Published on December 31, 1969

Caution! Discover The Sugar Hidden In Labels!



Carolina Cespedes Vindas, B.S. Human Nutrition, University of Costa Rica.


Sugar is an important source of energy and is one of the principal ingredients which is used to sweeten and flavor drinks and preparations.

But if it is consumed in excess, it is stored as fat, which can inadvertently cause health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.


Did you know that it is recommended to consume no more than six teaspoons daily?

Yes, only six teaspoons!

It is important to remember that, in addition to the sugar on the table, a large portion of the processed products which are consumed have high quantities of sugar.

Many times we do not realize all the sugar which these products have. Thus, we give you some tips to identify the sugar in a product.


Identify the Added Sugar​

Much attention should be given to this topic since this refers to the added sugar (saccharose).

A teaspoonful of sugar weighs 5 grams, so to know how many teaspoons a product has, the total sugar must be divided by 5 grams.


Pay attention to the List of Ingredients

If we find names such as high fructose corn syrup, saccharose, dextrose, maltodextrin, maple syrup, cane honey, or glucose, these are sugar synonyms and this allows us to know if the product has sugar.

It is recommended to concentrate on the first three ingredients, since they are found in the highest quantity, in order to know if sugar is not in these first three ingredients.


Other Components:


Alcohol Sugars:

Alcohol Sugars are used to add sweetness to foods without adding sugar and provide less energy (calories) than sugar. Some of them are lactitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. 

In spite of the fact that they are called Alcohol Sugars, they don’t contain alcohol. Also, these products usually have fewer carbohydrates, which can help to control the level of glucose in the blood.


They are sugar substitutes, they don’t contribute calories and they have a sweetening power up to 100 times more intense than sugar. There are artificial sweeteners, such as acesulfame k, aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, and neotame. On the other hand, Stevia comes from the sweetest part of the rebaudiana plant, being a natural option to sweeten foods.