What is the difference between no added sugar and sugar-free?

JJ Virgin
Health Education
No sugar added merely means the manufacturer has not added any sugar to the product. It does NOT mean there is no sugar in the product. Fruit juices, for instance, might boast "no sugar added" but check out the nutrition label and you'll probably discover it is pure sugar! Sugar free means there is no sugar in the product, though manufacturers frequently add artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols to "sugar free" foods. Either label -- no sugar added or sugar free -- does not automatically note a "free" or healthy food.
The term "no added sugar" means that the manufacturer has added no sugar to the product. But certain products labeled "no added sugar" contain a large amount of natural sugar (canned fruit is one example) and/or other carbohydrates. Many products labeled "no added sugar" contain artificial sweeteners. Manufacturers can use the term "sugar free" if the product has less than 0.5 grams sugar per serving. But keep in mind that as your servings of that product go up, so do the grams of sugar. For example, three servings of sugar free jelly will contain 1.5 grams of sugar. Perhaps most important, remember that a product may be low in sugar but still very high in other carbohydrates.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.