Weighing In: What are simple sugars?

Patient Expert

Question: What are simple sugars? Simple sugars, also called simple carbohydrates, are found in refined sugars like table sugar. Sweets like cookies, cakes and candy are high in simple sugars. These types of simple sugars do not provide vitamins, minerals or fiber and the calories that they provide are considered "empty calories". A high intake of these added sugars is associated with cavities and can contribute to high triglyceride levels and heart disease. You can determine whether the food item you are eating has added sugars by reading the food label. Examples of added sugars include:

  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Glucose
  • Honey
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Molasses
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar
  • Syrup

However, not all simple sugars are unhealthy. They are also found in more nutritious foods like fruit and milk. These foods are nutrient dense, and should make up the bulk or you simple sugar intake.