Reduce your sugar intake

Here you will discover the different types of sugars and which hidden sugars are in products.


The difference between fast and slow sugars.

Sugar is quickly relegated into the category of ‘bad’ food; it’s unhealthy and addictive. However, that’s not always the case. In fact, the opposite is true! Sugar contains essential substances such as glucose and fructose. What counts is mainly the speed at which sugar is absorbed by the blood. In this respect, fast sugars are not good.

The first thing you should know is that sugars derive from carbohydrates that you absorb from food. That’s why nutrition labels often list, ‘Carbohydrates: Sugars’.

The sugars you absorb from carbohydrates are divided into two subgroups – simple and complex sugars. The ‘Sugars’ are the simple, fast sugars that you want to avoid.


Example: nutritional value per 100 grams


Per 100 grams


415 kcal


11,7 g

  • Saturated                                     

2,3 g


64,6 g

  • Sugars

22,0 g


9,4 g


0,8 g

This begs the question, ‘Why call them slow and fast sugars?’ Well, these terms are used to illustrate the impact they have on your health. More specifically, they highlight the effect on your blood sugar level. Your blood sugar level is the amount of glucose in your blood, and your body requires glucose to generate energy.

A stable blood sugar level keeps you fit and full of energy; what’s more, it also helps you maintain a stable weight. Fast sugars are rapidly absorbed by the body, causing your blood sugar levels to spike. The body compensates by releasing insulin to bring that peak back down. However, that release causes your blood sugar level to drop below normal, making you crave those fast sugars more. In a nutshell, fast sugars lead to an unstable blood sugar level. These fast sugars are mainly found in soft drinks, sweets, and other products with a high sugar content.

Slow sugars, in contrast, are absorbed gradually by your body. The result is that the blood sugar level rises slowly, keeping it stable. Slow sugars are mainly found in vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole-grain products.


Summary tabel:

Fast sugars

Slow sugars

Simple sugars

Complex sugars

Quick absorption → blood sugar level spikes and is unstable.

Slow absorption → blood sugar level rises slowly and remains stable.

Crisps, biscuits, sweets, sugary cereal, table sugar, soft drinks, white rice, white bread, etc.

Muesli, fruit, vegetables, sweet potatoes, whole-grain or brown rice, etc.



Find out what hidden sugars lurk in products

Look at labels on foodstuffs to find out how much sugar they contain. Check out the nutrition information as well as the list of ingredients. Sugars are listed under carbohydrates in the nutrition information. Look under ‘Carbohydrates’ for ‘of which Sugars’. This latter indicates the product’s sugar content. Producers are masters of cleverly avoiding the word sugar, substituting it with all kinds of other terms. You can find these in the list of ingredients. Compare several different labels to make an informed selection.

The ingredients below all constitute sugar:

  • Agave nectar
  • Agave syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Light brown sugar
  • Beet sugar
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Caramel
  • Dextrose
  • Grape sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Fructose
  • Fructose syrup
  • Glucose
  • Glucose-fructose syrup
  • Glucose syrup
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Honey
  • Rock candy
  • Coconut sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Palm sugar
  • Pearl sugar
  • Cane sugar
  • Sucanat
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar


Should I use sweeteners instead?

There are sweeteners that are 100% calorie-free, but beware – it’s not true of all sweeteners. Try to avoid sweeteners as well, where possible. You’ll remain conditioned to the sweet taste, despite your desire to beat your cravings. By eliminating sweetness from your palate, you’ll discover the pure, natural taste of products and will automatically no longer miss it.

Sweeteners may include:

Calorie-free: Acesulfame-K (Ace-K), Aspartame, Cyclamate, Glycyrrhizin, Trehalose, Saccharin, Stevia, Sucralose, Sukrin, Thaumatin, Tagatesse.

Contain calories (but less than regular sugar): Isomalt, Lactitol, Maltitol, Neohesperidine C.

If you want to use sweeteners anyway, when baking, for example, these sweeteners can withstand high temperatures: Aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Cyclamate, Saccharin, Stevia, Sucralose