Sugar

It’s been all over the news: New research suggests that calories from added sugars are more detrimental to our health than calories from other sources. But good luck if you want to try to track how much added sugar you’re eating with any accuracy—it’s not required for food manufacturers to list “added” sugars in grams on food labels, so there’s almost no way to know when you’re getting natural sugars, from fruit or milk, for instance, and when you’re getting added sugars.  And those added sugars can go by any one of dozens of names.

There’s also no federally suggested limit on how much added sugar we should consume per day. From the Harvard School of Medicine:

“The American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended that Americans drastically cut back on added sugar, to help slow the obesity and heart disease epidemics. The AHA’s suggested added sugar threshold is no more than 100 calories per day (about 6 teaspoons or 24 grams of sugar) for most women and no more than 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams of sugar) for most men. But remember—your body doesn’t need to get any carbohydrate from added sugar. A good rule of thumb is to skip products that have added sugar at or near the top of the list—or have several sources of added sugar sprinkled throughout the list.”

But you’ll need a thesaurus to even begin to recognize all the different names sugar can hide under on food labels.  A good rule of thumb is to look for words that end in -ose, and anything that sounds like sugar (syrup, molasses, cane juice) almost certainly is.  

Here are 50 of the most common aliases for sugar:

  1. Barley malt
  2. Beet sugar
  3. Brown sugar
  4. Buttered syrup
  5. Cane juice crystals
  6. Cane sugar
  7. Caramel
  8. Corn syrup
  9. Corn syrup solids
  10. Confectioner’s sugar
  11. Carob syrup
  12. Castor sugar
  13. Date sugar
  14. Demerara sugar
  15. Dextran
  16. Dextrose
  17. Diastatic malt
  18. Diatase
  19. Ethyl maltol
  20. Fructose
  21. Fruit juice
  22. Fruit juice concentrate
  23. Galactose
  24. Glucose
  25. Glucose solids
  26. Golden sugar
  27. Golden syrup
  28. Grape sugar
  29. High-fructose corn syrup
  30. Honey
  31. Icing sugar
  32. Invert sugar
  33. Lactose
  34. Maltodextrin
  35. Maltose
  36. Malt syrup
  37. Maple syrup
  38. Molasses
  39. Muscovado sugar
  40. Panocha
  41. Raw sugar
  42. Refiner’s syrup
  43. Rice syrup
  44. Sorbitol
  45. Sorghum syrup
  46. Sucrose
  47. Sugar
  48. Treacle
  49. Turbinado sugar
  50. Yellow sugar

Here are some suggestions from the Mayo Clinic on reducing the amount of added sugar in your diet: 

  • Drink water or other calorie-free drinks instead of sugary, nondiet sodas or sports drinks. 
  • When you drink fruit juice, make sure it’s 100 percent fruit juice — not juice drinks that have added sugar. Better yet, eat the fruit rather than juice.
  • Choose breakfast cereals carefully. Although healthy breakfast cereals can contain added sugar to make them more appealing to children, plan to skip the non-nutritious, sugary and frosted cereals.
  • Opt for reduced-sugar varieties of syrups, jams, jellies and preserves. Use other condiments sparingly. Salad dressings and ketchup have added sugar.
  • Choose fresh fruit for dessert instead of cakes, cookies, pies, ice cream and other sweets.
  • Buy canned fruit packed in water or juice, not syrup.
  • Snack on vegetables, fruits, low-fat cheese, whole-grain crackers and low-fat, low-calorie yogurt instead of candy, pastries and cookies.

Image: kaibara87