Naturally Occurring vs. Added Sugars: Here’s the Scoop

Naturally Occurring vs. Added Sugars: Here’s the Scoop

The white sugar granules on my cereal and the sugar that makes my orange sweet are the same thing, right?

Well, yes. And no.

They're both sugars – the white sugar is sucrose and the fruit sugar is fructose – and they both fall under the umbrella of carbohydrates, which means they function as energy sources for the body, but the FDA's new label regulations say this is where the similarities stop.

With the new regulations, added sugars are now listed on the label as a subset of total sugars.

What this means:

"Total Sugars" on the Nutrition Facts panel include all sugars — both naturally occurring and added.

Glucose, fructose, galactose, sucrose, lactose, and maltose are found naturally in foods, such as fruit, plain milk, and plain yogurt.

The amount of Added Sugars — sugars that are added to foods during processing — must now be listed underneath the Total Sugars.

2016 FDA Nutrition Facts LabelThe FDA defines Added Sugars as:
Sugars that are either added during the processing of foods or packaged as such and includes sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), sugars from syrups and sugars concentrated from fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100% fruit or vegetable juice of the same type.

  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Corn Sweetener
  • Sugar
    • Raw sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, dextrose, fructose, glucose, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt sugar, trehalose, turbinado, sucrose, galactose
  • Syrup
    • High fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, crystalline fructose, maple syrup
  • Fruit Juice Concentrates (in some cases*)

*The following conditions exempt fruit or vegetable juice concentrates as Added Sugars:

  • If from 100 percent juices sold to consumers (retail)
  • If used towards the total juice percentage label declaration (§101.30)
  • If used for Brix standardization under §102.33(g)(2)
  • If used to formulate the fruit component of jellies, jams, or preserves (§§150.140 and 150.160) or as the fruit component of fruit spreads

The FDA made this change to encourage consumers to consider the added sugar content in choosing foods. You can see these changes in both The Food Processor Nutrition and Fitness software and on the labels in Genesis R&D.

Check out our FDA Nutrition Facts Label Webinar Series or download our eBook, Cutting Through Labeling Confusion, to learn about these changes and more!

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  1. […] Sugar Sugar has been a contentious subject for the industry, including whether to include added sugars on the nutrition facts label. And new this year, the guidelines offer a quantitative recommendation: Added sugar […]

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