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  • Harvesting Goodness Since 1995
  • FREE shipping on orders above ₹ 799/- Pan India
  • Harvesting Goodness Since 1995
  • FREE shipping on orders above ₹ 799/- Pan India
  • Harvesting Goodness Since 1995
  • FREE shipping on orders above ₹ 799/- Pan India

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Total Sugar vs Added Sugar- What’s the Difference?

total sugar vs added sugar

Love the sugary rush that comes from indulging in your favourite foods and drinks? It’s hard to resist the sweet temptation, but it’s crucial to understand just how much sugar we’re consuming, especially the sneaky added sugars hiding in our everyday products. From innocent-looking cereal to seemingly healthy granola bars, added sugars can wreak havoc on our health if we’re not careful. But how do you know which sugars are acceptable and which are not?

If you have a similar question, then this blog post will spot the difference between total sugar and added sugar. Let’s understand the whole mystery of total sugar vs added sugar.

Table of Contents

What Are Total Sugar and Added Sugar?

To identify which sugar is bad for you, you must understand different forms of sugar present in food products. This blog post will help you know the different terms of sugar, and also give you a brief idea on total sugar vs added sugar, so you make informed choices. 

Total sugar refers to all the sugars present in food products or beverages, including those found naturally in fruits, dairy products like milk and yogurt, and the ones added by food producers. For example, the total sugar count in an apple juice box includes the natural fructose of the apple that gives it its sweetness, along with the added sugar for improved flavour. But what are added sugars on the nutritional label?

Added sugar count means the sugars that are added during processing or preparation. These are the sugars that manufacturers or food producers use to enhance flavour or extend shelf life. Think of the sugar you sprinkle into your coffee, the sweeteners in your favourite soda, or the sugar syrups drizzled over pancakes. These added sugars offer little to no nutritional value and can contribute to excessive calorie intake and various health issues when consumed in excess. Learning the difference between total sugar and added sugar on the nutritional label empowers us to make better choices for our health and well-being.

What is Naturally Occurring Sugar?

Naturally occurring sugars are the sweeteners that are found naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Unlike added sugars, which are artificially added to food products during processing, naturally occurring sugars come along with essential nutrients like fibre, vitamins, and minerals, making them a healthier choice for satisfying your sweet tooth.

Take fruits, for example. Whether it’s the juicy sweetness of a ripe strawberry or the refreshing bite of an apple, fruits are packed with naturally occurring sugars like fructose. Plus, they come with a bonus of fibre, which helps slow down sugar absorption, keeping your blood sugar levels stable and your energy levels steady. Dairy products also contain natural sugars like lactose. A dollop of creamy yogurt topped with fresh berries not only satisfies your sweet cravings but also provides a dose of protein, calcium, and probiotics for gut health.

On the other hand, those ice creams, ready-made milkshakes, jams, and more are loaded with added sugars that taste good but fill you up with unwanted calories. It’s better to check the food label sugar or the nutritional label before buying.

How To Find Out the Added Sugar on the Nutritional Label of Any Product?

sugar nutrition data

Now you know what are added sugars and natural sugars, let’s also find how to spot them. FDA mandates every manufacturer & food producer must declare the nutritional information of the product on the label. Here’s how you will find:

Ingredients List:

Scan the ingredients list for the food label sugar hidden under different terms, such as high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, or even less obvious ones like fruit juice concentrate.

Focus on "Total Sugars":

Check the “Total Sugars” line on the nutritional label. This number includes both natural and added sugars.

Seek Out "Added Sugars":

Look for a specific “Added Sugars” section on the label. This section tells consumers exactly how many sweet or flavouring additives have been added by the manufacturer.

Compare Total vs. Added Sugars:

Use your knowledge to compare the total sugars and the added sugars. This comparison of nutritional information helps consumers discern how much sugar is naturally occurring and how much has been added.

Apply the Knowledge:

A common example is tomato sauce. While tomatoes naturally contain sugars, the store-bought ketchups or sauces have added sugars meaning additives like cane sugar or corn syrup for flavour enhancement.

By comparing the total sugars and the added sugars, consumers can know the difference and make a smarter choice to manage your sugar intake.

The Impact of Grams of Added Sugar on Food Labels for Consumer Health

In the journey toward healthier eating, one of the most critical stages is understanding the sugar nutrition data, or the grams of added sugar listed on food labels. Whether you start your day with a bowl of cereal, or maybe carry a pack of biscuits on the go, it sounds harmless. But flip those packages over, and you might be shocked to see just how much sugar is hiding inside. That’s where the importance of FDA and grams of sugar on food labels comes into play.

For instance, a single can of soda can pack in a whopping 39 grams of added sugar—that’s nearly ten packets of sugar! And a standard serving size (about 2 biscuits) of cream biscuits can contain anywhere from 7 to 12 grams of added sugar. You might add 2-3 packets of sugar to your morning coffee. These seemingly innocent choices can quickly add up, leading to weight gain, energy crashes, and even chronic health issues like diabetes and heart disease.

By paying attention to the grams of sugar and the source of added sugar on the nutritional label, we empower ourselves to make informed decisions about what we put into our bodies.  So, the next time you’re scanning the shelves, don’t just glance at the front of the package – turn it around and check those grams of sugar added by the food producer!

Health Implications of Added Sugar

Most times, we give into sweet temptations, thinking a little added sugar is harmless. Well, here’s the lowdown on how added sugar can cause harm to your health:

Weight Gain:

Added sugar is high in calories but low in nutrients. Consuming too much can lead to weight gain over time, increasing your risk of obesity and related health issues like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Energy Crash:

Sure, that sugary snack or energy bar might give you a quick burst of energy, but it’s followed by a crash that leaves you feeling sluggish and tired.

Tooth Decay:

It’s true, sugar is bad for your teeth. It fuels the bacteria in your mouth, leading to cavities and tooth decay.

Hidden Calories:

Added sugar finds its way into many processed foods and beverages, often marketed as healthy options. What healthy oats or digestive biscuits you thought were a smart choice could be loaded with added sugar.

Cravings and Addiction:

Sugar can be addictive, causing cravings that are hard to resist. Ever find yourself reaching for that chocolate bar or ice cream tub when you’re stressed or feeling down? Blame it on the sugar rush.

 It’s always better to check sugar nutrition data on labels and choose naturally sweetened products.

Recommended Daily Total Sugar Intake

We all love sweetness, in whatever form it comes, but how much is too much? The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men. The World Health Organization advises that, ideally, less than 10% of your daily calorie intake may come from added sugars. Consumers must be mindful of what you are eating, and always use moderation while enjoying sweeter things. 


1. How do I know if I may be consuming too much sugar?

Signs that you may be consuming too much sugar include frequent cravings for sweets, energy crashes, and fluctuations in mood and energy levels. Consult a registered dietitian for personalised advice.

2. What's the difference between natural sugars and added sugars?

Natural sugars are naturally present in foods like fruits and dairy products. Added sugars are included during processing, such as in chocolates and baked goods. Added sugars are the ones consumers should watch out for and limit.

3. How can I find out if a product contains added sugars?

Look at the ingredient list on the packaging. Added sugars can hide under names like sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, and more. If it’s listed in the first few ingredients, the product likely contains a significant amount of added sugar.

About the Author

Picture of Yogita Rajawat

Yogita Rajawat

Meet Yogita Rajawat, the literary face behind AsmitA Organic Farms' blog. With almost half a decade of experience, she is a seasoned wordsmith who crafts blogs that will both inform and tug at your heartstrings. As an expert in all things organic and its health benefits, Yogita brings a wealth of knowledge to her research. In addition, her deep understanding of the natural world allows her to create posts that are both educational and engaging.

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