees to “eat a healthy breakfast” or “avoid added sugar,” that information by itself needs some elaboration to help employees learn how to accomplish that goal.

Here are six things employees need to know about sugar that pick up where wellness leaves off. It is important that employees learn how to put HRA advice into action -- but occasionally when to ignore the advice altogether. And when you yourselves, as employers, may inadvertently be contributing sugar to their diet.


1. A “healthy breakfast” should not include many cereals marketed as healthy

An HRA advises (and often gives you “points” for) claiming that you “eat a healthy breakfast.” But what does that mean? It turns out that even some of the most popular "healthy" cereals are full of added sugars. Kellogg’s Smart Start with Antioxidants, sounds very healthy and is clearly targeting the “eat a healthy breakfast” segment of the market.

Unfortunately, it is also on Eat This Not That!’s list of 20 Worst 'Good-for-You' Cereals.


2. Nonfat or low-fat items are often high in sugar

This HRA recommends “low-fat or nonfat yogurt.” Such yogurts are often high in sugar. Further, to continue with this HRA’s “make healthier choices” recommendation, it is completely unclear whether lowfat or nonfat dairy is better than whole fat dairy in general. Much recent research says the opposite of what HRAs say.


3. “Avoid added sugar” is by itself unhelpful advice

Virtually every HRA advises employees to “avoid added sugar.” Would that it were that easy! This HRA makes it even harder by limiting their avoid-added-sugar advice to “drinks,” when in fact solid processed foods are huge contributors to overconsumption of sugar. And whereas in beverages it is easy to spot the sugars, processed food companies use several tricks to complicate the process of spotting added sugars in solid foods.

To begin with, there are at least 56 types of sugar. Some sound like health foods – agave syrup, turbinado, malted barley extract. O