Is there a nutritional difference between added sugar and natural sugar?

The new nutritional labels will show the amount of added sugar, in addition to the total. Is it really important if the sugar was added, or if it was there to begin with? I understand that fruit juice isn’t nutritionally much different from soda, despite one having only added sugar, and the other having only natural sugar.

The nutritional value of any kind of sugar, as measured in a bomb calorimeter, is almost exactly the same, regardless of the exact configuration. (Note that this goes also for, say, cellulose, which isn’t available at all to the human digestional system!)
However, according to what I learned in biochemistry class in college umpteen years ago, as for biologically available carbohydrates, some sugars, like fructose, somewhat bypass the main glycolyse chain and tend to get turned into fat rather than being instantly used as fuel (resulting in water + CO[sub]2[/sub]). So it does matter, to some degree, in what form you take in your carbohydrates.
It’s pretty unclear what is meant by “natural sugar” though. Most fruits contain mainly fructose (hence the name!) Sugar canes and sugar beets contan sucrose, which can be regarded as a mix of equal parts glucose and fructose. Other plants, including maize and potatoes, contain starch, which primarily breaks down into glucose only.

When comparing more similar products such as all-natural apple juice and sugar-added apple juice you can pretty much guarantee there’s more sugar in the sugar-added version.

One can compare the amount of sugar in various products (e.g., soft drink vs fruit juice) by simply looking at the total grams of sugar – never mind how it got there.

But I think the point is to let consumers know how much of sugar really needs to be there (that is, how much is naturally occurring).

For example, compare the dry cereals Trix vs. Kix. They both look identical except for the artificial carnival colors in Trix (while Kix is just plain corn-meal yellow). Kix is mildly sweet, while Trix is dripping syrupy sugary. A look at the labels will show that Trix has a lot more sugar than Kix.

With the new labels, it will be a lot more in-your-face that Trix in only more sugary than Kix because they added all that extra sugar at the factory.

Not really. There’s a natural point of maximum palatability for sugar (around 10% in beverages) and all sweetened beverages cluster pretty tightly around that point. The sugar added version doesn’t contain more sugar, it contains less apple, replacing expensive apple juice with cheap water and sugar.

This didn’t sound right to me, and it doesn’t pan out when I search.

Modern Diet Myth No. 4: Fructose turns to fat

As stated, my source for this is an age-old:) textbook of biochemistry ( Mathews/van Holde, Biochemistry, (c) 1990) and may well be superseded by later findings. There is some rather plausible argument in the text, though, as to why the conversion fructose->fat might take place.

Glucose enters the blood stream and is then immediately available to muscles, the brain and other organs. Fructose goes to the liver for conversion to glucose, it can’t be used directly. The advantage is that it doesn’t spike blood glucose levels the way ingesting glucose does, but the way I understand it is that if you ingest too much fructose your liver will turn a good portion into fat that sticks around your organs, which is not good (much worse than the fat under your skin). But perhaps this has been debunked.

Of course there is no difference between glucose or fructose (or sucrose, which is 50% glucose and 50% fructose) that comes from plant A and the glucose/fructose that comes from plant B. Yes, it’s called “orange juice” and not “sugar cane juice” but it’s all plant juice: 89% water, 10% sugar and 1% other stuff.

Sugar-added apple juice? Is there even such a thing?

Yes there is a difference and it seems to have to do with how it is packaged more than anything else.

Natural sugars are most often both packaged with fiber and inside cells, both of which slow down absorption.

12 ounces of apple juice has 39 grams of sugar, ,while a can of soda has around 40 grams. Why would more sugar even need to be added?

Ambivalid, they usually have to call it apple drink if there’s water and sugar added. But there are plenty of apple drinks out there.

Are you sure the new nutritional labels show added sugar? I’ve only seen nutritional labels that show total sugar (under carbohydrates), and ingredient lists, that list sugar as an added ingredient. Two separate things.

I’ve never seen a nutritional label with two total sugar listings. Here for Tree Top Apple Juice - nutritional label. Here is the nutrition label AND the ingredient list for Snapple Apple.

You can’t tell from the nutritional label how much of that sugar is added. You also can’t tell how much sugar is added from the ingredient list. You can only tell that there is more sugar added than apple juice concentrate and less sugar added than water.

Unless someone can show me a nutritional label that distinguishes added from intrinsic sugar, I’m going to assume they don’t exist.

The changes became law today so you won’t have seen them in stores yet.

However, the new labels make a point of showing an added sugars line.

Perhaps they need to add Fix to that product line, where you can get a week’s worth of sugar Ina single bowl.

Because people want their Fix, of course.

I have my doubts about exactly how sceptical Bill Shrapnel is. From his frequent appearances in the past he appears to be an apologist for the fast food industry and receives funding from Sugar Australia. I note that in his usual fashion the links are to his own site and I note that in one he uses the uncorrected work of other apologists who were later required to correct their findings.

Here is one of many explanations of why fructose metabolism is different:

Does Sugar Cause Heart Disease?

I suspect it makes no difference. I can’t think of any reason why it would matter. Take the fruit juice vs. soda: they both have about the same amount of sugar. One is all added sugar, one is not. Both are unhealthy because of the sugar content.

Footnote 6 goes to a study on sucrose sweetened beverages. It mentions fructose, but a) fructose is half of sucrose and b) accumulation of fat in the liver and elsewhere has no relationship to Ignotus’s claim. It also says nothing about the nutritional differences between added sugar and natural sugar, just that increased amounts of sugar is unhealthy.

Footnote 7 goes to a study of added sugar and has nothing to do with fructose metabolism.

Could you tell me what your claim is so I know how to respond?

To throw in the usual additions - sucrose and high fructose syrup both contain about the same amount of fructose.

It also is not just the amount of fructose that triggers that cascade but over what period of time, and possibly even where in the intestine it gets absorbed. The liver can handle fructose without inducing de novo lipogenesis at a certain rate, and more than that rate seems to trigger it.

Exapno, this may have some of the detail you are looking for.

And here.

DNL = de novo lipogenesis (making new fat)
HFD = High Fat Diet
NAFLD = Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease