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April 17, 2018

Sneaky Terms for Sugar on Food Labels

Understanding how to translate the information on food labels can be challenging. Nutrition information can be confusing, and the list of ingredients can be worded in different ways to purposefully mislead you about how healthy (or unhealthy) the product actually is.

Sadly, food labels have become more of a marketing tool rather than a resource of helpful information about the product. Companies often use fancy and misleading words on the list of ingredients to make you think that their product is healthy. Can you guess the word most commonly hidden? You got it: sugar!

Approximately 74% of packaged foods contain added sugar.

There are many reasons why Americans are eating entirely too much sugar. Sugar causes a release of endorphins that make you feel good, it is addicting, and we are finding it hidden in just about everything.

There are easy ways to reduce your sugar intake, like cooking more food at home, making your own condiments and sauces, and making more informed choices when ordering food at a restaurant.

Another great way to reduce how much sugar you eat is to understand what words translate to mean 'sugar' on food labels.

Here is a list of ingredients that are actually the same as sugar:

  • Agave nectar
  • Barbados sugar
  • Barley malt
  • Barley malt syrup
  • Beet sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane juice
  • Cane juice crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Caramel
  • 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
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Diastatic malt 
  • Ethyl Maltol
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Florida crystals
  • Free-flowing brown sugars
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • Glucose solids
  • Golden sugar
  • Golden syrup
  • Grape sugar
  • HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • Honey
  • Icing sugar
  • Invert sugar
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltol
  • Maltose
  • Mannose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses (or Blackstrap Molasses)
  • Muscovado
  • Palm sugar
  • Panocha
  • Powdered sugar
  • Raw sugar
  • Refiner's syrup
  • Rice syrup
  • Saccharose
  • Sorghum
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar (granulated)
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado sugar
  • Yellow sugar

This list may be long but don't feel the need to print it off and carry it in your pocket every time you head to the grocery store. Just remember to default to food items that contain a short list of ingredients (that you can understand), and whole unprocessed foods whenever possible. It's also safe to say that ingredients ending in '-ose' are sugar, or processed in the body as sugar.

Keep in mind that the earlier the ingredient is listed on the product label, the more of that ingredient the product contains. So if you see a sugar listed within the first three ingredients stay away, if it's lower on the list use your best judgement.

Check the labels on our products and you'll only find natural ingredients that you can actually pronounce. With True Citrus Products, what you see is what you get. They are all made from real fruit without preservatives or artificial sweeteners. Our products are sweetened naturally with Stevia, and certified non-GMO.

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[Credit: Hilmantel, Robin. 56 Different Names for Sugar. Women's Health.]
[Credit: Sugar Science. Hidden in Plain Sight.]