The Basics

Sugar terminology

Below is a table of definitions for the most commonly used terms when discussing sugars and carbohydrates.

Glossary

 Term

Definition 

Added sugar

Sugar that is added to food during manufacture, processing, cooking or at the table.

Free sugar 

Defined by the World Health Organisation as all monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer plus any sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices.

Total sugar 

A measure of all naturally occurring sugars and sugars added to a food product. Measured using laboratory methods.

Monosaccharide

A single sugar unit, otherwise known as a monomer. Glucose, fructose and galatose are examples.

Disaccharide

Two single 'sugar' monomers covalently bonded. Sucrose and lactose and the most commonly known.

Polysaccharide

Many sugar units joined together.

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