Sugar

You’ve heard it ever since you were a kid: sugar’s bad for your teeth. Though we may never give up sugar altogether, we can at least control our intake by knowing how much sugar is contained in the different food and drink we consume.

You should also watch your intake of sugar and starch combinations – such as biscuits, cakes and fast foods. Sugar/starch combinations are more cariogenic than sugars alone.

The following list shows the approximate amounts of sugar added to some common types of food and drink. And, bear in mind, natural sugar is often already present in the ingredients.

You’ll be surprised just how much added sugar there is in your life.

Food/drink Serving Teaspoons sugar
Tinned fruit 200 g 6
Fruit yoghurt 200 g 3.5
Breakfast cereals 30 g 1 to 9
Jam 1 teaspoon 1
Honey 1 teaspoon 1.5
Shortbread or tea biscuits 1 0.5
Chocolate coated biscuits 1 1
Madeira cake/Swiss roll 40 gram slice 4
Rice pudding 200 g 4
Ice cream 100 ml/1 scoop 2
Drinking chocolate (powder) 3 teaspoons 1 to 3
Bottled grapefruit juice (sweetened) 250 ml 0.5
Bottled orange juice (sweetened) 250 ml 1
Bottled blackcurrant juice drink 250 ml 6
Cordial (diluted) 250 ml 3
Sports drink 250 ml 4.5
Lemonade 250 ml 3
Cola 250 ml 5.5
Tonic water 250 ml 3
Tomato sauce 2 teaspoons 0.5
Mayonnaise 2 teaspoons 0.25
Chocolate/confectionery 125 g bar 6 to 20
Liquorice allsorts 375 g pack 22
Fruit pastilles 35 g pack 7
Mints 35 g pack 7.5
Toffees 125 g pack 20
Chewing gum 1 stick/piece 1


Sweeteners cause decay
These sweeteners are all equivalent to or greater than sugar. 

  • Brown sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Golden syrup
  • Honey
  • Maltose
  • Sucrose
  • Treacle

Artificial Sweeteners do not cause decay
When you buy a food or drink product, look for unsweetened or artificially sweetened alternatives. 

  • Acesulfame
  • Aspartame
  • Cyclamate
  • Isomalt
  • Lycasin
  • Nutrasweet
  • Saccharin
  • Sorbitol
  • Thaumatin

However, some are suspected to cause other health problems. You may like to investigate the issues before reaching for the artificial sweetener.