Account loginFrequently Asked QuestionsBlogBuy Lingo
hero image0
Back to Blog

How to find those hidden added sugars

The National Health Service recommends no more than 30 grams of free (better known as added) sugars per day for adults. When you think of sugar in foods, cakes, biscuits, and other sweets come to mind. But those aren’t the only sources of sugar. Hidden sugar is common in packaged foods and goes by many names. Regardless of the name, they could all cause a glucose spike.(1)

But there’s good news. Even food labels with hidden sugars give us hints to lead us to them. Here are a few of them: 

  1. Many countries are making it easier to identify high-sugar foods with coloured indicators. In the United Kingdom, packaged foods with over 22 grams of sugars per 100 grams are clearly marked and highlighted red. Foods with under 5 grams of sugars per 100 grams are highlighted green. And finally, foods with 5-22 grams of sugars per 100 grams are highlighted orange. Sticking mostly to foods in the green category help you avoid those hidden sugars without having to search up and down the food label.(1)
  2. Look for the words syrup and sugar. Examples include brown rice syrup, corn syrup, and cane sugar. 
  3. Sugar may also be labeled with the ending “-ose”, like glucose, dextrose, fructose, galactose, sucrose, or maltose. 
  4. Other names include: molasses, honey, agave, cane juice, barley malt, and potato starch. 

It’s important to remember that just because foods contain these words, doesn’t mean they’re always bad choices. You can still occasionally enjoy these foods, in the proper portions listed on the food label. Consuming them after you have foods like vegetables, protein, and healthy fats can help decrease their impact on your glucose.

Glucose 101


  1. National Health Service. (n.d.). Sugar: the facts. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from
ALB-00275 v1.0
app image for abbott below abbott icon
app image for lingo spelled out

Lingo 0800 066 8320Monday through Friday: 8:00 – 21:00Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 – 17:00
apple app store
© 2023 Abbott. All rights reserved. Lingo and related marks are marks of the Abbott group of companies. Other marks are the property of their respective owners.Lingo Sensing Technology Unlimited Company is a private Unlimited Company with registered number 731659. Our registered office is at 70 Sir John Rogersons Quay, Dublin 2, D02 R296, Ireland.The Lingo system is not intended for medical use and is not intended for use in screening, diagnosis, treatment, cure, mitigation, prevention, or monitoring of diseases, including diabetes. The Lingo programme does not guarantee that everyone will achieve the same results as individual responses may vary. It is best to speak to your doctor for advise on starting any diet or exercise regime or if you have an eating disorder or a history of eating disorders.Do not use Lingo if you are pregnant. Dietary advice and Lingo Counts may not be suitable for you if you are pregnant.