A list of foods that do not contain sugar

Updated April 25, 2018

Sugar is a crystalline carbohydrate that comes in several forms, the most common of which are sucrose, lactose and fructose. Sucrose is standard cane or table sugar, lactose is the sugar found in milk and fructose occurs naturally in fruit and honey. A sugar-free diet is a carbohydrate-free diet, and foods that are considered starches, including the potato, break down into sugar during digestion, acting the same way in the blood as cane sugar. Nearly all sugar-free foods are from animal sources and are high in protein or fat.


Eggs are a sugarless, nutrient-dense food that is high in protein. Although eggs are high in cholesterol“, most experts now agree that this should not pose a problem for anyone whose blood cholesterol levels are normal”, writes Judith Wills in “The Food Bible”. Egg consumption contributes to intake of niacin, vitamin E and vitamin B2. Hard-boiled or scrambled eggs without added ingredients are two of the purest ways to eat them; using olive oil in the pan won't add sugar, but adding vegetables and cheese does add a negligible amount.


All fish is naturally sugar free. While it has a high content of fat, it has a much higher percentage of polyunsaturated than saturated fat, which helps reduce LDL — or bad — cholesterol. Oily fish is a source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which helps “decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and [slightly] lower blood pressure,” according to the American Heart Association. All fish contain some level of mercury, but larger fish, such as swordfish, shark and king mackerel, have higher levels because they’re further up the food chain.

Meat and poultry

All meat and poultry is also naturally sugar free. Meat includes all types of beef, pork and lamb. Meat also includes venison, rabbit and goat, which are less commonly consumed. In general, meat is a good source of iron, zinc and B vitamins. Some cured meats can have added sugars. Poultry includes chicken, duck, turkey, pheasant and ostrich. It’s generally considered a leaner source of protein than meat, but its skin has a very high content of fat — chicken skin has more fat than beef. Poultry is a good source of niacin, B vitamins and selenium.

Fats and oils

Most fats and oils are completely sugar free, although some margarines contain trace amounts. Examples of fats include butter, lard, margarine and vegetable shortening. Butter is high in saturated fat, which increases LDL cholesterol. Margarine has fewer calories and less fat than butter, but many contain trans fats. Oils include sunflower, corn, peanut, walnut, vegetable, safflower and olive. Plant oils are a source of unsaturated fat and vitamin E. All oils are high in calories and should be used sparingly.

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About the Author

Based just outside Chicago, Meg Campbell has worked in the fitness industry since 1997. She’s been writing health-related articles since 2010, focusing primarily on diet and nutrition. Campbell divides her time between her hometown and Buenos Aires, Argentina.