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Is sugar hidden
in food?

The Concern

People can be surprised to learn that sugar is added to some savoury products, such as sauces or ready-made meals, for a range of reasons other than to add sweetness.

For example, when making bread or kombucha the yeast needs sugar to fuel the fermentation process. For more information read Why is sugar in my food?

In Australia, the total sugar content in packaged food and drink must be listed on the label.

Reading and understanding food labels and recognising the different names used for sugar can help you keep track of what you’re eating.

The terms used for sugar are many and varied and can include sucrose, maltose, disaccharide, glucose or fructose. A list is on the page Is sugar natural?

Labels can also name for type of refined sugar used such as caster, demerara or turbinado.

Read on learn about some food labels….

The Health Star Rating

The number of health stars is worked out by analysing the amount of sugar, salt and saturated fat in the food product, as well as the overall energy value in kilojoules and the amount of protein, nuts, legumes, fibre, fruit and vegetables present.

Nutrition Information Panel

A Nutrition Information Panel is also found on the back of the label. The total amount of sugar in a serving size and in a 100g sample is a good guide to check. It’s also a good way to compare similar products.

The list of ingredients

The list of ingredients on the back of the label is given in decreasing order. That means the first ingredient in the list is present in the largest amount. If sugar is listed in the first three or four words in the list it means sugar is the main or one of the main ingredients. Check the amount of Total Sugar on the nutrition information panel to check how much.