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Whats New

May 4, 2022 - Carbohydrate Nutrition News

Reading Food Labels: New Information on Sugars

Learning about sugars labelling - new information on food packagesHealth Canada has made several changes to the Nutrition Facts table and the List of Ingredients, which you may now be seeing on packaged food labels. Health Canada released final regulations for food labels in December 2016 and a five-year transition period ending in December 2021 was provided for food and beverage companies to make these updates. Due to COVID-19, the federal government has extended the time for verifying compliance, but all companies must be in full compliance no later than December 2023.

Labelling changes include updates to the way sugars information is communicated in the Nutrition Facts table and List of Ingredients

Our infographic “Learning about Sugars Labelling” details these important updates and is available for download.

Sugars Information in the List of Ingredients: 

Sugars-based ingredients are now grouped in brackets in descending order by weight after the name 'Sugars' to help consumers:

  • identify all sources of sugars added to a food, and
  • understand how much sugars there are compared to other ingredients

There are many different types of sugars-based ingredients that you may see grouped after the term “sugars” on the ingredient list: 

Types of Sugars-Based Ingredients Found on the Food Label 
Sources Sugar cane/beet sources Corn sources Other sources

Brown sugar, golden sugar
Icing sugar
Invert sugar
Golden syrup
Turbinado sugar, demerara sugar
Molasses, fancy molasses

(high fructose corn syrup)
Corn syrup
Corn syrup solids
High maltose corn syrup

Agave syrup
Coconut sugar
Date sugar
Fruit juice concentrate
Maple syrup
Rice syrup
Maltodextrin (without fibre)

Below are just a few examples of how the grouping of sugars may give consumers better information about the sugars-based ingredients, by weight, in food products. 

Food Product Example and Ingredient List Comments

Bran cereal with raisins

Ingredients: Whole grains wheat • Raisins • Sugars (Sugar, malted corn and barley syrup) • Salt • Sunflower oil • Calcium pantothenate • Iron

  • There are two different sugars-based ingredients used, including sugar and malted corn and barley syrup.
  • Sugars is the third ingredient listed, meaning that the total weight of all sugars ingredients is the third in descending order by weight. 

salad dressingFruit-berry salad dressing 

Ingredients: Water • Sugars (concentrated white grape juice, strawberry puree, concentrated raspberry juice, concentrated blackberry juice) • White wine vinegar • Canola oil • Dijon mustard (water, mustard seeds, vinegar, salt, turmeric) • Salt • Concentrated lemon juice • Poppy seeds • Spices • Xanthan gum

  • Some ingredients, such as fruit juice concentrate, fruit paste or fruit puree, are not necessarily an obvious “sugars-based ingredient”, so the grouping may help consumers identify these sources of added sugars in their foods.

seasoning mixSeasoning mix 

Ingredients: Sugars (maltodextrin) • Spices • Salt • Corn starch • Natural flavour

  • Other functional substitutes for added sugars, such as maltodextrin, when used to replace sugars must also be grouped to help consumers understand that these are sugars-based ingredients.

Are products “reduced in sugars” or “no sugar added” a better choice? 

Because sugar plays a variety of roles in food products - from sweetness to adding bulk, colour, and texture - other ingredients are often used to replace these functions.

This example compares a regular pre-packaged chocolate chip cookie to a “no sugar added” version: 

Comparison of regular chocolate chip cookie and "no sugar added" chocolate chip cookie

• Calories per cookie are exactly the same.

• Carbohydrates are actually higher in the “no sugar added” cookie. 

• Sugar was replaced with maltitol, a sugar alcohol, and acesulfame potassium, a non-caloric artificial sweetener. 

• The ingredient list will identify the changes in composition of the product and the Nutrition Facts table is important to compare these products for carbohydrate and calorie information.





For more information: 

For a full list of examples of sugars-based ingredients that require grouping, see: