Hidden sugars

Some sweet-tasting foods don’t have the word ‘sugar’ in the ingredients list on their packaging, but still have sugar in them – its just labelled in a different way, for example ‘dextrose’ or ‘modified starch’.

Read the transcript for this film 'hidden sugars'

Watch out for hidden sugars – these are best kept as part of a meal. Hidden sugars are ingredients in food and drink and although they are not seen as ‘sugar’ can still cause tooth decay.

How will I recognise these hidden sugars?

It is important to read your food labels. Some foods don’t have the word ‘sugar’ in the ingredients list on their packaging, but still have sugar in them – it’s just labelled in a different way. Hidden sugars usually end in ‘ose’ and the nearer the start of the list they are, the bigger the amount included: sucrose, dextrose, maltose, fructose, lactose, glucose, honey.

What types of food and drink contain these hidden sugars?

There are lots, but here are some examples; cereal bars, flavoured yoghurts, fruit flakes/bars, juice – including juice labelled ‘no added sugar’.

Food and drinks containing sugar should be limited and are best given at mealtimes.

Watch out for sugar in drinks too. Read the Healthy drinks page for information.
For more information on food labeling visit the Eat Well website (external link).

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