Nutrition: Do you know how much sugar is in your milk?
If you’ve ever examined the nutrition label on a carton of milk, you’ve probably noticed that most kinds of milk contain sugar.
The sugar in milk isn’t necessarily bad for you, but it’s important to understand where it comes from and how much is too much so that you can choose the best milk for your health.
This article explains milk’s sugar content and how to identify products with too much sugar.
Many people try to avoid added sugar and for good reason.
Foods high in added sugar contribute extra calories to your diet without providing any additional nutrients. They’re also linked to weight gain and metabolic syndrome, a condition that increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
However, some foods contain naturally occurring sugars.
That’s why some products, such as dairy and nondairy milks, show sugar content on their nutrition panel even if sugar isn’t included as an ingredient.
These natural sugars are the main carbohydrate in milk and give it a lightly sweet taste even when drunk plain.
In cow’s milk and human breast milk, the sugar comes primarily from lactose, also known as milk sugar. Nondairy milks, including oat, coconut, rice, and soy milk, contain other simple sugars, such as fructose (fruit sugar), galactose, glucose, sucrose, or maltose.
However, keep in mind that sweetened versions, including chocolate milk and flavored nondairy milks, harbor added sugar as well.