Sugar on food labels

When you’re choosing foods and drinks, take a look at the Nutrition Information label but focus on the total carbohydrate number, not just the sugars. The amount of sugars (both naturally occurring and ‘added sugars’) are counted into the grams of total carbohydrate, but take note as there may also be carbohydrate grams coming from other ingredients (such as starches). Always look at the ingredients list to find out what particular sugars an item contains.

Added sugars you may want to limit include:

  • Sucrose
  • Maltose
  • Hydrolysed starch
  • Inverted sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Glucose or Glucose syrup
  • Brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Fruit juice concentrate

Many food manufactures and supermarkets now include a trac light system on the packaging. This can provide a quick and easy way to see whether a food is high in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar or salt. Knowing whether a food is low, medium or high in these can help you to choose the healthiest option.

Look for foods that have more green colours on the pack to ensure you’re making the best choice. The trac light system does not include total carbohydrate, only sugars in food so it may also be necessary to look at the nutrition information table on the back of the packet if you are counting total carbohydrate.


Sweeteners are a great alternative to sugar when baking or adding to drinks such as tea and coee. They have the benefit of containing almost no calories and they will not significantly aect your blood glucose.

Are all sweeteners the same?

No, there are low calorie sweeteners such as SPLENDA® and there are sugar alcohols. Low calorie sweeteners are perfectly safe for people with diabetes and are a great substitute for sugar.

Sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® is made from sugar and tastes like sugar, but it’s not sugar so contains just a fraction of the calories. The SPLENDA® range includes Sweet Minis, perfect for adding to hot drinks and Granulated which can also be used for cooking, baking and sprinkling on food such as fruit or cereal. So it’s easy to make the swap from sugar to SPLENDA® and save on calories and sugar. Find out more about the SPLENDA® range.

Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and manitol are often used in foods labelled ‘Diabetic’. Diabetes UK recommends that diabetic foods are avoided as they can cause a laxative eect if consumed in high quantities.