Over recent years, a debate has arisen over the amount of sugars people should eat and the potential effects sugars may have on health.

Supporting the provision of clear information on sugars in line with today’s established scientific evidence, CEFS, together with the other sector associations CAOBISCO, PROFEL, Starch Europe and UNESDA, produced the following brochure entitled “Facts about Sugars”. The aim of this initiative is to contribute to an objective, fact-based and informed debate on sugars in the EU.

To download the Facts about Sugars brochure, please click here.

Here are 9 basic facts about sugars:

1. Sugars provide a source of energy required by the body to function.

2. Sugars are found in nature. All green plants providing foodstuffs, including fruits and vegetables, grains, as well as milk and honey, contain naturally-occurring sugars.

3. Many types of sugars are found in the diet on a daily basis. These include, for example, glucose, fructose, sucrose, and lactose. When the term ‘sugar’ is used, people are referring to ‘sucrose’ (table sugar[1]).

4. The human body does not differentiate between sugars naturally present in foods and added sugars.

5. In the EU, sugars must be labelled as total sugars[2] according to Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers.

6. In addition to bringing sweetness, sugars have many functions in foods, such as helping provide taste, texture and colour, extend shelf-life, and ensure safety and quality. No other single ingredient can replace all the functions of sugars in every food and drink.

7. Scientific studies in humans do not support the hypothesis that sugars may be physiologically addictive.

8. Frequency of consumption of fermentable carbohydrates[3] and lack of oral hygiene are the most important factors influencing the development of dental caries.

9. Sugars can be part of a healthy and balanced diet. Excessive consumption of calories from any source, combined with insufficient energy expenditure, is associated with an increased risk of overweight, obesity and non-communicable diseases.


[1] Table sugar is produced from sugar beet or sugar cane.

[2] Total sugars: this includes all sugars, whatever their food sources (whether added or naturally present in foods).

[3] Fermentable carbohydrates are carbohydrates or carbohydrate mixtures as consumed in foods or beverages that lower the plaque pH by bacterial fermentation in the mouth.