Sugars are an important source of energy that we all need to go about our daily lives. The most important sugar in the body is glucose. Our brain requires around 130 grams of sugar (glucose) per day to keep functioning. You’ll find glucose in all sorts of foods including fruit, vegetables and honey and glucose is produced when the body breaks down starch from foods like pasta, rice, potatoes or bread.

The other most common sugars found in food and drinks are:

To find out more about what exactly sugar is, head to our what is sugar page.

The different sugars are broken down and used in different ways but the body doesn’t distinguish between sugars used in manufacturing or in the kitchen, and those sugars found naturally in fruits and vegetables. For example, sucrose in an apple is broken down in exactly the same way as the sucrose in your sugar bowl. However, the rate of which the sugar (sucrose) is absorbed can vary depending on if the source is a solid or liquid food, for example, in an apple or apple juice.

The recommended Reference Intake for total sugars as part of your diet is 90g a day for adults. This Reference Intake is based on the requirements for an average female with no special dietary requirements and an assumed energy intake of 2,000 calories. (44)

Head to our Guide to Sugars to find out more about the sugars and calories in some of your favourite foods and drinks.