Carbohydrate: Facts about free sugars

High intake of sugar not only cause tooth problems but also obesity and other health issues. Free sugars are the hidden risks in your daily diet that lead to health problems.

Free sugars are:

  • Added sugars in drinks or food products. Such as cereals, soft drinks, cake, yoghurt and biscuits. Sugars might be added during the food processing at the factory, or by the baker at the bakery shop or by yourself at home.
  • Sugars which naturally found in foods like honey, vegetable juices, fruit juices and syrup. These are considered as free sugars as their food structure has been changed and these sugars are ‘freed’.

Sugars that are naturally found in fruit, vegetables and dairy-based products (eg. milk) does not consider as free sugars. However, these sugars still contribute to your total sugar intake.

Recommended daily intake of total sugar:

The recommended daily intake of total sugar is less than 10% of your total energy intake by Health Promotion Board. For example, if your daily calorie intake is 2000kcal then your total sugar intake should be 50g (10 teaspoons) of sugar. However, additional cutback to 25g (5 teaspoons) of sugar is greatly encouraged as this will bring more significant benefits to your health.

Tips to cut down sugar in food & drinks:

  • Replace soft drinks with sparkling water mixed with lemon or mint
  • Reduce sugar or opt for sugarless hot drinks, add low-fat milk instead
  • Fruit juices without added sugar still contain a high level of sugar, limit your intake less than 150ml every day or eat whole fruit instead
  • Read the nutrition label and pick the product with the lowest total sugar level
  • Try to go for sliced strawberry or banana as your toast spread rather than serving with chocolate, honey or jam on your toast.
  • Purchase unsweetened cereals and avoid those flavoured with honey or chocolate

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Reference: 2020. Sugar: The Facts. [online] Available at: <> Choose Beverages and Food with Less Sugar [online] Available at: <,such%20as%20cakes%20and%20candies>

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