Low sugar, no added sugar, sugar free. So many different terms but what do they all mean? It’s easy to get lost and confused with all the different labels, and with the UK sugar tax coming into action, we thought we would help explain them.


Sugar Free

Let’s start with the easiest one – sugar free. For a product to be labelled sugar free, it’s sugar content must only be  0.5g or less per 100g, so basically a very minimal amount.

However refined sugar free is not the same, as here it could mean honey or maple syrup was used instead of refined cane sugar so the product would still have sugar.


No Added Sugar

Now, for no added sugar. This one is a bit trickier as the term doesn’t mean the product contains no sugar at all, but instead no sugar has been added during processing.

For example, fruit contains natural occurring sugars. When a manufacturer makes fruit juice they may add more sugar to it, but if they don’t then they may use the the term “no added sugar” on the label. However, this does not mean that the fruit juice does not contain any sugar at all, so it mustn’t be confused with sugar-free! When you are looking to reduce your sugar intake it’s best to buy the no added sugar fruit juice.


Low Sugar

Finally, low sugar – this is when a product contains 5g or less per 100g of sugar. This is still confusing, but this is where we can really help.

Using guidelines set out by the Food Standards Agency and the Department of Health, we have a Low Sugar filter on our database and app. Use this filter to help find the best ‘Low Sugar’ products and recipes.


As for the Sugar Tax…

If you are worried about making sure you only have drinks that are below the new UK sugar tax levy on drinks, we have that covered with our Low Sugar filter too. We follow the EU regulations on low sugar for liquids of 2.5g of sugar per 100ml or less. This means our filter only allow drinks which are lower than the sugar tax levy.

UK Government Guidelines

It’s currently recommended that adults eat no more than 30g of sugar a day – this is the equivalent of 7 teaspoons. Children should be eating even less than this – no more than 19g (5 teaspoons) for kids aged 4 – 6, and 24g (6 teaspoons) for 7 – 10 year olds. And while you may not eat or drink a lot of sweet things, you’d be surprised at how much of the sweet stuff can sneak into your healthy meals.

If you’d like more information on the UK guidelines around sugar, check out our infographic below. For a more detailed breakdown, the following NHS pages have some excellent tips and information: