Added Sugars

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Added Sugars

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Sugars are a type of carbohydrate that occurs naturally or that is added to a food.

Foods such as milk and fruits have naturally occurring sugars. The sugar in fruit is called fructose. The sugar in milk and yogurt is called lactose.

Added sugars are those that do not occur naturally in a food but are added during processing or preparation. Lots of foods have added sugar, such as regular soft drinks, cakes, cookies, pies, fruit drinks, ice cream, and candy. Consuming too many of these foods may cause weight gain or prevent you from eating more nutritious foods.

Added sugars can be found in less obvious foods too. Bread, yogurt, baked beans, ketchup, and salad dressing can have a lot of added sugar. Also, foods that have reduced sodium (salt) and/or fat often have more sugar, which is used to boost the flavour.

The best way to know the amount of added sugar is to look at the ingredients list. Ingredient lists are ordered by weight, so if you see sugar or another name for sugar listed early in the ingredients list, that food has more sugar in it compared to the ingredients that follow it.

The nutrition facts on food labels list the total amount of sugar in the food, not just the added sugar. But it is still a good way to know how much sugar you are eating.

Because added sugars are not always called "sugar," it can be hard to identify them in foods. Look for these words in the ingredients:

  • Brown sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Syrup
  • Table sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Sucrose

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Last Revised March 29, 2011

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