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In this Lesson you will Learn

  1. What is sugar?
  2. What foods contain sugar?
  3. Are natural sweeteners healthier than normal sugar?
  4. Should I stop eating fruit because of sugar?
  5. How much sugar can I safely include in my diet?

Sugar is a simple  carbohydrate that occurs naturally in fruits, vegetables, and dairy. Sugar is also added to processed foods and beverages. There are different types of sugar, including fructose (found in fruit and vegetables), lactose (found in dairy), and sucrose (white table sugar made from sugar cane or sugar beets).1

splenda brown sugar blendevaporated cane juicesugarturbinado sugarpowdered sugar

Though some people prefer honey, molasses, agave nectar, maple syrup, and other "natural" sweeteners, there seems to be no significant health benefit to choosing them over regular sugar. The bottom line is that all these "natural" sweeteners are still made of sugar and should therefore be consumed in moderation to avoid negative health effects.2

Before you cut all fruit out of your diet because it is too high in sugar, it is important to note that the American Heart Association and other authorities recommend focusing on minimizing added sugars, not necessarily sugars that occur naturally in whole foods like fruit and dairy products.3 The AHA recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day for women and 36 grams per day for men.4

It can be difficult to track sugar consumption, because sugar turns up in many processed foods under many names, such as dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, etc. 4 

Sugar on the Nutrition Facts label in the US currently does not distinguish between naturally-occurring sugars and added sugars.5 Proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts label will finally show added sugars separately.6 In the meantime, it is a good idea to look for sweeteners in the ingredient list.

Sugar-rich Foods

Ingredientg of Sugar per 100gg of Sugar per 100 calories
splenda brown sugar blend100.020.0
evaporated cane juice100.030.0
turbinado sugar99.224.9
powdered sugar97.825.1
sweet and sour mix97.325.4
brown sugar97.025.5
country time lemonade mix94.725.1
instant pistachio pudding mix92.924.6
chocolate sprinkles91.021.5
orange jell-o86.022.6
maple sugar84.924.0
chocolate milk powder83.920.7
candy corn82.922.7
red cinnamon candies82.423.3
candied citron80.725.1
kool-aid drink mix80.520.7
butterscotch chips80.520.6
splenda sugar substitute80.323.9
instant vanilla pudding mix79.320.9
golden syrup79.224.8
dark corn syrup77.627.1
light corn syrup76.827.1
dried pineapple76.222.9
candied ginger75.823.6
amaretti cookies73.417.5
simple syrup73.227.2
almond bark71.412.5
jelly beans70.018.7
agave nectar68.021.9
instant chocolate pudding mix67.918.0
peppermint candies67.616.7
dried currants67.323.8
chocolate malt powder66.716.2
cream of coconut66.715.4
medjool dates66.524.0
palm sugar65.220.0
dried cranberries65.021.1
dark treacle64.022.1
chocolate covered caramel candies63.913.5
peppermint patties63.816.6
cream cheese frosting63.515.3
toffee bits63.511.3
chocolate chips62.512.5
candy-coated chocolate pieces62.512.5
candied almonds62.513.2
chocolate covered raisins62.216.0
dried pears62.223.7
marshmallow creme61.520.0
angel food cake mix61.316.8
orange marmalade60.024.4
vanilla paste60.015.0
lemon curd60.017.9
hot cocoa mix60.015.0
maple syrup59.922.2
brown rice syrup59.522.7
golden raisins59.219.6
white chocolate59.010.9
chocolate frosting57.714.5
miniature marshmallows57.618.1
tamarind paste57.424.0
dried apples57.223.5
peppermint baking chips56.810.5
sweetened condensed milk54.416.9
chocolate kisses54.111.5
dried apricots53.422.2
jalapeno jelly53.322.9
reese's pieces53.310.7
caramel popcorn53.212.3
dried mango52.616.7
dried blueberries52.515.0
nonfat dry milk powder52.014.4
dried cherries51.816.3
funfetti cake mix51.112.8
chocolate syrup49.717.8
german sweet chocolate49.78.8
brownie mix49.611.2
carob powder49.122.1
mango chutney48.517.4
almond joy48.310.1
dried figs47.919.2
malted milk powder47.611.1
peanut butter cups47.29.2
cookie mix47.110.8
vegan chocolate chips46.99.3
show entire table


  1. University of Maryland Medical Center - Sweeteners - sugars
  2. - Is Natural Sugar Better for You?
  3. American Heart Association - Sugar 101
  4. Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source - Added Sugar in the Diet
  5. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - How Can I Tell If Foods Have Added Sugar?
  6. CNN - Nutrition labels getting a makeover


  1. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate found in fruits, vegetables, dairy, and processed foods and beverages.
  2. The difference between "natural" sweeteners and normal sugar are not drastic enough to make a big difference in the diet. Both should be consumed in moderation.
  3. Recommendations to limit sugar generally refer to added sugar, not the naturally-occurring sugars found in fruit and dairy.
  4. Adults should not exceed 25-36 grams of added sugar each day.​​
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