45 Sneaky Names for Hidden Sugar (And How To Spot Them!)

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45 Sneaky Names For Hidden Sugar

You don’t need me to tell you that added sugars can negatively impact your health and that processed sugar is toxic for your body. Even ingredients with naturally occurring sugars such as honey and agave must be moderated.

Not only does a high daily intake of sugar lead to unwanted weight gain but processed sugar in particular is linked to diabetes, heart disease and the proliferation of cancer cells. We’re taking in more sugar than we even realize. Not cool.

So how is this happening? Manufacturers have developed over 200 sneaky names to hide sugar in your food and beverage products. Here are the 45 most common sneaky names for hidden sugar and how you can spot them a mile away. We’ll start with the blatantly obvious first as we progress toward the more sneakier ninja-like variants.

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Hidden Sugars by Groups

Group 1 is easy to spot. Any ingredient that appears to be a healthier alternative of sugar just simply isn’t…your body still processes these as it would with normal ‘sugar’.

1. Beet sugar
2. Brown Sugar
3. Cane sugar
4. Coconut sugar
5. Coconut palm sugar
6. Confectioner’s sugar
7. Demerara sugar
8. Date sugar
9. Fruit sugar
10. Grape sugar
11. Invert sugar
12. Palm sugar
13. Raw sugar
14. Turbinado sugar

Group 2 is somewhat easy to spot but it’s not always obvious that they’re quite unhealthy.

1. Brown rice syrup
2. Carob syrup
3. Corn syrup
4. High fructose corn syrup
5. Maple syrup
6. Rice syrup
7. Refiner’s syrup
8. Sorghum syrup

The mere mention of “juice” hints at processed juice concentrate loaded with sugar.

1. Cane juice
2. Evaporated cane juice
3. Grape juice concentrate

Ingredients that allude to things that we know are sweet, sound sweet or contain the word “sweetener”. Even if the ingredient contains naturally occurring sugars it is still processed in your body as sugar and should be moderated accordingly.

1 Agave
2. Blackstrap molasses
3. Caramel
4. Corn sweetener
5. Honey
6. Maple Syrup
7. Barley malt

The secret order of ninja ingredients you either can’t pronounce or sound otherworldy.

1. Diatase
2. Dextrin
3. Dextrose
4. Diastatic malt
5. Fructose (High Fructose Corn Syrup)
6. Galactose
7. Glucomalt
8. Glucose
9. HSucrose
10. Lactose
11. Maltose
12. Saccharose
13. Treacle

The 5 Most Commonly Used Sweeteners

1. Corn syrup

what you need to know...

A food syrup which is made from the starch of corn and contains varying amounts of maltose and higher oligosaccharides…another otherworldy sounding word that consists of a mass of simple sugars forming a saccharide polymer (yet another term that needs defining). Even more reason to stay away from food and beverage products where corn syrup listed is first or high in order and therefore contains a high percentage of this ingredient.

It is important to note that corn syrup is distinctly different from high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is manufactured from corn syrup through a glucose to fructose process using D-xylose isomerase to produce a sweeter compound. Need I say more?

2. Sorghum syrup

similar to molasses but...

Sometimes referred to as sweet sorghum and one of the many varieties of the sorghum grass stalks that have a high sugar content. In the United States the term molasses refers to a sweet syrup made as byproduct of sugarcane or beet sugar extraction. Sweet sorghum syrup is also known as “sorghum molasses” in some U.S. regions.

At the turn of the century the U.S. produced 20 million US gallons of this stuff annually. Due to declining farm labor post World War II, sorghum production fell drastically and is currently less than 1 million US gallons per year. Most sorghum grown for syrup production is grown in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee.


3. Cane sugar

a really nice name for something not so nice...

Cane sugar is actually sucrose which is extracted and refined from sugarcane or beet sugar. Both plants produce molecules of sucrose that are identical so there really is no significant distinction. Feels like we’re going in circles now doesn’t it?

The industrial process involves bleaching and crystallization to produce common table sugar or just simply sugar. 175 million metric tons of sucrose were produced worldwide in 2013 and is used in food and beverages everywhere on the planet.

There are even further processes that transform the sugar crystals into finer granules of sugar or refined sugar. So you’ll hear many variant terms such as evaporated cane sugar, dried cane syrup, raw sugar, turbinado sugar, granulated sugar and white sugar.


4. High-fructose corn syrup

HFCS...so special it gets its own acronym

High-fructose corn syrup is a super sweet sweetener made from corn starch by converting some its glucose into fructose. It was discovered in 1965 and first marketed in the 1970s. The manufacturing advantages are that it’s easier to handle and more cost-effective to produce. The World Health Organization recommends people limit their consumption of added sugars to 10% of daily calories but experts suggest Americans consume nearly twice that level daily.

It’s also referred to as glucose-fructose, isoglucose and glucose-fructose syrup.

5. Fruit juice concentrate

like swallowing liquid swords...

Consuming added sugars, particularly as sweetened soft drinks, is strongly linked to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay and a host of other conditions you rather not mess with. Fruit juice concentrate is made from the removal of water from fruit juice. The manufacturing benefit is that the reduction in weight and volume allow it to be transported more cost efficiently, as the concentrate can be reconstituted later at the time of usage by re-adding the water again.

Soft drinks, sodas, colas and juices may be made from fruit juice concentrate which enhances their shelf life due their high sugar content. Moderate your consumption of liquids with added sugar and sweeteners as it’s much easier to consume large amounts of sugar through beverage consumption than eating.


The Top 5 Sources of Added Sugars

Offset by: Drinking much more water.

The 8 glasses a day rule is an outdated recommendation from 1945 when the Food and Nutrition Board, which became part of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which is now the National Academy of Medicine – recommended we consume one milliliter of water per calorie of food consumed. Therefore an average diet of 1,900 daily calories would suggest we drink 1,900 ml of pure water. This doesn’t take into account the water content in other liquids and foods we consume.

Today, it is recommended we consume an even higher total daily water intake. 3.7 liters (15 cups) for the average adult male and 2.7 liters (11 cups) for the average adult female. These numbers will always vary according to the age, activity level and climate the person lives in. The average person will remain hydrated at levels below these recommendations so adjust your water intake accordingly based on your activity levels, climate and amount of water based foods you consume.

Offset by: Eating more fruit.

If you have the need to satisfy a sweet tooth then no better way to do it with delicious juicy fruit which contains natural sugars. Although fruits contain small amounts of sugar they are high in fiber, nutrients and other beneficial compounds.

Offset by: Keeping to a minimum.

If dessert is your thing then I’m not about to try to talk you out of cutting out dairy desserts entirely. It is best to limit your consumption and try to find healthier alternatives/versions such as sorbet, yogurt, yogurt parfait, kefir and puddings. Halo Top is also a reasonable low-sugar, low-carb, low-fat alternative.

Offset by: Chewing gum with Xylitol

Candy is a sugar confection that features sugar as its primary ingredient. It includes chocolate, gum, marshmallows, taffy, caramels and any of the many varieties of sugar candies. It has become so popular in our culture that even vegetables, fruits and nuts that are glazed/coated with sugar are said to be candied.

The best alternative is either dark chocolate or chewing gum that contains Xylitol instead of sugar which is explained in the section below titled “What is Xylitol?”

Offset by: Eating oats sweetened with Stevia and cinnamon.

The word cereal is derived from Ceres, the Roman goddess of harvest and agriculture. A cereal is just simply any grass cultivated for the edible components of its grain but unfortunately most commercial breakfast cereals are brightly colored and sugar-laden to offer curb appeal to passerby supermarket shoppers. Even the cereals with healthy claims of fiber and potassium on the market still contain as high as 38% of calories from sugar. Too much.

One of the few things that is healthy and found in a cardboard box are oats and one of the healthiest methods to sweeten oats is with a natural sweetener known as Stevia which is explained in the section below “What is Stevia?”

What is Xylitol?

Looks weird but suprisingly healthy...

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used most commonly as a sweetener for chewing gum and Xylitol-based sweets. A sugar alcohol is a sugar molecule and an alcohol molecule hybrid structure which stimulates the sweet taste receptors of the tongue. It has nothing to do with the alcohol that causes intoxication. It’s a polyalcohol found in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables and therefore considered completely natural.

Humans actually produce small amounts of Xylitol through our normal metabolic processes.

Xylitol is very low in calories, has a low glycemic index and therefore won’t spike blood sugar or insulin.

There are many popular brands of Xylitol based sweets which can be found at the following links:

» Ice Chips
» Trident Sugar Free Gum
» PUR Gum
» Spry Xylitol Gum
» Xylitol Organic Dark Chocolate

What is Stevia?

Finally, a superior sugar substitute has arrived...

Sometime ago I was told about Stevia by a woman who was a highly intelligent dietician and chemist. She proclaimed Stevia would revolutionize the sweetener industry and turn the sugar industry upside down on its head. Perhaps it hasn’t reached those levels yet but it’s catching on rather quickly.

For more than 1,500 years the Guarani peoples of South America have used leaves from the plant Stevia rebaudiana to create a natural sweetener that they refer to as ka’a he’ê (“sweet herb”). Named after the Spanish botanist/physician Petrus Jacobus Stevus (Pedro Jaime Esteve 1500–1556), for hundreds of years it has been used traditionally in Brazil and Paraguay to sweeten local teas and medicine.

You can sweeten just about anything with this unique plant extract. It’s calorie-free and contains a wealth of antibacterial and antioxidant compounds.

The Truvia brand of Stevia is an exceptional value in bulk of 400 packets (and the only brand I buy) sold at the link below:

» Truvia Natural Sweetener


1 Comment 45 Sneaky Names for Hidden Sugar (And How To Spot Them!)

  1. MASIEL URENA May 12, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Good read, Xylitol also aids in preventing cavities.

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