Sugar is a type of carbohydrate. Our bodies need carbohydrates for energy. However, eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain and tooth decay.

Where do we find sugar?

Natural sugars in foods

Fruit and milk products

High in nutrients – vitamins, minerals, fibre or calcium. We should eat these foods every day.

fruit and milk products

processed foods

Sugar added to food

Processed foods

These foods are unhealthy and high in energy (kJ).They don't have other nutrients we need such as fibre, vitamins and minerals. We should avoid these foods.

If we choose to buy packaged food, how do know which is best?

The best choices are those low in refined or added sugar.
Some healthy foods which provide vital nutrients such as breakfast cereals and yoghurts are sweetened with naturally occurring sugar (fruit) or added sugar. When selecting breakfast cereals and yoghurt, choose those with no added sugar by checking the ingredients list. Naturally occurring sugars from milk and fruit is okay.

'No added sugar' claims.
Caution – No added sugar on labels can be misleading as food companies can use other ingredients such as fruit concentrate or honey, which are classified as added sugar.

Hidden sugars
Sugar might not be evident on the ingredients list as it can go by many names as shown on the list below. The product can be higher than in total sugar than anticipated. Check the nutrition label.

To know which products are high or low in sugar:

  1. Check the ingredients list. Sugar could be present in other forms.
  2. Check the nutrition information panel to compare products for sugar. Remember the sugar value does not separate added sugars and natural sugars.

To check how much sugar is in products you buy, compare numbers in the Avg Quantity per 100g column of the nutrition information panel.

Best Okay Poor
Less than 5g 5 - 15g More than 15g

Other names for sugar

Raw or Brown sugar Honey
Corn syrup Invert sugar
Cane sugar Lactose
Dextrose Malt
Disaccharides Malt extract
Fructose Molasses
Glucose Sorbitol
Golden syrup Sucrose