Added Sugars

sugars in spoons
Some sugar is obvious, but it's important to watch out for hidden added sugars. Robert Pears/E+/Getty Images

Quick Definition: Added sugars are any type of sugar, be it white sugar (sucrose), molasses, honey, etc, which are added to a food before selling it. Some whole foods have sugars in them naturally, which are not counted as added sugars. So a basket of fresh strawberries does not have "added sugars," but a package of frozen strawberries packed in syrup does have added sugars. Although sweet foods usually come to mind when we think of sugars, almost all processed food has them, including condiments, soups, and pasta sauces.

Most added sugars (including white sugar, honey, maple syrup, and high fructose corn syrup) are about half fructose, which has been shown to increase risk factors for heart disease.

Also Called: The World Health Organization calls added sugars "free sugars)

Here is a list of some of the ingredients which are types of added sugars.

Examples: 100% orange juice, which does have a lot of sugar, does not have "added sugars". On the other hand, most "juice drinks" (and most other bottled and canned drinks) have a lot of added sugars.

More Information About Added Sugars

Although many experts have been warning about eating too much sugar for a long time, it's only recently that health organizations have been starting to warn people about the health dangers of too much sugar.  They are currently recommending that people eat no more than 6 to 12 teaspoons of sugar per day, depending on the organization.

By far the food that contributes the most added sugar to the diet of those in the U.S. (and unfortunately more and more of the world in general) is sugar-sweetened beverages.  This includes soda, lemonade, sweet tea, coffee drinks, and much more. Many of them have 8-10 teaspoons of added sugar in an 8-oz.

glass. Check out:

9 Beverages that Have Way More Sugar Than You Think 

What To Drink Instead

Other added sugars are hidden in almost every packaged food on the shelf, from cereal to crackers to condiments.  One trick that food companies use to hide the amount of sugar in their products is to use several types of sugar so that none of them is too high on the ingredient list.  So if you see malt syrup, dextrin, corn sweetener, and cane juice on the label, you know there's a lot of sugar in there, even if none of them is in the first 3 or 4 ingredients.

How to Cut Down on Sugar

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