What Does Total Count Of Sugars, Including NLEA Mean?

Total sugars on the nutrition facts label include sugars naturally present in many foods and beverages, such as sugar in milk and fruits, as well as any added sugars that may be present in the product.

Sugar consumption is a major health problem worldwide.

Global dietary recommendations continue to emphasize the importance of reducing added sugar intake because doing so is one of the most effective strategies for combating sugar-related diseases.

Consuming sugary foods or drinks too frequently can result in an excessive calorie intake, potentially leading to weight gain and obesity.

Obesity is a significant health concern, and examining the types of foods and drinks that contribute to sugars in our diet may assist in reducing our overall intake.

Table of Contents

What Is NLEA?

NLEA stands for the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990.

It provides the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with specific authority to require nutrition labeling of most foods regulated by the Agency and to regulate health claims on food labels and in food labeling. (source)

NLEA mandates that food labels inform consumers about the amount of fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, trans fat, and calories they are consuming.

This law was enacted in response to scientific evidence that Americans are consuming more calories than they should be, and are becoming increasingly obese.

Total Sugar On The Nutrition Facts Label

Total sugar on a nutrition fact label refers to total sugars that are naturally occurring in the product, and which have been added during the production of the food.

This includes sugars that have been added as ingredients during the cooking process, as well as sugars that naturally occur in the raw ingredients used to produce the food.

Sometimes there is also a percentage number of the daily value.

The problem with these daily values for total sugar is that no Daily Reference Value has been established for total sugars because no recommendation has been made for the total amount of sugar to eat in a day.

Added sugar is often specified as a percentage of the total value.

The Harmful Sugar

Research shows that a high intake of total sugars, added sugars, and fructose are harmful to you. (source )

Sugar consumption, especially added sugar, has been indicated as a major cause of several chronic diseases (source ) prevalent in America.

Examples of chronic diseases indicated

Added Sugar

The major source of added sugar in the American diet comes from commercially sweetened products like sodas, sports drinks, and fruit drinks.

But if you look at the ingredients, the source of the added sugars can be a bit complicated.

In the food industry, added sugars are anything that is added to a product after it is cooked. So that includes things like high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, or any other ingredient that is added to a product after it is cooked.(source )

Foods You Can Find Sugar In

You find Sugar in many of our everyday foods.

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated top-ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most total sugar, we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top-ranked list of foods that contain Sugars (Total incl. NLEA).

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

Author Image of Sara Niemelä

Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.