Free or added sugars are sugar carbohydrates added to food and beverages at some point before their consumption: added carbohydrates as monosaccharides and disaccharides, and more broadly, sugars naturally present in honey, syrup, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
Added sugars can take multiple chemical forms, including sucrose as table sugar, glucose (dextrose), and fructose.
Added sugars contribute little nutritional value to food, leading to empty calories.
Overconsumption of sugar is correlated with excessive calorie intake and increased risk of weight gain and various diseases.
Added sugars may include sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup, both primarily composed of about half glucose and half fructose.
Other types of added sugar ingredients include beet and cane sugars, malt syrup, maple syrup, pancake syrup, fructose sweetener, liquid fructose, fruit juice concentrate, honey, and molasses.
The most common types of foods containing added sugars are sweetened beverages, including most soft drinks, and also desserts and sweet snacks, which represent 20% of daily calorie consumption, which is twice the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO).
In study on the use of caloric and noncaloric sweeteners in some 85,000 food and beverage products, 74% of the products contained added sugar.
Sweetened beverages contain a syrup mixture of the monosaccharides glucose and fructose formed by hydrolytic saccharification of the disaccharide sucrose.
The bioavailability of liquid carbohydrates is higher than in solid sugars, and there is evidence for a positive and causal relationship between excessive intake of fruit juices and increased risk of some chronic metabolic diseases.
The WHO recommend that a maximum of 10% of an individual’s diet should come from free sugars: both adults and children should reduce the intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake.
Sugar consumption is a known cause of dental caries, and that evidence links consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, juices and nectars of greater than 10% of total energy intake with various chronic metabolic diseases including obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes.
The American Heart Association recommended daily intake of sugar for men is 9 teaspoons or 36 grams (1.3 oz) per day, and for women, six teaspoons or 25 grams (0.88 oz) per day.
Overconsumption of sugars in foods and beverages may increase the risk of several diseases.