Avoiding Added Sugar in our Diets
In our first post, we talked about sugar’s role in making the American diet so unhealthy. To achieve a healthier lifestyle, resolve to drastically reduce sugar from your diet. The good news is we aren’t talking about giving up cookies and cake for good! Go ahead and indulge on special occasions. But, what we’re talking about is the sneaky added sugar that you may be consuming without even really knowing-or enjoying-it!
Detecting added sugar
Added sugar is hiding in 74% of packaged foods¹. If you look on the label of the foods you are buying, you may be shocked at how many contain added sugar. There are no proteins, essential fats, vitamins or minerals in sugar.² By replacing sugars and variations of sugars with nutrient dense vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils you gain nutrients that will help you look and feel better. Additionally, these foods have a wonderful bonus - FIBER. “Every diet that works has two things: low sugar, high fiber.” ³
The first step in reducing the sugars and artificial sugars you consume is to be able to recognize the names on product packaging.
Sugar has at least 61 names. That is a lot to remember, but there are some clues for you in the names:
- Look for the word itself, i.e. cane sugar, invert sugar and golden sugar
- Look for words that end in “ose”, i.e. glucose, fructose and lactose
- Look for syrups, i.e. corn syrup, carob syrup, rice syrup
- Look for malts⁴ , i.e. barley malt, malt syrup, maltodextrin
The 61 names for sugar are listed below. The list may be too long to memorize, but if you become familiar with it the names will start to jump out at you when you read the packages. Remember -as a consumer you can choose what you purchase and what you eat. If you do not know what an ingredient is, and don’t feel comfortable not knowing what it is, you can decide whether you want to purchase it or not.
Look for other foods that have a short ingredient list with words you recognize and you know are good for you. Just a reminder, if a product doesn’t sell well, the retailer will put something in its place that does. You can impact what is in the stores you shop with your purchases.
Next we will talk about artificial sugars in processed foods and their impact on your health.
61 Names for Sugar¹:
- Agave nectar
- Barbados sugar
- Barley malt
- Barley malt syrup
- Beet sugar
- Brown sugar
- Buttered syrup
- Cane juice
- Cane juice crystals
- Cane sugar
- Carob syrup
- Castor sugar
- Coconut palm sugar
- Coconut sugar
- Confectioner's sugar
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- Corn syrup solids
- Date sugar
- Dehydrated cane juice
- Demerara sugar
- Evaporated cane juice
- Free-flowing brown sugars
- Fruit juice
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Glucose solids
- Golden sugar
- Golden syrup
- Grape sugar
- HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)
- Icing sugar
- Invert sugar
- Malt syrup
- Maple syrup
- Palm sugar
- Powdered sugar
- Raw sugar
- Refiner's syrup
- Rice syrup
- Sorghum Syrup
- Sugar (granulated)
- Sweet Sorghum
- Turbinado sugar
- Yellow sugar
About the author:
Debi Bernish is a self-described “good carb ninja”, has a a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Food science and is passionate about helping people make smarter eating choices for a healthier life. She will be a regular guest contributor to Supplementally Speaking, sharing nutrition insights and delicious recipes.
1 “New Science Website Reveals the Truth About Sugar.” Mercola.com, articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/12/10/sugar-processed-foods.aspx.
2 “10 Reasons Why Sugar Is Bad For You.” Healthline, Healthline Media, healthline.com/nutrition/10-disturbing-reasons-why-sugar-is-bad.
3 Jakarta Post. “Eating Fat Doesn't Make You Fat; Sugar Does.” The Jakarta Post, thejakartapost.com/life/2017/08/04/eating-fat-doesnt-make-you-fat-sugar-does.html.
4 “What Is Malt?” What Is Malt? - How to Brew, howtobrew.com/book/section-1/malt-extract-and-beer-kits/what-is-malt.
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