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How to identify sugar in food

Most people will think of white granulated sugar when they hear the word "sugar". But the term also includes various types of sugar that are naturally present in many foods. Some examples include lactose in milk or sugar in fruit or grain products. As such, if sugar is listed in the nutritional value table, this does not mean that sugar has been added to the product.

Identifying sugar in the list of ingredients

The list of ingredients will show whether a product contains added sugar. In addition to the words "sugar", "cane sugar", "raw cane sugar", "glucose" and "syrup", you can identify sugar in suffixes such as "-ose". Examples of this include:
  • Glucose
  • Glucose syrup
  • Fructose syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Lactose
  • Dextrose
  • Maltose
  • Fructose
The ingredients in a product are listed in descending order of quantity. So the main ingredient is always the first in the list. If sugar appears near the start of the list, the product will generally have a high sugar content. You can find the total sugar content of the product in the nutritional value table. Here, you can see at a glance how much sugar there is in total per 100 grams. The "of which sugars" information includes both added and natural sugars.