Food manufacturers are getting clever. In a bid to assuage public concerns about sugar intake, companies are eliminating sugar from their products’ ingredients lists, using organic constituents, and falsely marketing these processed, packaged foods as “healthy.” But just because a food doesn’t contain white, refined cane sugar, doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain sugar. And just because it’s organic, it doesn’t make it healthy!
Here are some of the many disguises sugar wears:
Fruit juice (concentrate)
High-fructose corn syrup
Monk fruit concentrate/juice
Rice (bran) syrup
In case you aren’t up to the task of memorizing a long list of names, here are some general guidelines to help you identify most sugars and sugar substitutes used in processed foods:
1. If it contains the words cane, syrup, juice or malt, it’s sugar.
2. If it ends in the suffix —ose, it’s sugar.
3. If it ends in the suffix —itol, it’s a sugar alcohol.
4. If it’s a fruit-derived additive (including purée, concentrate or juice), it’s sugar.
To compound the problem, product ingredients must be listed in order of predominance, from greatest to least volume. Manufacturers cleverly use multiple permutations of sugar in a single product so that the amount of each type of sugar is smaller, and can thus be represented farther down the ingredients list, giving the impression that the product contains less sugar than it actually does.
Of course, the simplest way to avoid these sugars altogether is to eat only real food: food that doesn’t come in a package and doesn’t have a list of ingredients. But when you do eat packaged foods, don’t allow deceptive marketing practices to lead you to believe that “organic expeller-pressed cane juice” is anything but lipstick on a pig. After all, sugar by any other name… is still sugar.
What other names do you know for sugar?