Does Milk Have Added Sugar?

Question: Does milk have added sugar?

Answer: Traditional white (plain) milk does contain sugar but it is not added sugar. White milk naturally contains a sugar known as lactose. Lactose is made up of two sugars known as glucose and galactose. The body produces an enzyme called lactase in the small intestine which breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose. People who are lactose intolerant do not produce enough lactase to break down the lactose. There are also very minimal concentrations of other sugars in milk but lactose is by far the most prevalent.

Below you will see that the 2 percent milk nutrition facts reflect 12 grams of sugar. While this may seem like a lot, it is all natural sugar. You can tell by looking at the ingredients, which do not show sugar as an ingredient.

Plain (White) Milk, 2%

Nutrition Facts
servings per container
Serving size 1 Cup (240mL)

Amount per serving
Calories 120
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 125mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 12g
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 8g

Vitamin D 5mcg 25%
Potassium 390mg 9%
Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 30%
Vitamin A 10%
Not a significant source of calcium, or iron.

The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

 

Ingredients: Reduced Fat Milk, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3

Flavored Milk Sugar Content & Ingredients

Chocolate milk and other flavored milk products do commonly contain added sugar. Take a look at the below nutrition facts and ingredients for chocolate and strawberry milk. Both of the products contain sugar as an ingredient unlike plain milk. How much added sugar? The manufacturers do not disclose the amount of added sugar on the nutrition labels. However, we can estimate the added sugar by taking the sugar in flavored milk and subtracting the amount in plain milk. So, for the strawberry milk there would be about 12 grams of added sugar (22 grams in strawberry milk minus 12 grams in plain milk).

TruMoo 1% Lowfat Chocolate Milk

Nutrition Facts
servings per container
Serving size 1 Cup (240 mL)

Amount per serving
Calories 140
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2.5g 4%
Saturated Fat 1.5g 8%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 180mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 18g
Includes ?g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 8g

Vitamin D 5mcg 25%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 420mg 10%
Calcium 25%
Vitamin C 2%
Vitamin A 10%
Not a significant source of calcium.

The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Ingredients: Lowfat milk, sugar, contains less than 1% of: cocoa (processed with alkali), corn starch, salt, carrageenan, natural flavor, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D3.

Nesquik Lowfat Strawberry Milk

Nutrition Facts
servings per container
Serving size 1 Cup (240 mL)

Amount per serving
Calories 150
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2.5g 4%
Saturated Fat 1.5g 8%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 10mg 4%
Sodium 130mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 22g
Includes ?g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 8g

Vitamin D 5mcg 25%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 400mg 9%
Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 40%
Not a significant source of calcium.

The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Ingredients: Lowfat milk with vitamin a palmitate and vitamin d3 added, sugar, less than 2% of modified corn starch, cellulose gel, calcium carbonate, gellan gum, natural and artificial flavors, cellulose gum, carrageenan, citric acid, salt, red 3.

Conclusion

In conclusion, stick with plain milk if you want to avoid added sugar in your milk. Flavored milk has added sugar and additives so you may want to drink it sparingly if you are looking to avoid these ingredients. Not all flavored milk products have the same ingredients. Some have much higher sugar and additives than others. If this is a concern for you, be sure to read the labels and do some comparisons of products at the store.