How to spot the added sugar in your food

We may be eating more sugar than we realise in processed foods, as many contain added sugar. The foods contain sugar to help improve taste, add bulk and improve texture.

A comprehensive list of all the names sugar can take has been sourced by the British Nutrition Foundation.

Sugars can be added during the many stages of production. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA
  • Tip: Sugars usually end in ‘ose’ and the nearer the start of the ingredient list they are, the bigger the amount included.

Added sugars are typically described as sugar or sweeteners added during its production.

This refers to sucrose, fructose, glucose, and other isolated sugar preparations used as such, or added during food preparation and manufacturing.

Many types of sweetener can be added to products during the production stage. Credit: Jens Kalaene/DPA
  • Tip: Look at the 'carbs as sugars' on the nutrition panel of a product. Less than 5g per 100g is low, more than 15g per 100g is high.

The sugars added, may have the following names:

  • Sugar - including Brown sugar, Beet sugar, Cane sugar, Palm sugar, Corn sugar
  • Invert sugar (or invert sugar solution or invert sugar syrup)
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • Dextrose (or dextrose monohydrate/anyhydous)
  • Fructose
  • Maltose
  • Isoglucose
  • Levulose
  • Lactose
The tip of a pile of white chrystal sugar after it was produced. Credit: Daniel Karmann/DPA
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Deionised fruit juices
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Corn sweetener
Honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharides fructose and glucose. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA
  • Agave
  • Nectar
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Treacle
  • Malt extract
  • Dextrin and Maltodextrin
  • Hydrolysed starch or starch hydrolysates (glucose syrup, high- fructose syrup)
Added sugars can also be found in fruit juice concentrates. Credit: Patrick Pleul/DPA
  • Tip: Reduce the sugar in recipes and add spices to boost flavour and taste.

Syrups

Syrups can be commonly found in some beverages and foods, these can be named as:

  • High-fructose glucose syrup
  • High- fructose syrup
  • Fructose-glucose syrups or Glucose syrups
  • High maltose syrups
  • Corn syrup
  • Rice syrup
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Malt syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Agave syrup

Sources used: UK - FSA, NHS, EU - EFSA, EUFIC and International - CODEX, WHO.

More: Campaign group demands 'sugar tax' to tackle obesity