Sugar By Any Other Name Is Still Sugar
Learn to recognize different names for sugar on ingredient lists to avoid excess added sugar consumption.
Many healthy foods and beverages contain natural sugars. Fruits contain the sugar fructose and milk contains the sugar lactose. Carbohydrates like potatoes and pasta break down to their sugar components during digestion to provide our bodies with energy. However, the majority of sugars consumed by Americans are added sugars: those sugars added by food processing, during food preparation, or right before we eat. (1)
Added sugar consumption by the average American has declined since it peaked in 2003-2004 (2), but is still above the recommended amounts. Currently, 270 calories of added sugars are consumed by the average American each day, representing more than 13 percent of total daily calorie intake. (3) Children consume even more added sugar than adults. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that added sugars be limited to less than 10 percent of the calories consumed per day.
Learn to recognize different names for sugar on ingredient lists.
Food ingredient labels can have at least 61 different names for sugar! (4) See a list of 61+ names for sugar at the end of this post.
A single ingredient list can contain multiple sugars such as dextrose, sucrose, fructose, lactose, maltose, trehalose (any word ending with “ose”), molasses, corn syrup, maltodextrin, dextran, panocha, diastatic malt, treacle, fruit juice concentrate, evaporated cane juice, Florida crystals, ethyl maltol, diatase, and barley malt.
Added sugars can be "hidden" in foods you believe to be healthy.
The Quaker Corporation proudly announces this product does not contain high-fructose corn syrup, but the ingredient list reveals no less than 10 different added sugars, with brown sugar as the second largest component (by weight) of the granola!
61+ Names For Sugar
Barley malt syrup
Cane juice crystals
Coconut palm sugar
Corn syrup solids
Dehydrated cane juice
Evaporated cane juice
Free-flowing brown sugars
Fruit juice concentrate
HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup)
Malted barley extract
1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, 7th Edition, p. 27, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf
2. Powell, E, L. Smith, & B. Popkin. (2014, November 4). Recent Trends in Added Sugar Intake among U.S. Children and Adults from 1977 to 2010. Oral presentation at Obesity Week 2014, the second annual combined meeting of The Obesity Society and the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery, Boston, MA.
Abstract retrieved from http://2014.obesityweek.com/wp/uploads/2014/10/Tuesday-tos-oral.pdf (July 19, 2016)
3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 8th Edition, p. 54. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dieteryguidelines/2015/guidelines/
4. http://www.sugarscience.org/hidden-in-plain-sight/#.V4-o-PmAOko (Feb 7, 2019)