No Added Sugar | A Myth

What does no added sugar on a product label mean to the average person in the store? This labeling in many occasions may have misled more people than informing them.

So, the other day on a facebook group page. I was a part of a discussion that centered in some evaporated milk sold in Nigeria. So in that discussion, the poster had mentioned two brands of evaporated milk sold by one manufacturer. Even more, she said one of the products cost more than the other but the content are the same.

Below is a screenshot of her post

Product Label | Peak And Three Crown Milk Case Study

Certainly, the two products she was talking about were peak milk and three crowns milk. However, I personally do take peak milk both the evaporated and the powder one. Most importantly, I have no complaints whatsoever about these products. And, I must say that to me peak milk taste better than three crowns…

However, the main point here is the labels on some products. Most especially, the labels that says no added sugar

In the discussion, I tried to inform the poster what I have experienced as a product developer and a consumer.

First of all, what they the manufacturer usually write on the label sometimes doesn’t conforms to what the product is. Let me say, the information may not be clear to the consumers.


This is not only peculiar to Nigeria market, some producers always have a way of making their consumers understand a contrary information. Sadly, they will still win you if you sue them. to court and here is why.

Imagine my husband buying a product for our baby because they wrote NO ADDED SUGAR, NO ARTIFICAL COLOUR and NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVOUR on it. For that reason, he believed the product was clean.

Apparently, it is an oversight on his part. Or the product contains all of those things such as colour, flavour and sweetener. Because when the product was tasted, it has some sort of sweetness to it. In addition, it has some colour in it.

Does No Added Sugar Mean A Product Is free Of Sugar?

The answer is no. To break it down, it is like saying “in this jollof rice, there is no added tomatoes, oil? Seasoning cubes and so on.

However, in the same jollof, you made it with stew that was cooked with tomatoes, seasoning cubes oil etc. Technically, You have all the ingredients you denied on the label inside the product.

For sample, in blending that baby food product. They may have used ingredients that contain sugar to make it hence the claim NO ADDED SUGAR. Even more, they may have added other sweetener to the product.

A layman will go purchase it thinking there is no sugar in the product while there are loads of sugar in it

If you sue them to court, they will claim they did not tell you that there is no sugar inside the product. Rather no added sugar… after all, sugar can even occur naturally in some products.

What Does No Artificial Colours And Flavours Mean On A Label?

It means that the said product may have been produced with some natural colours and flavours and not the synthetic (artificial) alternative. In addition, this colours and flavour may be added or occurred in the ingredients naturally.

Now in terms of artificial colours and flavours, some colours and flavours are considered NATURAL while some are considered synthetic.
So they go ahead to use colours labelled as natural in the product meaning many of the product that says no artificial colour no artificial flavour has colours and flavours in them

Example of Natural colour would be curcumin extracted from turmeric or turmeric oil which are generally used in place of quinoline yellow but it might be a more expensive option. While an example of Flavour could be vanilla extract.

In conclusion, Know that when a product is labelled no added sugar, there might be some level of sugar in that product. Also, when the product says no artificial flavour or colour. Always bear in mind that there might be some flacour and colour in the product.

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