Sugar

Looking at sugars in the diet and how sugars affect our health

Quick facts Quick facts Icon
Consumer Consumer Icon
Health professional Health professional Icon
Enlarge Text A A

Quick facts on sugar

  1. Sugar is a type of carbohydrate. There are different types of sugar including ‘table sugar’ (sucrose), fructose (found in fruit) and lactose (found in milk).
  2. Sugars provides 4 kcal per gram.
  3. Sugars can be divided into ‘free’ and ‘intrinsic’ sugars.
  4. Free sugars include all added sugars in foods and drinks and the sugars present in honey, syrups, fruit juices, smoothies, and fruit juice concentrates.
  5. Intrinsic sugars are those found naturally in dairy foods like milk or yogurt or in fresh, cooked, or dried fruit and vegetables. We do not need to cut down on these kinds of sugars.
  6. Consuming too much free sugars is linked with tooth decay and with consuming more calories than we need, which can lead to weight gain.
  7. We are recommended to limit the amount of free sugars we consume to no more than 5% of our daily calorie intake – this is about 30g or 7 sugar cubes for people aged 11 and over.
  8. The main sources of free sugars in our diet are sweet foods like biscuits, cakes, chocolate and sweets, sugar and preserves and sugary drinks.
  9. Our intakes of free sugars have reduced in recent years, but most people are consuming more free sugars than in recommended. It is a good idea to try to reduce our intake of free sugars as part of a healthy diet.
  10. The UK Government has taken some action to try to reduce our intakes of free sugars including a tax on sugary drinks and work with the food industry to reduce the sugar content of sweet foods.

FAQs Sugars

The British Nutrition Foundation answers some common questions on sugars

FAQs: Sugars

In this resource you will find answers to some common common questions about sugars

Quick facts
Quick facts
Consumer
Consumer
pdf

Help us improve


We'd love to hear your thoughts about this page below.

If you have a more general query, please contact us.

Please note that advice provided on our website about nutrition and health is general in nature. We do not provide any personal advice on prevention, treatment and management for patients or their family members.

Did you find this page useful?
Something broken? Report an issue

  • We’d love to hear your feedback.

  • If you would like a response, please contact us.

  • Please note that advice provided on our website about nutrition and health is general in nature. We do not provide any individualised advice on prevention, treatment and management for patients or their family members.

  • * signifies a required field

  • We’d love to hear your feedback.
  • If you would like a response, please contact us.

  • Please note that advice provided on our website about nutrition and health is general in nature. We do not provide any individualised advice on prevention, treatment and management for patients or their family members.

  • * signifies a required field