The different types of sugar free products can be loosely categorized into baked goods, dairy items, canned, packaged or jarred items, beverages, candy, and pharmacy supplies. In many cases, artificial sweeteners are used in these products to add a sweet taste without sugar. Not all artificial sweeteners are approved for use everywhere in the world, so the same types of sugar free products won't always be available in every country. In some products, refined sugar has simply been omitted from the ingredients. Of course, many natural foods are sugar free because they don't contain the sweetener in the first place.
For instance, nuts and meats that aren't prepared with any type of sugary coating could be considered sugar free as they don't naturally contain the sweetener. Yet, sometimes the term sugar free may be confusing, especially for diabetics and others who must watch their intake of the sweetener. There are natural sugars such as lactose and fructose in some foods. Milk contains lactose, while fruit is rich in fructose. These natural sugars affect blood glucose levels, although they may or may not raise the body's levels as high as refined sugars will.
In the case of canned fruit, which was traditionally made by adding sugar to the fruit's juice to form a syrup, there are versions that are sugar free. Sugar free pineapple, peaches, pears and other canned fruits are packed in their own juice only. Sometimes, canned fruit sugar free products are "water-packed" rather than immersed in juice.
Several different sugar free items are typically sold in drug stores. These often include individual packets of artificial sweeteners designed to replace sugar in coffee and tea as well as some cough or cold remedies. Pharmaceutical companies that manufacture cough syrup and lozenges often create sugar free products similar to their standard versions. Antacids and laxatives may also be available in sugar free varieties.
Likewise, candy companies typically offer consumers both traditional and sugar free selections. Mints, gum, hard candy, gummy bears, jelly beans, caramels and chocolate are all available in sugar free varieties in at least some parts of the world. Depending on the types of artificial sweeteners permitted, chocolates may be the individual, filled type or sold in bars. Some confectionery manufacturers even produce gift boxes of assorted individual sugar free chocolates.
Baked goods such as cookies, cakes, muffins and breads that don't contain refined sugar are also available in many stores or bakeries. In countries where specific artificial sweeteners are allowed, these may be sold in canisters or packages designed to replace sugar in home baking. Jams, gelatin powders and whipped toppings in sugar free versions are often available on grocery store shelves, although the flavor selections may not be as wide as traditional products.
Sugar free ice cream and yogurts are dairy products that grocery stores may carry. Sugar free soft drinks, cocoa, iced teas and drink mixes are popular beverages that are widely available. Fruit punches and flavored waters are other types of sugar free products.