Taste can often be your guide when trying to determine whether crackers contain sugar. A serving of plain saltine crackers may have no added sugar, while a serving of sweet-tasting cinnamon graham crackers can hold 10 g of sugar. Check with product manufacturers or study the product label to find out for sure. The sugar content can vary widely between brands and types of crackers.
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Many people need to watch their sugar intake, and there are a host of manufacturers producing sugar-free products, such as sugar-free crackers, cookies and candy. Legally, a product cannot claim to be “sugar-free” unless a serving contains less than 0.5 g of sugars. However, you shouldn’t confuse sugar-free with low-calorie. Just because a product contains little or no sugar, it doesn’t mean it’s not loaded with calories from other sources. Sugar-free products that are not reduced-calorie must contain a disclaimer such as “not a low-calorie food.”
The easiest way to determine if a specific brand of crackers contains sugar is to check the nutrition information on the label. You’ll find the amount of sugar per serving listed under the section marked "Total Carbohydrate." There is no recommended amount of sugar to be consumed each day, but sugars do count toward the broader Recommended Daily Value of carbohydrates. The FDA reports no daily reference value has been established for sugars because there have been no recommendations about how much should be consumed in a day.
You can also check the ingredients listed on the package, but be careful: Sugar can also be added to products through ingredients such as corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, honey and maple syrup. With most crackers, flour tops the list of ingredients. Other ingredients follow by quantity, so the higher you see sugar or some other sugar source listed, the greater the amount of sugar in the cracker.
If you’re trying to eliminate or cut back on the sugar in your diet, be sure to compare products from different manufacturers. There are differences in sugar content even among the same types of crackers. It also pays to compare the types of crackers. A honey graham may offer a sweeter taste than a plain graham cracker but contain fewer grams of sugar than a cinnamon graham. Keep serving sizes in mind too.