What's Up, Sugar?

Everyone seems to be talking about sugar nowadays – probably because it’s everywhere. From natural sugars to added sugars, sugar alternatives to sugar replacements, it might surprise you to find that it’s in most things we eat.

However, sugar is also becoming quite the bittersweet topic. A growing number of health issues are being attributed to it, and foods are increasingly being labelled with their sugar content. All this information can understandably be overwhelming, so here we’ll help you to break the compound down.

Naturally Occurring Sugars 
These sugars are found naturally in lactose (milk and milk products), glucose (fresh, dried and cooked fruits, honey and vegetables), fructose (honey, agave nectar, fruit and fruit juices) and sucrose (sugar extracted from beet or sugar cane).

Added Sugars
These are sugars added to food and beverages during their production. Chemically, however, they are indistinguishable from naturally occurring sugars.

The examples of added sugars might seem endless: agave syrup, brown sugar, cane juice, confectioners’ sugar, honey, molasses, and syrup – just to name a few. Common foods that contain added sugars include cakes, cookies, candies, and drinks.

Artificial Sweeteners
Sometimes called sugar substitutes, these are chemicals added to foods and drinks to sweeten them. They are commonly labelled as aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, and neotame. Since artificial sweeteners provide taste with few calories, they are often used to reduce the consumption of added sugars and the risk of heart disease.

Sugar Alcohols | Polyols
These are an organic compound and type of carbohydrate whose structure resembles both sugars and alcohol. Examples are mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH).

Sugar alcohols are sweeteners with about half the calories of regular sugar, so they are often combined with artificial sweeteners to make foods taste sweeter.

cupcakes

Let's Put A Label On It

No Sugar | Sugarless | Zero Sugar
This indicates less than 0.5 grams of sugar in each serving, both natural and added. Artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols do not need to be included in the calculation.

No Added Sugar
This indicates that no sugar or ingredient containing sugar was added during processing, including ingredients like juice or dry fruit. The food may still contain natural sugars, artificial sweeteners, or sugar alcohols.

Low Sugar | Reduced Sugar | Less Sugar
This indicates at least 25% less sugar than the regular version of the product

Unsweetened
This indicates no added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or sugar alcohols. It excludes any naturally occurring sugars.

What Next?

Now that you understand the different types of sugars and labels, you’re better equipped to navigate the wealth of information out there. However, misleading labels and unclear serving sizes can still make the topic confusing, so be sure to ask when in doubt. It is also essential to consult your nutritionist and doctor before making any major dietary changes.

Here at Little Farms, we’re always happy to help if you have questions about our products!

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