Why is there so much sugar in milk?

In this brief guide, we will discuss “why is there so much sugar in milk?” its various effects and benefits on the health of the people.

Why is there so much sugar in milk?

Foods with a lot of processed sugar add excessive calories to your diet devoid of adding any nutrients. They’ve also been related to gaining weight and metabolic disorders, which raises the susceptibility to diseases or illness. Certain foods, on either hand, contain organic sugars.

That’s why, even though sugar isn’t listed as an ingredient, some goods, such as dairy and non-dairy milk, display sugar amounts on their nutrition labels.

Milk’s major calorie is natural sugars, which give it a subtle sweetness also when sipped straight.

Lactose, often known as milk sugar, is the major source of sugar in cow’s milk and maternal breast milk. Other simple sugars, such as fructose (fruit sugar), galactose, glucose, sucrose, or maltose, are found in dairy-free milk such as oat, coconut, rice, and soy milk.

Keep in mind, however, that sweetened varieties, such as chocolate milk and flavored non-dairy milk, have extra sugar.

What are the sugar contents present in different types of milk?

Human breast milk has 17 gms

Cow milk – 12 gm

Unsweetened rice milk- 13 gms

Chocolate soya milk- 19gms

Vanilla almond milk- 15 gms

What are the health effects of sugar in milk?

Sugar in milk affects the body in several ways and They’re easily assimilated and converted into glucose, your body’s primary source of energy and an essential supply of energy for your brain. Lactose is broken down into galactose and glucose in dairy and breast milk. 

Galactose is notably crucial for the functioning of the central nervous system in newborns and young children. Lactose, if not fully absorbed, acts as a prebiotic fiber, nourishing the good bacteria in the stomach. Unabsorbed lactose also aids in the uptake of nutrients like divalent cations by the body.

Glycemic index and milk

All types of milk contain carbohydrates that can be calculated in the glycemic index. Food with lower glycemic index food levels raises levels of blood sugars at a low rate than high glycemic food. Fructose is an example of low glycemic food which acts in the following manner: it increases levels of triglycerides and starts the formation of gas called bloating to some people. 

While lactose affects blood sugar levels at a low rate yet has a high glycemic index. These are digested quickly and may raise blood sugar levels.

How to avoid milk with added sugars?

If you’re probably drinking milk, whether that’s dairy or nondairy, go for plain types to cut down on processed sugar.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States is revising nutritional information to specifically state the grams of sugar, in order to make it easier to determine which milks to buy and what to ignore.

Common names of added sugars are:

Corn syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar, maltose, fructose

What are alternatives for dairy products?

Since this sugar level of dairy milk is relatively consistent at around 12 grams per cup, the amount of sugar in dairy substitutes can range from little than 2 g of sugar to 10-15 grams of sugar in flavored variants.

Soy milk, for example, contains roughly the same level of protein as regular milk. Unfortunately, some dairy substitutes are low in protein. If it’s a sugary version, it might absorb much like juice, without anything to moderate the increase in blood sugar thereafter.

Rice milk is naturally high in carbohydrates, whereas soy or nut-based milk is low in carbohydrates. As a result, any sugar in these products comes from added sugars.

Consider plain dairy-free milk if you want the least amount of sugar. For the minimum sugar level, reduce the intake that indicates flavored or coated with vanilla, chocolate, or other tastes.

What do you mean by reduced 50% sugar?

Coca-Cola released Fairlife milk in late 2015, something they consider to be superior milk. Fairlife provides 50% more protein, 30% more calcium, and 30% less sugar than regular milk. 

This may attract people seeking foods that seem to be rich in proteins and/or lesser in sugar. Water, vitamins and minerals, protein, fat, and lactose, the glucose in milk, are all separated from Fairlife milk. They can regulate what each element gets into the cheese by processing it.

Since lactose is divided into isolated glucose and galactose, Fairlife milk has half the sugar level of ordinary milk. They also have control over how much is added during the procedure.

Lactose-free milk is suggested for anyone who is lactose intolerant. Furthermore, several medical practitioners believe that spending twice as much for Fairlife over ordinary milk is not worthwhile.

Other FAQs about Sugar that you may be interested in.

How to quickly soften brown sugar

How to make brown sugar soft again? 

How to keep brown sugar from hardening? 

How much is a box of powdered sugar?


Thus,  I have discussed the question “why is there so much sugar in milk?” and the various effects and benefits of the added milk in dairy products.

Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments.


Sugar in Milk: Sources, Amounts, Tips, and More (healthline.com)

Is There Any Sugar in Milk and Is It Bad for You? (caloriesecrets.net)