How to Understand Sugar Amounts on Labels

Locate the “Nutritional Information” on the food packaging. Look for “Total Carbohydrates” and “Sugars” as both these will be indicated there. (Incidentally, Trans fats are the unhealthy fats) Remember Fructose and Corn Syrup are some of the worst offenders! Your goal is to aim for foods lower that 5g if possible. Analyze the sugar per 100g because per serving varies from product to product.

The goal for diabetics, whether or not they use insulin, is to keep their blood sugar as steady as possible and to maximize their intake of nutritious carbs and minimize consumption of less nutritious foods. A starting place for diabetics is to have roughly 45 to 60g of carbs per meal and 15 to 30g for snacks. Consult your doctor.

What is an Acceptable Amount of Sugar?

  • High – over 22g of total sugars per 100g
  • Low – 5g of total sugars or less per 100g

*If the amount of sugars per 100g is between these figures, then levels of sugar match accordingly.

*The sugar amount in the nutrition label is the total amount of sugars in the food. It includes added sugars and sugars from ingredients such as fruits and milk. Eggs incidentally have around 1g of sugar per 100g (depending if they are cooked) so these are wonderful nutritional packs straight from nature!

Check the Total Carbohydrates

Carbs are the complex part of sugar so they need to be watched as well. For example quinoa may have only 0.9g of sugar per 100g, but has 64g of total carbs! It is also however high in fibre, so this is where a balanced diet full of a variety of natural foods in your best option for health and weight loss. Moderation is the key when eating high carb or high sugar foods. In saying that, all “junk” foods need to be removed altogether as they have virtually no nutritional value whatsoever!

What is an Acceptable Amount of Carbs?

  • As a guide, if you eat about 2,000 calories a day, you should consume about 250g of complex carbohydrates per day. That’s about 1/8th.

Another example is an average slice of bread. It = approx. 15 grams or 1 serving of carbohydrate.
Although white and wheat bread have a very similar carbohydrate content depending on the brands and labels of course, whole-wheat bread is often best. It usually has more than twice the amount of fiber as white bread, meaning you digest it more slowly, hence your blood sugar will rise more gradually after eating it. 

Here is an example of a food label that doesn’t display sugar per 100g. Always analyze the sugars and total carbs PLUS observe if it’s only per Serving Size.

Let’s look at the following “health bar” packet. It is high in sugars at 25g and that’s not even per 100g but per serving size which is 1 bar! Not healthy, but a way to make it appear that there is less sugar. Also note 33g of total carbohydrates.

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