Table 1

Definitions

TermDefinition
Sugars*Conventionally describes chemically the monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, galactose) and disaccharides (sucrose, lactose†, maltose).
Total sugarsCurrently required for UK nutrition label. Includes sugars occurring naturally in foods and beverages and those added during processing and preparation.
Free sugars‘All monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices. Under this definition lactose† when naturally present in milk and milk products is excluded.’36 Sugars present in intact fruits and vegetables are also excluded.
Added sugars‘Syrups and other caloric sweeteners used as a sweetener in other food products. Naturally occurring sugars such as those in fruit or milk are not added sugars.’61 In addition, excludes sugars in juiced or pureed fruits and vegetables that are included in definition of free sugars. Will be a required subline under ‘total sugars’ for US food labels from 2020.46
  • Adapted with permission from Moore and Fielding [34].

  • *Examples of sugars commonly found as ingredients: sucrose, fructose, glucose, dextrose, maltose, lactose, trehalose, brown sugar, turbinado sugar, demerara sugar, raw sugar, cane sugar, fruit sugar, invert sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, glucose syrup, glucose-fructose syrup, fructose-glucose syrup, honey, molasses, date syrup, agave syrup.

  • †Lactose is often called ‘milk sugar’ because 100% of ‘total sugars’ in milk are lactose. In natural/Greek yogurt ~80% of the sugar is lactose, with the remainder being galactose generated from lactose fermentation.62