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How much sugar is in milk

If you’ve ever studied the nutrition label of any milk carton, you’ll have noticed that most milk contains sugar. The sugar in milk isn’t necessarily harmful, but it’s important to know the source and amount of sugar for your health.

How much sugar is in milk

Almost all of us now know that added sugar is seriously harmful to health and we try to avoid added sugar in products. . Foods high in added sugars add extra calories to your diet without providing any nutrients. It also causes weight gain and metabolic syndrome, a condition that increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Some foods naturally contain sugar. For this reason, even if sugar is not added to some products, the sugar content appears on the nutrition labels.

These natural sugars in milk are the main carbohydrates in its content and give a slightly sweet taste even when drunk plain. In cow’s milk and human breast milk; sugar comes from lactose, also known as milk sugar. Milk of non-animal origin, such as oat, coconut, rice and soy milk, contains other simple sugars such as fructose (fruit sugar), galactose, glucose, sucrose or maltose.

Be aware that sweetened milks such as chocolate milk and flavored milk contain added sugar.

The sugar content of milk varies considerably depending on the source and how it is made. 1 cup (240 ml) of breast milk contains 17 grams of carbohydrates, while cow’s milk contains 12 grams, chocolate cow’s milk 23 grams (with added sugar). Alternatively, unsweetened almond milk produced from plant origin does not contain any carbohydrates.

Health effects of milk sugar

The sugar content in all types of milk has many effects on your health. It is quickly digested and turns into glucose, which is the main energy source for your body and an important source of energy for your brain. Lactose in cow’s milk and breast milk is broken down into galactose as well as glucose. Galactose is especially important for central nervous system development in infants and young children.

Lactose, when fully digested, functions like prebiotic fiber, feeding the healthy bacteria in your gut. Undigested lactose also helps increase your body’s absorption of certain minerals, such as calcium and magnesium.

Since all types of milk contain carbohydrates, they can be measured on the glycemic index (GI); they show how much a food affects blood sugar levels. Low GI foods raise blood sugar levels more slowly than high GIs. Lactose, the sugar in cow’s milk, affects blood sugar less significantly than other types of sugar.

How to detect added sugar

When buying milk, you should aim for sugar-free varieties that will minimize your intake of added sugar. Nutrition labels should be read thoroughly. If you see any form of sugar in the ingredient list, that means it has been added.

Common names for added sugar are:

– Corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup

– Brown rice syrup

– Coconut sugar

– Barley malt

– Malt syrup

– Maltose

– Fructose

You can also search for “sugar free” on the label .


All milk contains sugar, but there is no reason to avoid the natural sugars in plain milk. Plain milk is an excellent source of carbohydrates that can help nourish your brain and body and may even provide additional benefits. You should always avoid milk with added sugar due to its adverse health effects.

Dyt. Serkan Sıtkı Şahin

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