Added sugars

What is added sugar?

Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. This does not include natural sugars found in milk and fruits.

An assortment of sugary snacks and drinks including cookies, donuts and candies

Most of us eat and drink too many added sugars from the following foods:

  • Beverages, such as regular soft drinks, energy or sports drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened coffee and tea
  • Candy
  • Cakes
  • Cookies and brownies
  • Pies and cobblers
  • Sweet rolls, pastries and donuts
  • Ice cream and dairy desserts
  • Sugars, jams, syrups and sweet toppings

Reading the ingredient label on packaged foods can help to identify added sugars. Here are some common names for sugar to look out for:

  • Agave nectar
  • Barley malt
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Cane sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Coconut sugar
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Dextrose
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Fructose
  • Honey
  • Glucose
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Malt sugar
  • Maple sugar
  • Molasses
  • Sucrose sugar

Even natural sugars such as honey and maple syrup count as added sugars and should be eaten in limited amounts.

How to eat less added sugar

If you currently eat a lot of the foods listed above, don't worry! You don't have to immediately cut them all out of your daily eating habits. Instead, focus on one meal or snack at a time. Do you often have something sugary as an afternoon snack? Could you swap it out for something with less sugar, like a piece of fruit? If you like to eat baked goods such as cakes and pies, try making a lower-sugar version