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56 Tricky Names for Sugar Hiding in Your Food

by Melissa Bell
4 minutes read

As health conscious individuals, we should be trying to cut as much refined sugar out of our lives as possible.

Unfortunately, the majority of Americans still don’t know the truth about how much sugar they are consuming and how deadly it is. The main reason for this is that most sugars we consume are in processed foods, so we never even know that we are consuming them.

Also, manufacturers are cleverer than we probably give them credit for, as they deliberately and successfully mislead us by calling sugar different names so even if we read the label, we might not recognize it for what it truly is: plain old sugar. After all, how many people can recognize that maltose is actually a type of sugar?

Let’s mention briefly the different types of sugar, mainly glucose and fructose. While glucose is easily metabolized by every cell in the body, fructose can only be metabolized by the liver. Fructose has been shown in study after study to be very unhealthy. A high fructose diet eventually leads to metabolic syndrome, diabetes, fatty liver, and insulin resistance.

Although you should be cutting back on as much sugar as possible, it is particularly important that you avoid consuming sugars that are high in fructose.

Now let’s look at the most common names for sugar.

1. Sugar or Sucrose

This is the most common type of sugar, the kind you probably have sitting next to your coffee maker. Commonly known as “table sugar”, this is the naturally occurring type of carb that is found in most fruits and plants, such as sugar cane and sugar beets. Plain old table sugar is 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose, naturally bound together.

2. Agave Nectar

Also known as agave syrup, this is a very popular sugar alternative that comes from the leaves of the agave plant. Although it doesn’t spike blood sugar as much as regular table sugar, it still contains between 70-90% fructose and 10-30% glucose. This sweetener isn’t really a healthy alternative at all. It is highly processed and is might be even worse for your health than plain old white sugar!

3. High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Maybe even better known by its abbreviation: HFCS. This type of sweetener is extremely popular in the US and can be found in almost every type of processed food and drink in your supermarket today. This sweetener is a GM product and is so popular because it is extremely cheap.


Other sugars that contain a combination of both glucose and fructose are:

  1. Yellow sugar
  2. Grape sugar
  3. Turbinado sugar
  4. Honey
  5. Icing
  6. Treacle sugar
  7. Invert sugar
  8. Sucanat
  9. Maple syrup
  10. Sorghum syrup
  11. Molasses
  12. Refiner’s syrup
  13. Muscovado sugar
  14. Raw sugar
  15. Panela sugar
  16. Golden syrup
  17. Fruit juice concentrate
  18. Golden sugar
  19. Beet sugar
  20. Florida crystals
  21. Blackstrap molasses
  22. Fruit juice
  23. Buttered syrup
  24. Evaporated cane juice
  25. Cane juice crystals
  26. Brown sugar
  27. Demerara sugar
  28. Cane sugar
  29. Caramel
  30. Confectioner’s sugar (sometimes called powdered sugar)
  31. Carbo syrup
  32. Coconut sugar
  33. Date sugar
  34. Castor sugar

Most of these are fairly easy to recognize as the word ‘sugar’ is in their name.

The following items are types of sugar that contain only glucose. Sometimes they are pure glucose, other times they are combined with other types of sugar other than fructose:

  1. Dextrin
  2. Barley malt
  3. Corn syrup solid
  4. Corn syrup
  5. Brown rice syrup
  6. Dextrose
  7. Rice syrup
  8. Maltose
  9. Diastatic malt
  10. Maltodextrin
  11. Malt syrup
  12. Ethyl maltol
  13. Glucose
  14. Lactose
  15. Glucose solids

The following sugars are strictly fructose sweeteners.

  1. Fructose
  2. Crystalline fructose

Lastly, there are two types of sugar that contain neither fructose nor glucose. They are not as sweet and, therefore, aren’t as common, but you often find these combined with other types of sweeteners:

  1. D-ribose
  2. Galactose

The sugar found in natural foods such as vegetables, and dairy products are all natural. You don’t have to worry about these types of sugar, especially when eating the whole food. You will also get fiber, nutrients, and other things Mother Nature intended for you to consume.

However, it’s the unnatural types of sugar that you should look out for. The best way to do this is by eating a more natural, whole food type of diet and removing as many processed foods as you can.

If you do buy processed foods, be aware that some foods contain far more sugar than you ever imagined. The following are the worst offenders:

  • Fruit filled yogurts or yogurt drinks;
  • Canned soup;
  • Salad dressings;
  • Tomato sauce, juice, or any type of canned tomato product;
  • Bread;
  • Granola bars;
  • Cereals (even ones that use words like “natural” or “healthy”);
  • Dried fruit (this is natural sugar but it is highly concentrated so limit your consumption);
  • Juices of all kinds.

Other places where sugar hides is in condiments such as ketchup and soy sauce, as well as many types of canned vegetables. Always read labels carefully and opt to make it fresh (and organic) as often as possible.




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