• Naturally Occurring Sugar vs Added Sugars

  • Where are Added Sugars Present?

  • Why is This Relevant to Food Manufacturers?

Naturally Occurring Sugar vs Added Sugars

In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated the Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP) for packaged food and beverages sold in the United States. One of the significant updates which occurred was the requirement of listing the gram (g) amount along with a % daily value for added sugars per serving of a product to the NFP

Naturally-occurring sugar is defined as sugars that are found naturally in foods. There are many food products which only contain naturally-occurring sugar such as an apple which has fructose, or milk which has lactose. The amount of naturally occurring sugar that is present in these two examples, would be displayed in the Total Sugar value on an NFP as they do not contain any added sugars.

Added sugars on the other hand, are defined by the FDA the following:

  • Sugar added during the processing of food and beverages (such as sucrose or dextrose),
  • Foods packaged as sweeteners (such as table sugar),
  • Sugars from syrups and honey,
  • Sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices which are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type

Don’t be fooled, added sugar can be listed in ingredient statements in many different forms. It is important to know which ingredients meet the definition for “naturally occurring sugar” and “added sugars”. Some examples of added sugars are listed below.

  • Agave nectar
  • Glucose
  • Caramel
  • Honey
  • Beet Sugar
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Coconut Palm Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Invert Sugar


Where Are Added Sugars Present?

Added sugars can be found in products such as sugar-sweetened beverages, baked goods, processed foods, and condiments. There are some foods that contain added sugar that may be of a surprise. For example, ketchup, pasta sauce, yogurt, salad dressings, and granola bars are just a few examples of products in which one may not expect to see added sugars. It is important for food manufacturers to review their ingredients and accurately declare added sugars in the NFP.

Why is This Relevant to Food Manufacturers?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 recommends limiting added sugar consumption to less than 10% of calories per day. Therefore, consumers are becoming more aware of the amount of added sugars as well as the ingredients found in food products which they are consuming on a daily basis. With the growing awareness and guidance to reduce added sugar intake, food manufacturers must understand the definition of added sugar to ensure their NFP is accurately declaring the amount of added sugars in their product.

How can Mérieux NutriSciences help? 

Mérieux NutriSciences offers a service to calculate the added sugar in a product. Since calculating added sugars can not be done by an analytical test, the Labeling Compliance and Nutrition Services team can manually calculate this value for customers.

Wondering how this is done? First, we will need the formulation of the product, as well as the amount of total sugar and amount of added sugar per ingredient in the formula. Then, we will identify the sources of added sugar and ask any follow-up questions to clarify the information which was provided. It is important to also include any sub-ingredient breakdown information. Added sugar can be hiding in sub-ingredients! With this information, we will calculate the amount of added sugar in the overall product. Once the calculated amount is determined, a final report is submitted.

We have a knowledgeable team here at Mérieux NutriSciences that specializes in Labeling Compliance and Nutrition Services who will be able to answer any questions or clarify sources of added sugars for your knowledge. Don’t forget to check out our other Labeling and Database services, we have many to offer.


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