Why doesn’t Cooking Light list sugar in the nutritional analysis of recipes?

October 29, 2013 | By | Comments (7)

sugar occurs in a lot of natural foodsWe’re considering it. The problems are partly logistical. The sugar-content data for many of the whole foods we use in recipes, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, isn’t always available. That makes complete sugar analysis difficult.

Another complication: There is no scientifically agreed upon recommendation for daily sugar intake, and we base our recipes on recommended daily allowances. In part, there’s no sugar standard because sugar occurs naturally in some foods while it’s added to many others. Based on available nutrition information, we found that both mango and fruit-flavored candy contain a double-digit sugar count. Does the sugar render mango unhealthy, or candy a good swap for fruit? Obviously not.

Obesity concerns put the spotlight on the role of added sugars in the diet. Food manufacturers do list total sugars on their labels, but it’s impossible to know how much of a food’s sugar is added and how much occurs naturally. The ingredient list provides some clues (is sugar at the top or near the top of the list?).

Still, the database we use to do our nutrition analysis is getting better, and that will mean we will be able to provide more complete sugar information. For now, though, you can use the recipe itself to get a quick idea—how much added sugar is in the ingredient list? Our desserts and sweets tend to lean on sugar (both natural and added) to compensate for reduced saturated fat, but sensible portion sizes keep sugar—and calories—in check, based on our nutritional standards.

Bottom Line: Stay tuned for more sugar numbers when we can provide them.

Other vexing sugar questions:
Is one kind of sweetener healthier than another?


  1. Pat Lutz

    It is now 2016 and there is still no sugar content in your magazine which I just spent $11.99 for! Very disappointing and there are easily found sugar tables for natural sugar. I will NOT purchase your magazine again, what about diabetic people?

    August 7, 2016 at 11:47 am
  2. Dorothy

    Kimberly Hollan…….Thank you SO MUCH for adding sugar to the nutrition info. Now I can subscribe to Cooking Light again.

    February 25, 2016 at 6:29 pm
  3. Dorothy Ethridge

    I have always loved Cooking Light. In the past I would convert the recipes to Weight Watcher Points Plus. Now they have changed their program again and we need to count calories, fat, sat fat, carbs, fiber, sugar and protein. I checked my 2006 Cooking Light yearbook and it had everything but sugar. Are you including sugar in your magazine nutrition information now?
    Thank you,

    January 7, 2016 at 3:03 pm
  4. Aaron Kase

    WeightWatchers now requires sugar content as an input to the Smart Points program. I sincerely hope that CL moves quickly now to publish sugar content. There are plenty of public sources for natural sugar content information. If precise figures are a concern, it would be best for CL to start with an estimate and mark the value with an asterisk. An estimate would be vastly better than no information at all (or leaving a very cumbersome process of figuring it out to the reader).

    December 10, 2015 at 9:35 am
  5. FDA Proposes a Daily Value Amount for Added Sugars | Cooking Light

    […] Why Doesn’t Cooking Light List Sugar in the Nutritional Analysis of Each Recipe? […]

    July 24, 2015 at 6:45 pm
  6. John Oliver to Big Sugar: #ShowUsYourPeanuts | Cooking Light

    […] So then why doesn’t Cooking Light list sugar in its recipes? Read our answer. […]

    October 28, 2014 at 10:45 am

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