Sugar Consumption Stats
The average North American consumes at least 64 pounds of sugar per year, and the average teenage boy at least 109 pounds.
Per capita consumption of added sugars has risen by 28 percent since 1983.
We consume 22 teaspoons of added sugars a day, teens 34 teaspoons.
If you're trying to limit the amount of sugar you eat, then you need to learn the other names for sugar on food labels. Sugar comes in so many forms and goes by so many names that it’s hard to understand how to avoid it! We hope to help you better identify all of sugar’s alias names.
Why Worry About Sugar?
Sugar is often a hidden ingredient in processed foods. It enhances flavor, promotes browning and aids in preservation; however, the high sugar content in foods comes with a trade off - excessive sugar intake can lead to type 2 diabetes and the recently discovered Type 3 Diabetes (Alzheimer’s). It contributes to metabolic syndrome and leads to excessive weight gain. The empty calories in sugar don't provide any nutritional benefit to the body, which is why it is important to know other names for sugar on food labels.
Diets high in added sugars are also lower in levels of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients, and by displacing these protective nutrients, added sugars may increase the risk of osteoporosis, certain cancers, high blood pressure and other health problems.
Deceptive Product Labelling
Sugar masquerades under a variety of guises and trying to figure out what percentage of calories these sugars represent in a packaged food product is close to impossible. That's because the FDA has refused to add an "Added Sugars" line (in grams) within the "Sugars" section on the nutrition facts label. Instead, added sugars are only mentioned in the ingredient list -- and only in decreasing weight order, not by percentage of calories.
Food companies not are taking advantage of by using several sugar synonyms in the ingredient lists of a single product. Added sugars are added sugars. No matter what you call them, they do pretty much the same thing to food (make it taste sweeter). So by dividing the total amount of added sugars into three or four different sugar names instead of using just one type of sugar, companies are able drop their added sugars further down the list (the less the weight, the lower the rank on the ingredient list).
So for example, if a manufacturer wants to sweeten up a certain brand of crackers, it can either do this using 15 grams of "sugar" or, 5 grams of "malt syrup," 5 grams of "invert sugar" and 5 grams of "glucose". Some manufacturers seem to be choosing this divide and masquerade method, placing these ingredients lower down on their products' lists, making us believe that the amount of sugar in the product is smaller than it is. Bingo!
Four examples of foods that have divided their total added sugar content between several confusing synonyms (note where these names are positioned on the ingredient list).
1. Chocolate Chip Bars: Granola (whole grain oats, brown sugar, crisp rice (rice flour, sugar, salt, malted barley extract), whole grain rolled wheat, soybean oil, dried coconut, whole wheat flour, sodium bicarbonate, soy lecithin, caramel color, nonfat dry milk), corn syrup, semisweet chocolate chips, brown rice crisp, sunflower oil, oligofructose, polydextrose, corn syrup solids, glycerin. Contains 2 percent or less of water, invert sugar, salt, molasses, sucralose, natural and artificial flavor, BHT, citric acid
2. Nutrition Bars: Soy protein nuggets, Yogurt coating (sugar, palm kernel oil, nonfat fry milk solids, Yogurt powder, soy lecithin, salt), corn syrup, milk protein isolate, fructose, almonds, palm oil, water
3. Wheat Thins: Whole grain wheat flour, unbleached enriched flour, soybean oil, sugar, cornstarch, malt syrup, salt, invert sugar, monoglycerides, leavening, vegetable color
4. Club Crackers: Enriched flour, soybean oil with TBHQ for freshness, sugar, contains two percent of less of: salt, leavening, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, cornstarch, soy lecithin
Other Names for Sugar on Food Labels
There are many different names for sugar. Two really good ways to disguise sugar on food labels is to use a long, scientific sounding word or to rename the sugar altogether.
One of the easiest ways to recognize sugar on a food label is by recognizing the -ose suffix. When you find words that end in -ose, there's a good chance it is sugar.
Sugars ending in -ose include: Sucrose, Maltose, Dextrose, Fructose, Glucose, Galactose, Lactose, High fructose corn syrup, Glucose solids
Just because it doesn't end in -ose, however, doesn't mean it isn't sugar. There are plenty of other names as well that may or may not sound like sugar.
Regardless of how they sound, the following are all sugar: Cane juice, Dehydrated cane juice, Cane juice solids, Cane juice crystals, Dextrin, Maltodextrin, Dextran, Barley malt, Beet sugar, Corn syrup, Corn syrup solids, Caramel, Buttered syrup, Carob syrup, Brown sugar, Date sugar, Malt syrup, Diatase, Diatastic malt, Fruit juice, Fruit juice concentrate, Dehydrated fruit juice, Fruit juice crystals, Golden syrup, Turbinado, Sorghum syrup, Refiner's syrup, Ethyl maltol, Maple syrup, Yellow sugar