Sugar is a common source of energy. Sugar naturally occurs in many food sources such as starchy vegetables, fruits, and other carbohydrate-containing food (e.g. rice, cereals, whole grains, bread).

Health Functions
Sugars are components of carbohydrates and an important source of fuel. There are several types of natural sugars: fructose (found in honey and fruits), glucose (fruits, vegetables, honey), galactose (dairy products), maltose (barley), lactose (milk), sucrose (plants), and xylose (straw, wood). Lactose is made from glucose and galactose while sucrose is made up of glucose and sucrose. Sugars are typically used to improve the flavor of food. It can also be used as a natural preservative and helps improve the texture of food.

Disease Risk Reduction
A healthy diet requires moderate intake of sugar. A very low consumption of sugar can cause low energy and nutrient deficiencies since sugar is mostly consumed in combination with other nutrients. On the other hand, too much sugar intake can increase blood sugar levels and cause weight gain. Excess sugar can also increase the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Groups at Risk
People who have high blood glucose levels may be diagnosed with diabetes. Others who have genetic susceptibility to diabetes may develop high blood sugar levels. People with unhealthy eating and lifestyle choices are also at high risk for increased sugar levels.

Intake Recommendations
The recommended intake for sugars (carbohydrates) is 45-65% of your total calories. For example, if a person who has a 2,000 caloric intake per day chooses 55% as their sugar intake, he/she will need approximately 275 grams of sugars/carbohydrates.

7D VARIETY Recommendations
Dates contain high amounts of natural sugars. A single date contains approximately five grams of sugar. Just like any other fruit, eating it in large amounts can increase blood sugar levels. However, if eaten in moderation, dates will less likely affect blood sugar. Dates have a glycemic index between 45 to 57 which is considered low according to International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values (American Diabetes Association). 7D VARIETY recommends you to add Energy Dates as a component of your meal because its low glycemic index and high fiber content slows down digestion, thus facilitating the slow release of energy. This ensures that you have enough strength to perform well throughout the day. Based on the recommendation of fruit serving per day by the USDA, it is generally safe to consume 3/4 cup to 1 cup of dates per day. Since Energy Dates contain natural sugars, it is a healthier alternative to refined white sugar.