Does Milk Contain Sugar?

Does Milk Contain Sugar?

Unsweetened milk doesn't contain table sugar, also known as sucrose. Some nondairy types of milk contain sucrose, but cow's milk has lactose, also known as milk sugar. If you carefully read the nutrition facts written on any carton of milk (dairy or nondairy), you will notice different amounts of sugar content. However, if you read the ingredients, you will realize that table sugar isn't a common ingredient. Cow's milk and breast milk have only naturally occurring sugar (lactose), while nondairy kinds of milk might contain added sugar.



Which Type of Milk Should We Choose?

The sugar content in any milk has a direct impact on your health. The main side effect of sugars (natural or added) is weight gain, while added sugars could lead to obesity. [1] Other side effects include heart disease [2] and the risk of cancer [3].

However, some sugars are better than others because they have a lower glycemic index. If you have diabetes or prefer to consume low GI milk, you can enjoy unsweetened soy, almond milk, or cow's milk.

The worse type of milk for your blood sugar levels is rice milk because it contains both glucose and maltose; it also has a high GI.[4]

Unsweetened coconut milk, which contains around 3g of sugar per one cup (240 ml) [5] and has a GI of 41, is also a healthy nondairy alternative. 



Go For Unsweetened

Added sugar doesn't only mean added table sugar, but could also be corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar, barley malt, malt syrup, maltose, and fructose.

All the ingredients mentioned above can lead to health issues when consumed regularly or in excess.

If you aren't aware of the added ingredients in your food in general, you might consume extra sugars without even realizing it. Whenever you go shopping, read the labels, watch out for added sugars, and choose those that have the word "unsweetened" on them.