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Sugar Explained

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate. It breaks down in the body to become a source of energy called glucose.

Free sugars refer to sugars added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer (often called ‘added sugars’), as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.

Added sugars refers to sugars and syrups that are added to foods and drinks during processing and preparation. Foods and drinks with added sugars have lots of calories but usually contain few nutrients – and they don’t keep you full for long. For this reason, they are sometimes described as “empty calories.” Some examples include soft drinks, chocolate bars, and salad dressing.

Natural sugars are naturally part of the food. Foods with natural sugars have higher nutrients. Examples include vegetables and fruit.

Read all of the ingredients on the label and keep your eyes peeled for added sugars.

Hint: most words ending in “ose” are usually sugars.

Look for ingredients like: brown sugar, cane juice extract, corn syrup and corn syrup solids, demerara or turbinado sugar, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup or glucose-fructose, honey, lactose, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, syrup, treacle and white sugar.

You should be avoiding the lot!

The World Health Organization recommends a daily maximum intake of less than 10% of calories from free sugars. This is equal to 48 grams or 12 teaspoons1.

On average in 2004 Canadians consumed 110 grams (26 teaspoons) of total sugar. This is about 20% of daily calories based on a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet2.

[1] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/...

[2] Statistics Canada. Catalogue no 82-003-XPE. Health Reports, vol 22, no.3, Sept 2011. Sugar consumption among Canadians of all ages. Health Matters.