Sometimes, even when we know what our body really needs, a quick sugar fix can be super tempting. Many of the snacks on the "health" and "fitness" aisle of your local Target, while often packed with protein and other nutrients, can also come to you full of hidden, processed sucrose. That's why it's still so important to check labels. Better yet, it's a good idea to get real about the fact that not all sugars are made the same, and sometimes it's OK to add a little sweetness to your pre-workout snack or post-workout snack attack.

What's the Difference Between Processed Sugar and Other Sugars?

Processed or "refined" sugar is always an additive, whereas unprocessed sugars are not. This is super clear and simple when your choice is between a snickers bar and an apple. Lactose, glucose, and fructose are all naturally occurring sugars. Even vegetables have glucose in them, which is a naturally occurring sugar, which our bodies are adept at breaking down. Our body has a more difficult time with refined sugars, which can lead to dreaded sugar crashes and feeling like we didn't get enough to eat half an hour after dinner. So, throw a spoonful of honey or some tangerines in the blender the next time you want to sweet your smoothie. A little sweetness isn't all bad, especially when it's all natural.

Tags: processed sugar, healthy diet