• Cathy Dyer

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.

Graphic retrieved from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, p 55. 8th Edition. December 2015.

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!

(sucralose is an artificial sugar with no calories, but 600 times sweeter than regular sugar)

61+ Names For Sugar

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




Diastatic malt


Ethyl maltol

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)

HoneyIcing sugar

Invert sugar


Malt syrup

Malted barley extract





Maple syrup



Oligo fructose

Palm sugar



Powdered sugar

Raw sugar

Refiner’s syrup

Rice syrup


Sorghum syrup


Sugar (granulated)

Sweet sorghum




Turbinado sugar

Yellow sugar


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)


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