Naturally Occurring vs. Added Sugar - What is What?

There's a lot, A LOT, of hype around the amount of sugar in our diets at the moment, and rightfully so.  About time, I say.  Following the screening of Jamie Oliver's Sugar Rush on Channel 4 (if you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend you do), people seem to have more of a clue about the damage sugar is doing to our health and wellbeing.  I wouldn’t blame you, however, if you were still a little fuzzy on the facts.  The World Health Organisation recommended daily allowance for added sugar is 6tsp (1tsp = 4g) for an adult and less for children.  Yes, those 4 chocolate Hobnobs you had at 4pm have just about tipped the scales.  But the glass of fruit juice you had at breakfast was fine and didn’t count, right?  Not really, sorry.  When the term ‘added sugar’ is used, it doesn’t just mean the caster sugar we’ve all grown up with.  It means any sugar that has been removed from its natural state, i.e. fruit juice.  Still confused?  Hopefully the below will help straighten things out for you.

ADDED/FREE SUGAR – COUNTS TOWARDS YOUR RDA

These are some of the more commonly used added sugars and names that you will see on food labels.  There are now over 60 different names for added sugars and I’m sure that list will continue to grow once more laboratory loopholes are discovered.  NB: Even if it’s organic, it still counts.

Agave nectar
Brown rice syrup
Cane juice
Cane sugar (caster, granulated, demerara, brown, white, golden, muscovado)
Caramel
Coconut palm sugar
Coconut sugar
Corn sugar
Date sugar
Dextran
Dextrose
Fructose
Glucose
High-fructose glucose syrup
Honey
Invert sugar
Maltodextrin
Maltose
Maple syrup
Molasses
Palm sugar
Sourghum
Sucrose
Treacle

A quick way to tell whether the *gobbledygook on the label is an added sugar or not: if it has any of the below in its name, it’s probably an added sugar;

CONCENTRATE
NECTAR
Ends in ‘OSE’
SUGAR
SYRUP

NATURALLY OCCURRING – DOES NOT COUNT TOWARDS YOUR RDA OF ADDED SUGAR

Whole fruit
Whole vegetables
(Whole) grains

*Anything that is gobbledygook on a label should be avoided anyway.  If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.


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