If you’re looking at reducing the amount of sugar in your diet, you need to be aware of what the labelling means. Here’s a quick summary.
In Australia, the Code of Practice on Nutrient Claims in Food (CoPoNC) sets out the provisions for “low”, “free”, and “no sugar” claims as:
Sugar Free, No Sugar, Zero Sugar
Foods must contain less than 0.2grams of sugars per 100 grams of edible portion of the food Liquids must contain less than 0.1grams for 100 grams of edible portion
The policy of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission however has a zero tolerance policy in relation to the term “free”. So technically, foods which are labelled “sugar free” and include the small tolerance level of sugar allowed for under the CoPoNC, are in breach of fair trading laws.
No Added Sugar
Foods must not have sugar or sugar containing ingredients added to them. This means that sugars including dextrose, fructose, sucrose, lactose, starch hydrolysate, glucose syrups, maltodextrin and similar products, icing sugar, invert sugar, fruit sugar syrup, honey, malt, malt extract or maltose products, or products derived at a sugar refinery including brown sugar and molasses is NOT added to the food during processing.
“No added sugar” foods can still contain high amounts of natural sugars. Normally, “no added sugar” foods have a low Glycemic Index, which means they don’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar.
Low in Sugar
Foods must contain no more than 5g total sugars per 100grams of edible portion. Liquids must contain no more than 2.5grams per 100 grams of edible portion.