Sinister Sweet Seduction

Don’t be fooled!

Sugar has been a hot topic for the last few decades. This substance that has been around forever and can be found in pretty much everything we eat, can be very detrimental to our health, and it is hiding where we least suspect it. When we try to cut out sugar from our diet, we think- “This is easy!  Just stop eating dessert, soda, cookies and candy, right?”  Well, think again- sugar is in breads, pastas, candy, milk, deli meats, canned fruits vegetables and the list goes on.  Some experts say it’s the cause of our current obesity epidemic, encouraging more and more people to start monitoring their sugar intake.  The trouble is, can we recognize where all the sugar is hiding?

Monitoring sugar can be very tricky because sugars can be hidden under many different names.  In the end, they are still sugars and still dangerous. These names can be found on many ingredient labels but sometimes we don’t recognize them because of their cryptic monikers. Let’s look at these different names so we can get a better understanding of sugar and how to find it in our foods.  Some of them you may recognize and some you may not. Here are a few that can be super easy to spot because they all end with “ose”:

  • Sucrose

  • Glucose

  • Lactose

  • High fructose corn syrup

  • Galactose

  • Dextrose

  • Maltose

  • Versatose

  • Clintose

  • Trehalose

The ones below all end with “tol”, indicating they are mainly sugar alcohols:

  • Sorbitol

  • Mannitol

  • Lactitol

  • Xylitol

  • Maltitol

  • Erythritol

And there are others like:

  • Maltodextrin

  • Cane Juice

  • Molasses

  • Rice Syrup

  • Barley Malt

and the list goes on and on!

Now here is where the tricky part comes in. The FDA requires manufacturers to label their ingredients in descending order according to weight. Meaning the first item on the ingredient label is the greatest amount in the product. Manufacturers don’t want you to see that the first ingredient is sugar, so they divide the sugars up into subcategories so they could put them lower on the ingredient list. Great loophole for them, not for your waist and your health!  This is a good way for  manufacturers to trick you into believing that there is not a lot of sugar in their product, essentially pulling the wool over your eyes making you believe their product isn’t loaded with sugar.

When you are reading labels, look at the first thing on the label. If the first thing you see is sugar or any of these other types of sugar, know that the product you are buying is mostly made of sugar and avoid it.  Also, look at all the other ingredients to see if there are more sugars hidden further down on the ingredient label.  Get to know these different names for sugar, so when you are reading labels you can tell how much sugar is really in a product. You might be surprised at what you find!


Article submitted by Guy Cragwell, Certified Personal Trainer at MV Fitness and Federal Hill Fitness