Photo by Katherine Tallmadge
One of my favorite meals: Peanut butter and jam on a toasted english muffin
One of my favorite meals: Peanut butter and jam on a toasted english muffin

(Photo by: Edvard Munch ( "The Scream"

I think most of us agree that extremism is, well, extreme! For most of you, extremism in politics or religion may first come to mind. But zealotry takes many forms and can hurt you in even worse, and more personal, ways when it comes to your health.

In the nutrition and food world, fanatics are far and wide, pronouncing this or that food as the death of us all, and others as saviors. Today, sugar is the demon. People exhaust themselves looking obsessively for grams of sugar on labels or on the internet.

I see too often, a look of shame when someone sheepishly "confesses" to eating a piece of chocolate or candy, a slice of birthday cake, ketchup, "too much" fruit, an ice cream cone when out with their kids, a latté, orange juice at breakfast, fruited yogurt, and more.

Fruited Yogurt with More Fruit on Top (Photo by: Fruited Yogurt with More Fruit on Top

I mean, really, could bananas or fruited yogurt be the cause of the world's obesity epidemic? Or, more importantly, the cause of your weight problem?

Obviously, I jest. But many people are so misguided that they avoid essential sugar-containing foods. My heart goes out to them!

Fruits and Fruit Juices (Photo by: Fruits and Fruit Juices

When health officials warn against too much sugar in the American diet, they're not referring to fruit, 4 or 6 ounces of fruit juice daily, or yogurt - even if there is a tablespoon of jam on the bottom. They're not referring to the occasional treat.

There is no scientific evidence that sugar in moderation, when included in an overall healthful diet, is harmful, except maybe if you don't brush your teeth!