Published on September 20, 2020


Natural Sugar vs. Added Sugar

Sugar is the simplest, most basic type of carbohydrate that provides energy or calories for the body. The body breaks down sugars we eat and drink into glucose: the body’s main source of energy.

Naturally Occurring Sugars can be found in many different foods such as dairy products, fruit, 100% fruit and vegetable juices and vegetables.

Added Sugars can often be found in foods low in other nutrients such as dairy desserts, grain-based desserts, sugar-sweetened drinks and other sweet treats such as candies, syrups, jams, etc.

Most people in the United States consume more sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet. Furthermore, diets that are high in added sugar can increase risk of cardiovascular disease.


  • Use Nutrition Facts label on packages. Since there is no recommended percent daily amount of sugar, look at the number of grams of sugar in the food or drink.
  • Look out for and avoid foods with added sugars in the ingredients list.
  • Try to consume mostly natural sugars such as fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables.


Although foods and drinks such as baked goods, sugary drinks, ice cream, etc. have large amounts of added sugar, enjoying these items in small portions and on rare occasions are good courses of actions to reduce one’s added sugar intake.


Ingredient lists on your foods list added ingredients in order by weight. Look out for these added sugars on your food and drink’s ingredient lists:

  • Brown sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose sweetener
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Glucose
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Malt syrup

Sources: Food and Drug Administration. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only.  For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.

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