Added versus natural sugars

Natural sugars are present in foods such as fruit, vegetables and dairy, while added sugars are added to foods and beverages during manufacturing, processing, or preparation.

Our bodies do not need, or benefit from, eating added sugar. The greatest sources of added sugar in the diet are the sugary beverages, followed by sweets and grains such as ready-to-eat cereals. Intake of added sugar, particularly from beverages, has been associated with weight gain and higher risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Natural and added sugars are metabolized the same way in our bodies. But for most people, consuming natural sugars in foods such as fruit is not linked to negative health effects, since the amount of sugar tends to be modest and is “packaged” with fiber and other healthful nutrients.

The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the World Health Organization (WHO) both recommend that added sugar be limited to no more than 10% of daily calories.

The updated Nutrition Facts Panel, expected to be rolled out in 2020 or 2021, will prominently feature a line disclosing added sugar along with the corresponding 10% daily value, to help consumers gauge their added sugar intake.

(Source: Harvard Health)

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