How to spot added sugar

Spotting added sugar in the food we buy should be easy, right? Just read the label.

Actually, it is very tricky indeed. That’s because food manufacturers call sugar by more than 60 different names.

Names range from the scientific sounding dextrose and maltodextrin, to attractive terms like sugar cane crystals or sorghum syrup.



Top tips for reading food labels:

Start at the very beginning. Items on food labels are listed in order from largest to smallest by weight. If one or more of the names for sugar feature towards the start of the list, that’s a sign that the product is high in added sugar.

Red alert words. Words like “syrup” and “sugar” are highly likely to mean added sugar. Anything described as “crystals” or “concentrate” is suspect as well. 

An “ose” by any other name…. Words ending in “ose” often mean added sugar. Dextrose, maltose, sucrose are just a few.

4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon. The World Health Organisation says we should limit intake of added sugars to 6 teaspoons per day. 

Now that's a lot to remember, especially when you don't have all day to spend in the supermarket. Wouldn't it be great if we had clear labelling of added sugar on processed foods?  

Join us and help to ensure food labelling includes added sugars.