A food is likely to be high in sugars if one of these names appears first or second in the ingredient list, or if several names are listed.

Brown sugar

Corn sweetener

Corn syrup




Fruit juice concentrate



High-fructose corn syrup

Honey Invert sugar


Malt syrup




Raw sugar




Table sugar

Sugar substitutes

Sugar substitutes such as saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose are extremely low in calories. Some people find them useful if they want a sweet taste without the calories. Some foods that contain sugar substitutes, however, still have calories. Unless you reduce the total calories you eat or increase your physical activity, using sugar substitutes will not cause you to lose weight.


Sugars and other health issues

Behavior. Intake of sugars does not appear to affect children’s behavior patterns or their ability to learn. Many scientific studies conclude that sugars do not cause hyperactivity in children.

Weight control. Foods that are high in sugars but low in essential nutrients primarily contribute calories to the diet. When you take in extra calories and don’t offset them by increasing your physical activity, you will gain weight. As you aim for a healthy weight and fitness, keep an eye on Portion size for all foods and beverages, not only those high in sugars. See INDEX 3.

Choose sensibly to limit your intake of beverages and foods that are high in added sugars.


Get most of your calories from grains (especially whole grains), fruits and vegetables, low-fat or non-fat dairy products, and lean meats or meat substitutes.

Take care not to let soft drinks or other sweets crowd out other foods you need to maintain health, such as low-fat milk or other good sources of calcium.

Follow the simple tips listed in INDEX 19 to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Drink water often.

Choose and prepare foods with less salt

Many people can reduce their chances of developing high blood pressure by consuming less salt. Several other steps can also help keep your blood pressure in the healthy range (see INDEX 22). In the body, sodium-which you get mainly from salt-plays an essential role in regulating fluids and blood pressure. Many studies in diverse populations have shown that a high sodium intake is associated with higher blood pressure.

There is no way to tell who might develop high blood pressure from eating too much salt. However, consuming less salt or sodium is not harmful and can be recommended for the healthy, normal person (see INDEX 23).

At present, the firmest link between salt intake and health relates to blood pressure. High salt intake also increases the amount of calcium excreted in the urine. Eating less salt may decrease the loss of calcium from bone. Loss of too much calcium from bone increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.