How Labeling Is Misleading you: No Sugar Added

Hello, my goal here for this blog is to inform you of some general tips that you can utilize in your daily routine. Tips that will take 2-5 minutes to read and easy to implement. My hope is to help you grow into creating a healthier lifestyle and lasting change.


Today, I would like to spend a couple of minutes helping you understand the labeling of products. Many know by now that labeling of products is regulated only to a certain level and often misleading. I believe that even with the best intentions to create a healthier life, ordinary shoppers can be misled by labeling.


One of the most common misunderstandings I discuss with my patients is labeling. We know that sugar is an inflammatory substance. The "No Sugar Added" label may make one think the product is without any sweeteners; however, investigation of the ingredients will clearly depict any use of an artificial sweetener-even as a replacement.

According to the FDA...


Use of terms such as "sugar free," "free of sugar," "no sugar," "zero sugar," "without sugar," "sugarless," "trivial source of sugar," "negligible source of sugar," or "dietarily insignificant source of sugar." Consumers may reasonably be expected to regard terms that represent that the food contains no sugars or sweeteners e.g., "sugar free," or "no sugar," as indicating a product which is low in calories or significantly reduced in calories… The food contains no ingredient that is a sugar or that is generally understood by consumers to contain sugars unless the listing of the ingredient in the ingredient statement is followed by an asterisk that refers to the statement below the list of ingredients, which states "adds a trivial amount of sugar," "adds a negligible amount of sugar," or "adds a dietarily insignificant amount of sugar."


For example, I took a photo of this ketchup bottle with the claim of "No Sugar Added," meeting FDA regulations, but can be mistaken by a consumer for having no sweetener. Clearly, in the ingredients, you would see the sugar substitute sucralose as an addition. To make things better, Heinz adds a disclaimer on the bottle with an asterisk- "NOT NORMALLY FOUND IN KETCHUP." In case you are unaware. Thank you, Heinz.

In summary, be careful to not be fooled by labeling. Reading the ingredients is always an excellent way to help establish what is in the food that you are eating. Be informed. Be vigilant. If you are concerned, confused, or have questions, reach out; I am here to help you on your journey.


Yours in health,

Dr. Matthew Budavich, DC


Cited source:

“CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21.”,