August 11, 2021

The Secret Names Of Sugar On Food Labels

Dr Michele Johnson

Refined sugars are detrimental to health and are nothing but empty calories. If you want to lead a healthier lifestyle or lose weight, you need to control the amount of sugar you consume every day. The first step involves reading the labels of food items you buy at superstores. Most of these items will likely contain sugar in one form or the other. 

Unfortunately, most people don't even know that many foods they buy have sugar in them. If you read "Added Sugar" on food packaging, the term refers to syrups and sugars added during the manufacturing process. These are empty calories and do not provide you with any nutritional value, as mentioned at the outset. Many scientific studies show that higher consumption of sugary foods puts you at risk of health issues such as:

  • Reduced Nutrient Consumption- Sugary foods or drinks and beverages make us feel fuller without providing any health benefits. Their nutritional value is minimal or nil. It also means you end up consuming fewer nutrient-rich foods, and that affects your health. 
  • Weight Gain- There are many reasons for weight gain, and consuming refined sugar in any form is a leading factor.
  • Dental Cavities- When you consume sugary foods and drinks, the bacteria in your mouth multiply quickly, causing cavities. 
  • Increase In triglycerides- These fats are present in fat tissues and the bloodstream. The higher your sugar consumption, the higher your triglyceride levels which increase your risk of heart problems.  

Since sugar can do significant harm to your health, you need to know how much sugar various processed foods contain and what form they are present. Manufacturers know that consumers want to avoid sugar, and it's why they disguise the fact that their products include it. They do this by using technical terms in place of the actual word "added sugar."  

Disguised Names of Sugar on Food Labels 

When you go shopping, read the labels carefully. Some words that indicate the product has added sugar include:

  • Glucose- This is a simple sugar and a carbohydrate. It is present in the bloodstream, where it’s called blood sugar. Processed foods contain a synthesized form of glucose made from plant starch.  
  • Fructose- Most vegetables and fruits contain fructose. Consuming excessive amounts of it can cause insulin resistance, which can cause high blood pressure and diabetes. When people consume a fructose-rich diet, it overloads their liver, converting the fructose into fat. 
  • Honey- Before sugar became readily available during the 16th century, people used honey to sweeten foods. Honey contains high levels of fructose and calories, so you need to consume it in moderation. A tsp. of honey has 22 calories, while the same amount of sugar has only 16 calories. 
  • Corn syrup- Corn starch is produced from maize which is then processed and converted into corn syrup. Its high fructose levels make it an unhealthy addition to your diet. 
  • Sucrose- This sugar is present in all the foods we eat and is mainly used to make desserts, ice creams, and cakes. Consuming it in higher quantities can cause diabetes and tooth decay. 
  • Dextrose- Like glucose, this is a simple sugar. It has the same chemical properties and is made from corn. It is a common ingredient in baking products and is used as a sweetener. 
  • Maltose- All food products that have malt in them contain maltose. This sugar is not easily digestible, and the body can't absorb it quickly because it's a combination of two smaller sugars. 
  • Inverted sugar- Inverted sugar is a syrup combination of sucrose and glucose and is sweeter than standard sugar. It is a common ingredient in many processed foods because it helps preserve them for longer. 
  • Molasses- Molasses are made either from sugar beet or sugar cane juice boiled down into a syrup. It has some nutrients such as minerals and vitamins but also has a high-calorie content. 
  • Hydrolysed starch- This artificial sugar alcohol is a common ingredient of low-calorie foods and sugar-free candies. It is used in conjunction with various other artificial sweeteners in most instances because it isn’t as sweet as sugar.  

As you can see, many different sugars could be present in processed and packaged foods. But because the names are disguised, most people don’t realize that they are consuming so much sugar in different forms. Most ingredients ending with “ose" that you see on food product labels indicate added sugar in them. Make it a point to read the labels carefully and avoid foods that mention these disguised names of sugar.

For tips on shifting to a healthier lifestyle, please contact Michele Johnson MD through this Online Form. My team and I are happy to answer questions about our program.

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