One of the most frequent questions I receive from my clients is whether they should include sugary foods in their diet. People are often told that if they eat too much sugar it will be stored as fat. This is true but only to a certain degree. My answer may surprise, but I like to approach the “sugar” question with a yes AND a no. Sugar, otherwise known as glucose, is essential for proper brain and body function and is the body’s preferred source for fuel. You should by no means avoid sugar altogether for these reasons. Now, our bodies have a determined threshold for how many sugars can be functionally processed (used with bodily purpose) before they are stored as fat. This threshold is determined based on genetics and activity levels. When sugar intake is below this threshold, the sugars get stored as glycogen. Glycogen is what keeps us from having to eat every 10 to 15 minutes. It stores the sugar within cells for later use. It is when your sugar intake exceeds your threshold and exacerbates the liver that sugar is stored as fat. How do you keep the sugar below your threshold? It’s simple. Not all sugars are created equal. You have two types of sugar (Good & Bad). The good sugars are unprocessed and come with fiber. Fiber is the determining factor that slows the absorption of sugar into the blood and keeps blood sugar from spiking. When blood sugar spikes (like it does with bad sugars) insulin is released which is the catalyst for storing sugar as fat. Fruits are an amazing example of good sugars since they naturally come with fiber. When checking nutrition labels, pay close attention to the fiber and sugar! Always make sure the fiber is AT LEAST 4 grams, and it must outweigh the amount of sugar in order to be beneficial.