Sugar Part 2: The Many Names for Sugar Hiding on Labels and in Our Foods

sugar part 2_irf_smallSugar consumption has grown exponentially in the last 40 years. The average American eats 22 teaspoons of added sugar each day. This adds 350 calories a day. Replacing water, drinks of choice for many people are soft drinks, fancy “coffee drinks”, energy drinks and fruit juices and fruit drinks. Kids are driven to eating sweetened cereal from the overload of commercials they see on TV. Many “good for you” ingredients are covered in chocolate or processed with added sugar; chocolate covered blueberries, dried cranberries sweetened with sugar, granola bars with honey and sweetened yogurt topping, to name a few. You would be hard pressed to find a processed food label these days that does not contain some form of sugar. Back in the 80’s with the “low fat” campaign to make us all healthier, fats were replaced with sugars to boost the flavor appeal.

The American Heart Association recommends that women eat no more than 100 calories equal to 6 teaspoons equal to 24 gms of sugar and men eat no more than 150 calories equal to 9 teaspoons equal to 36 gms of sugar per day. These added sugars provide no nutritional value to the diet.

The nutritional label is required to list the amount of sugar in a product, but it is NOT required to list ADDED sugars. It is a good rule of thumb to avoid products which list sugar as an ingredient as the first or second ingredient in the list. The problem with this is that food companies can list the other names for sugar that they use in smaller amounts which can be very deceiving.

I have researched over 257 other names for sugars listd on labels. Here are a few to look for: Agave nectar, Brown sugar, Cane crystals, Cane sugar, Corn sweetener, Corn syrup, Crystalline fructose, Dextrose, Evaporated cane juice, Fructose, Fruit juice concentrates, Glucose, High-fructose corn syrup, Honey, Invert sugar, Maltose, Malt syrup, Maple syrup, Molasses, Raw sugar, Sucrose, Syrup. I will post a more complete list in an upcoming post.

Healthwise, perhaps consuming “Organic” might spare you from the additives used in conventionally grown and processed raw products, but whether organic or otherwise, sugar behaves the same way in the body.

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