A definition of free sugars for the UK

Public Health Nutr. 2018 Jun;21(9):1636-1638. doi: 10.1017/S136898001800085X. Epub 2018 Mar 28.


Public Health England has set a definition for free sugars in the UK in order to estimate intakes of free sugars in the National Diet and Nutrition Survey. This follows the recommendation from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition in its 2015 report on Carbohydrates and Health that a definition of free sugars should be adopted. The definition of free sugars includes: all added sugars in any form; all sugars naturally present in fruit and vegetable juices, purées and pastes and similar products in which the structure has been broken down; all sugars in drinks (except for dairy-based drinks); and lactose and galactose added as ingredients. The sugars naturally present in milk and dairy products, fresh and most types of processed fruit and vegetables and in cereal grains, nuts and seeds are excluded from the definition.

Keywords: Dietary recommendations National Diet and Nutrition Survey; Free sugars; Nutrient intake; UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition.

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees
  • Beverages / analysis
  • Dairy Products / analysis
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / analysis*
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Fruit and Vegetable Juices / analysis
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • United Kingdom
  • Vegetables / chemistry


  • Dietary Carbohydrates