At GSG I try to be all about the good things you eat and do to fuel and strengthen your body. I want to be all about what to say yes to. Not so much about what you gotta say no, no, never to.
But sugar? It’s everywhere, and it’s nasty stuff.
I’ve written before about how sugar can ruin your health–not only is it cancer’s favorite food, but as dangerous as alcohol and cigarettes. It causes inflammation, addiction, weight gain, and diabetes.
I’ve also written about beating my own sugar addictions–and recent research is showing that “addiction” isn’t too strong a word.
Jeff O’Connell refers to sugar as “America’s deadliest habit,” and Robert Lustig describes how sugar and street drugs, eerily, have a lot in common (1,2). Sugar stimulates the same part of our brain as opioids do: the complex reward-center that leaves us constantly seeking our next “hit” (3). Another famous study has shown sugar to be more addictive than cocaine (4).
And when we give in to the cravings, sugar “rewards” us by making us feel weak, without willpower, out of control, and guilty.
You know this. It’s likely you’ve already decided to reduce or eliminate sugar in your diet, and I’ll bet you’ve read a lot of labels, noticing added sugar in everything from bread to soup, and even ketchup.
But while you might know that manufacturers put sugar in all kinds of unexpected foods, did you also know that they’re also concealing it by using dozens of different names for “sugar”?
The ingredient may not say “sugar,” but it’s going to trigger the addictions, create the inflammation, and increase your risk of cancer and diabetes, just the same.
Other names for sugar on ingredient labels
The more we catch on to how deadly sugar is, the more the food industry produces alternatives with tricky or technical names. They would prefer you know less, rather than more, about what you’re eating.
But the list of sugar’s variant names is long. (Don’t worry–you won’t have to remember all of them. Download the wallet card I’ve made for you, “Hidden Sugars,” to know all the names that sugar goes by, in the food chain!)
Most folks are savvy to “sucrose,” “fructose,” and “high-fructose corn syrup” (HFCS) as names for added sugar. Because the -ose suffix was assigned by biochemists to indicate the presence of sugar, you can sleuth out sugars by looking for ingredients with that ending: besides sucrose and fructose, look for dextrose, mannose, maltose, saccharose, and glucose, as well.
Another tip is to watch for “syrups.” Syrups are created by boiling down and concentrating the juices from high-sugar plants like cane and corn. HFCS is the most notorious sugar syrup, of course, but any “syrup” on an ingredient label is an added sugar: malt syrup, rice syrup, refiners’ syrup, and golden syrup are a few more examples.
There are other ingredients with names that are familiar to you, and are even from whole-food sources, but are still concentrated sweeteners and can be considered “hidden sugar:” fruit juice concentrate, honey, maple syrup, molasses, and sorghum.
More ingredients that may not be immediately obvious as being added sugar include muscovado, panocha, treacle, dextrin, and barley malt.
What about the sugar “hiding” in fruit?
The anti-carb folks will hate me for this one. But here’s a fact:
Yes, there are sugars in fruit, but nobody ever got diabetes from eating fruit. In fact, nobody gets fat from eating fruit, either.
(Now, if you’re eating lots of fruit AND you’re eating lots of refined sugar, then you have a problem. But let’s just assume that all of the sugar in your diet comes from fruit.)
Some indigenous people who have no access to Western packaged foods eat lots of fruit, in season. Some cultures, in some parts of the year, it’s the majority of their diet! And they don’t have inflammation, or weight problems. Their diabetic population is approximately zero.
Ignore the diet industry, including the current “low carb” popular trend. Its survival requires you buying their line so you’ll buy their packaged foods. And the line they’re selling is to vilify whole foods with natural sugars in them, since we have a problem with refined sugar.
Fruit isn’t your problem. Fruit is packed with phytonutrients and antioxidants and minerals, plus loads of soluble and insoluble fiber, to clean the digestive tract and slow down impact on blood sugar.
If you’re going to worry about sugars, worry about the isolated, concentrated kind. Not the kind you pick off a tree or vine.
All the Names for Sugar at Your Fingertips
But I actually don’t want you to worry–that’s why I’m so excited about this Hidden Sugars wallet card we’ve created for you, where we’ve listed 37 names sugar goes by, in one convenient place.
They’re alphabetized. Easy. Keep it around for just a little while, in your wallet, consult it a few times at the store, and pretty soon you’ll be a sugar-dodging super sleuth. You’ll probably even help educate others trying to be healthier.
(In fact, feel free to print the wallet card for friends, or share this post with them.)
Once you’ve downloaded our free wallet card, our podcast is a great “next step” toward better understanding sugars and secrets of food labeling the diet industry doesn’t necessarily want you to know.
Check out Episode 10, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Sugar on the Your High Vibration Life podcast to learn more. I share with you the best alternative, more natural sweeteners that work for your weekend baking and your morning coffee.
Grab the Hidden Sugars wallet card for free. Or, for 50% off, get the whole 10-pack of Genius Guides. One of these special assets we’ve built, to help you be a healthy shopper, is a chart of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in artificial sweeteners as well as other sugar substitutes. In this handy chart, I show you which are the healthiest replacements for sugar, for your coffee, your baking, and other purposes.
All 10 assets in the Genius Guides, including wallet cards and other guides, are laminated and ship out to you tomorrow.
I hope this special resource helps you navigate the food industry’s labeling methods and hidden ingredients, for a healthier and more natural life!
1. Jeff O’Connell. Sugar Nation: The Hidden Truth Behind America’s Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat It. New York: Hyperion, 2011.
2. Robert Lustig, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth“, University of California Television, 26 May 2009; uploaded to YouTube 20 July 2009.
3. Thomas Kosten, and Tony George. “The Neurobiology of Opioid Dependence: Implications for Treatment.” Science & Practice Perspectives 1.1 (2002): 13-20. Pub Med. Web. 26 May 2017.
4. Magalie Lenoir, Fuschia Serre, Lauriane Cantin, and Serge H. Ahmed. “Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward.” PLOS ONE. Public Library of Science, n.d. Web. 01 Aug 2007.