Carbs, sugars, what’s the deal anyway?!

Okay so this is a question I get A LOT regarding sugar content in foods with regards to USANA’s Nutrimeal shakes with a nutritional label stating, “17g of sugar,” which freaks people out!

Nutrimeal has both fructose and maltodextrin, both sugars.

Allow for some knowledge that can serve you from this statement: “Oh NO WAY, my diabetic body will go into complete freak out mode with ALL THAT sugar” to, “Wow, really? I had NO IDEA, let me show my doctor this information and see if the RESET actually is for me!”

Here’s the REAL education and freedom…….

It is not the number of sugars that matter, but the total amount of carbohydrates and sugar that is the issue.

To put it into perspective, the carbohydrate and sugar content of the Nutrimeal is similar to one typical apple.  Not including the fiber (8 grams), there is only about 24 grams of total carbohdyrate that includes 17 grams of sugar. Again, this is similar to one apple, 1/2 of a large banana, one slice of wholewheat bread, or 1/2 cup of grape juice. And, considering the Nutrimeal is replacing an entire meal, the sugar and carbohydrate content is actually quite small, not large.

Considering a typical 2,000 calorie diet, somewhere between 40-60% of the calories should be from carbohydrates.  That translates to 800-1,200 calories (or 200-300 grams of carbohydrates).  So, a Nutrimeal contains only 8-12% of a recommended carbohydrate intake, yet as a meal is one-third of a days intake.

Regardless of the content of the filling, one sandwich contains much more carbohydrate than an entire Nutrimeal serving. The Nutrimeal also contains 15 grams of complete protein, 8 grams of fiber, and a vitamin/mineral mix that includes between 250 and 500 mg of calcium
(depending on the flavor).

People are either been given poor nutritional advice, or simply don’t understand the context and relative dosages of carbohydrates. The maltodextrin ingredients provides only around 1 gram of sugar or less to the total in the drink.

Click the link below or copy & paste in a new page for the USANA Nutrimeal picture and info!

And the answer to another popular question….”What is the GI Index?”

And a little “insert” here—carbohydrates are in everything we eat. The media will have you believing that bread and its counterparts are evil!


It’s just the ones you pick that can be not so advantageous.  😉

The glycemic index (GI) is a way of measuring the rate at which carbohydrates are broken down and appear in the blood as simple sugars. In general, the more refined and processed the food, the faster the food is broken down and the higher the GI.

KEEP READING GUYS, it’s not “that” boring!

High GI foods act rapidly to influence blood sugar, providing quick energy. However, this energy is usually short lived and hunger soon returns, potentially leading to overeating and weight gain.

Low GI foods effect blood sugar more slowly and steadily. These foods provide greater satiety and longer lasting, more consistent energy, making eating less (and maintaining weight) easier.

It is understandable that there is much confusion about fructose, especially with all the information being circulated about high-fructose corn syrup, raw fructose, corn-syrup solids, etc. And, while it is true that excessive amounts of any of these would not be healthy (as is the case with pretty much everything), moderate intakes of these ingredients within the context of a healthy diet are simply not dangerous or unhealthy.

Fructose is nothing more than a simple sugar found primarily in fruits and vegetables. One advantage of using fructose is that it has a very low glycemic index compared to glucose and some other sugars, while still being quite sweet (thus allowing for lower dosages without a penalty to taste). Yes, it is metabolized slightly different from glucose, but it does not automatically turn to fat or cause negative effects on blood lipids despite what some websites may suggest. Much of fructose’s metabolism depends on the dosages used and the activity level and caloric requirements of the individual.

As with any excess calories – whether from protein, fat, or carbohydrates – fructose can contribute to weight gain. But again, the key is dosage. If fructose alone were responsible for causing weight gain, most vegetarians would tend to be heavier than they are since vegetarians’ fruit intakes are generally quite high. The amount of fructose contained in the Nutrimeals is fairly similar to several commonly eaten fruits, as the following table shows:


This table presents information on the sugar content of 21 common fruits and fruit juices. Values are for normal serving sizes, and they represent blended averages across multiple cultivars and samples of their respective food. Individual values are presented for the three major sugars found in fruits (glucose, fructose, and sucrose). In addition, values for total sugars (which may include other minor sugars, such as mannitol and sorbitol) are given. The data presented were taken from a United States Department of Agriculture publication titled Sugar Content of Selected Foods (1987).

Fruit or Fruit Juice Serving Size Grams per Serving
Glucose Fructose Sucrose Total Sugars
Apples 1 apple 3.2 10.5 4.6 18.4
Apple cider 8 fl oz 6.2 13.9 4.2 27.0
Bananas 1 banana 4.8 3.1 7.4 17.8
Blackberries 1 cup 4.5 5.9 0.6 11.4
Blueberries 1 cup 5.1 5.2 0.3 10.6
Cantaloupe 1/2 melon 3.2 4.8 14.4 23.2
Figs, dried 10 figs 53.5 48.6 12.2 124.4
Grapes 20 grapes 3.2 3.4 0.6 7.8
Grape Juice 8 fl oz 9.0 11.0 (15.5) 35.5
Mangos 1 mango 1.5 6.0 20.5 30.6
Nectarines 1 nectarine 1.6 1.5 8.4 11.6
Oranges 1 orange 2.9 3.3 5.5 11.7
Orange Juice 8 fl oz 6.9 7.4 10.2 25.3
Papaya 1 papaya 4.3 8.2 5.5 17.9
Peaches 1 peach 1.0 1.1 4.9 7.6
Pears 1 pear 3.2 10.6 3.0 17.4
Pineapple 1 cup diced 4.5 3.3 4.8 18.4
Prunes, dried 5 prunes 14.1 7.3 0.2 21.6
Raspberries 1 cup 4.3 3.9 3.4 11.7
Strawberries 1 cup 3.3 3.7 1.5 8.6
Watermelon 1/16 melon 7.7 15.9 17.4 43.4

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation easily available on the internet and many people accidentally recycle that information without fully understanding what it claims. Sometimes the information may even be partially valid, but inappropriately taken out of context and used to draw incorrect conclusions.

Either way, the bottom line is that good health requires variety, balance, and moderation. We do not advocate eating only fructose as a sweetener, but it does have a place – in appropriate amounts – in healthy products.

In other words: there is a difference between getting fructose as a sweetener in a soda or some other nutrient-poor food, or getting it as part of a balanced diet.