Sugar has certainly become a popular topic. Surprisingly, most of the sugar we drink and eat is 'hidden' – so we don't always know we're consuming it.
In terms of health risks, we only need to be concerned about ‘added sugar’. That is, sugar that has been added to food or drink.
Plain dairy foods and fruit naturally contain some sugar, but it’s not added. These are nutritious foods which should be included in a healthy diet.
Uncover the sugar in the food and drinks you consume with these tips and tricks:
Identifying the ‘added sugar’ in products can be tricky, but reading food labels is a good starting point.
Firstly, check the ingredients list for sugar. But beware – there are over 40 different names for sugar and some foods can contain different types. Here are some of the common names for sugar to look out for on food labels:
If you see more than one of these names in an ingredients list, see them more than once, or see one of them in the first 4 ingredients, the food is likely to be high in added sugar.
Hot tip: The World Health Organization recommends we limit our added sugar intake to 24 grams of sugar or six teaspoons a day. Recognising 4 grams of sugar as approximately one teaspoon is a good way of keeping an eye on how much sugar we are taking in when checking labels.
Next, look at the nutrition information panel. Added sugar usually isn’t labelled, but you can try to work it out from the total sugar amount.
Any foods with more than 15g sugar per 100g are definitely high in added sugar and should be limited. The best choices are foods with less than 5g sugar per 100g.
It’s trickier when foods contain milk or fruit as well as added sugars.
As a rule of thumb, about 5–6% of the sugar in yoghurt and milk is lactose (sugar in milk) and is naturally occurring, so anything above that is added. Every 100g of plain milk or yoghurt should have around 6 grams of lactose so if it’s higher than this its likely sugar has been added. For fruit-based dishes, check the ingredients list for signs of added sugar.
If you don’t have time to read food labels and want to cut back on added sugar, there are also lots of delicious foods you can choose that don’t contain added sugar. Try to eat more nuts, plain yoghurt (add your own toppings or make it fresh), fruit, vegetables (including raw vegetables as a snack), cheese and eggs.
Another easy way to cut back on added sugar in your diet is to avoid sugary drinks. Sugary drinks of any kind don’t belong in a healthy diet so it’s the perfect place to start. Try our delicious fruity waters for a refreshing change.
To find out more ways you can avoid sugary drinks check out www.cancervic.org.au/healthyweight
Charity ABN: 61426486715
Cancer Council Victoria would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work. We would also like to pay respect to the elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.
What is cancer?
Cancer is a disease of the cells, which are the body’s basic building blocks.
Types of cancer
Information about the diagnosis and treatment of different cancer types.
Learn about cancer treatments and find your local treatment centre.
Genetics and risk
Information about genetics, family history and cancer.
Children, teens and young adults
Information about cancer in children, teens and young adults.
Learn more about advanced cancer.
Cancer information for aboriginal communities.
Early detection offers one of the best chances of cure.
Cut down on alcohol to reduce your risk of cancer.
Be a healthy weight
Convincing evidence links obesity to various cancers.
Eat a healthy diet
We recommend a healthy body weight, regular exercise and a healthy diet.
It's preventable but nearly 2,000 Australians die of skin cancer each year.
Each year 15,000 Australians are diagnosed with smoking-related cancer.
Be physically active
Evidence links physical activity to reduced breast and colon cancer risk.
We're working to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
Managing daily life
Common side effects
Learn about common side effects and ways to manage them.
Learn about common reactions to cancer diagnoses and how to adjust.
Life after treatment
Information about the challenges you may face after treatment.
Learn about eating well during and after cancer treatment.
Learn about the importance of exercise including tips and examples.
Sexuality and intimacy
Dealing with the ways cancer and treatment may affect your sexuality.
Understanding grief and ways to live with the loss of a loved one.
Holidays and travel
Learn about insurance and tips for managing special occasions.
Learning to relax
Tips for ways to cope with the emotional impact of cancer.
Cancer and COVID-19
Learn about cancer and COVID-19, and updates about our support services.
Contact our cancer nurses
Speak to a cancer nurse or email a question.
Facing end of life
Learn about the physical and emotional impacts.
Caring for someone with cancer
Learn more about supporting someone affected by cancer.
Our wig service is free, private and personalised.
Connect and learn
Connect with others and participate in our free education programs.
Legal and financial
Information and support programs related to legal and financial matters.
How to manage a work life and cancer.
Holiday break program
Free short breaks for those affected by cancer and their families.
Cancer services guide
A guide to support services available to Victorians affected by cancer.
Cancer information and support services for Victorian Aboriginal communities.
Scientific work funded in universities, hospitals and research institutes.
Search our research
Search the vast number of projects we've been involved in over the years.
Meet our researchers
Team of researchers who have expanded our understanding of cancer.
Our Forgotten Cancers Program
Improving survival for less common and low survival cancers.
Research ethics and guidelines
Learn about our research ethics and research practice guidelines
Victorian Cancer Registry
We register details of all cancer diagnoses to keep statistics.
Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer
Learn more about the centre and its work.
Cancer Epidemiology Division
VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control
Learn about cancer and COVID-19, and support services for your patients.
Read our latest news for health professionals.
Order free publications
Order a limited number of our free booklets and brochures.
Education and training
Education programs for people who work in a healthcare setting.
Cervical screening providers
Information for Nurse Cervical Screening providers.
Optimal Care Pathways
Review of the Pathways (formerly Patient Management Frameworks).
Network of specialist health care professionals.
Resources and support for Community Health Professionals.
Clinical practice guides
Medical guides for specific cancers.
Financial support referrals
Referral information for legal and financial assistance programs.
Resources for dietitians
To support nutritional management of oncology patients.
Resources and support for general practice.
Support our work including research, cancer support and prevention.
Leave a gift in your Will
Find a fundraising event to suit you.
Volunteer with us
Join the fight against cancer and volunteer with us.
Share your story to help others, give back and be heard.
Become a corporate supporter
Fund cancer research
Fund a specific type of cancer research and earn a research award.
Honour your loved one
Create a lasting space to remember your loved one or give in memory.
Give in celebration
Make a lasting contribution when you celebrate your next special occasion.
Donate a holiday
Cancer Council’s online store offers ultimate sun protection solutions.
Addresses, phone numbers, parking and public transport information.
What we do
Our strategic plan, outlining our mission, values, goals and priorities.
Latest news and stories
News from Cancer Council Victoria and stories of those affected by cancer.
Where the money goes
See what we spent our money on in 2018.
Work with us
Interested in a career with Cancer Council Victoria? Find out more.
Latest media releases and contacts for media liaison.
Find out about our governance and our board.
Publications and videos
Annual review, newsletters, booklets, information sheets and videos.
View our annual reviews which demonstrate our achievements each year.
Snapshots of people and events from our long history.
Culturally diverse communities
We work to reduce the impact of cancer in diverse communities.
Melbourne retail store
Visit us at our St Kilda Road retail store.