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How to Read Nutrition Labels


If added sugar isn’t listed in the nutrition facts, you can look for it in the ingedients list, where it often hides under sneaky aliases. Scan for the words “sweetener,” as in corn sweetener; and “syrup,” as in brown rice syrup or malt syrup. Also watch for words ending in -ose, like “glucose.” 

If added sugar is one of the first two ingredients in a product, think twice about bringing it home. Ingredients are ordered by volume, so the higher up on the list an ingredient is, the more of it a product contains. This is an easy way to spot foods that include a lot of added sugar. (Naturally-occurring sugar won’t be listed in the ingredients.)

But this method isn’t foolproof. “Sometimes, manufacturers split up sugar into dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, cane crystals and so on, so none of them are the first ingredient, even though if you added them up, they would be,” explains Walter Willett, MD. “You might consider avoiding any product if there is sugar in more than one form.”

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