Do you know where the sugars you eat come from? Knowing this can help you have a healthy diet!

Some foods contain sugars that are naturally occurring, like fruits, vegetables, and dairy. Other foods contain added sugars which are added during processing and are not naturally present in the whole form of the food.

Sugar in Your Diet

Although different kinds of sugar are handled by the body in similar ways, your overall health can be impacted by the sources of sugar that you eat.

Foods containing naturally occurring sugars, such as fruit and milk, provide the body with an important fuel source. In addition, these carbohydrate-rich foods provide a variety of other nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Eating a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of food groups will help ensure you eat enough naturally occurring sugars. 

On the other hand, many foods with added sugar provide energy (calories) but contain few other nutrients, and they can unintentionally replace the foods in your diet that are high in vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients. Therefore, it is important to eat foods with added sugars in moderation. It is recommended that no more than 10% of your daily calories come from added sugars, which equals about 12 teaspoons, or 50 grams of sugar per day.

Finding Added Sugars in Your Foods 

Read food labels to determine how much sugar is in specific food products.

  • Check the nutrition facts label to find the serving size and grams of total sugars and added sugars per serving.
  • Also look at the ingredients list to see whether sugar has been added. Some common sources you may see on an ingredients list include dextrose, fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, and honey.
  • Generally, try to limit foods where sugar is one of the first few ingredients in the ingredients list.

Did You Know?

Foods with naturally occurring sugars include:

  • Dairy
  • Grains
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Legumes

Foods that often contain added sugars include:

  • Pasta sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Sweetened yogurt
  • Granola bars
  • Pastries
  • Instant oatmeal and breakfast cereals
  • Salad dressings
  • Bagged bread
  • Canned fruit

Be sure to check the nutrition labels on these foods as many—but not all—brands add sugar to these products during processing.