I have been trying to understand which brand of fake sugar is better for you. The debate rages on: Aspartame is good for you! NO, Aspartame is bad for you! Sucralose is good! No, it’s bad! Stevia is good! No, it’s bad! With all these opinions running around, how does anyone make a good decision.
In my experience, I have chosen to look at many different factors and then listen to my body before I decide what was good for me. My husband and I participated in a “Sugar Detox” program for 10-days back in June of last year. I will be the first to tell you that it is not easy to remove all sugar, in any form, from your diet. My husband and I thought that we were eating quite healthy and making good choices for ourselves. Well after reading all the documentation and watching a documentary from Katie Couric on Sugar. We realized that we didn’t understand squat about the sugar movement. If you have Netflix, you need to watch the video, “FEDUP,” Katie Couric’s documentary. Quite scary. Then you need to start reading labels, not just the nutritional facts but the ingredients also.
A friend of ours put this comprehensive list together of all the different names sugar and sugar substitutes that are found in our food. The list is extensive and then when you go to the store and start looking at various labels it’s almost sickening. Sugar makes everything taste better, so the food companies use it in all its forms to entice us to buy it because our brains become so addicted to the sweet goodness (NOT). But we keep buying it, telling ourselves that it says it’s healthy, and they wouldn’t lie to us”. B.S. all those words like healthy, all natural, organic, good for you are just advertising words to make your brain believe they are healthy.
The FDA rules for organic, all natural and healthy is so minimal that you can pick up dog doody out of your yard, package it all pretty. Get someone else to write-up a report that says it’s healthy. Submit it to the FDA and you will be given the approval to say that your product is “ALL NATURAL, HEALTHY, ORGANIC.” Ok so maybe it’s not quite that easy, but you see my point, those words are just words. We have no way of completely making sure that foods, especially prepackaged, that say they are healthy and organic for you are. I have found in my search that I purchase good old chicken breasts, as long as they are not a 1/2 pound each, use fresh veggies, individual spices and cook myself then I know that it is good for us to eat.
Ok, I just realized that I once again went off on a different soap box and got off of my topic. Sorry, moving forward with the main topic, SUGAR!!
Here is the list of all the different names sugar and sugar substitutes is found on labels:
Finding Sugar on Food Labels
There are many different names for sugar. Two good ways to disguise sugar on food labels is to use a long, scientific sounding word or to rename the sugar altogether.
Ingredients Ending in –ose
An easy way to recognize sugar on a label is by recognizing the -ose suffix. When you find words that end in -ose in the ingredient list, there’s a good chance it is sugar. Sugars ending in -ose are:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Glucose solids
Just because it doesn’t end in -ose, however, doesn’t mean it isn’t sugar. Regardless of how they sound, the following are all sugar:
- Cane juice, evaporated cane juice, cane juice solids, cane juice crystals, or dehydrated cane juice are made from sugar cane. The difference is in the refinement process, how much molasses content is left behind and the size and texture of the product.
- Agave comes from the agave plant. It is about 1.5 times sweeter than white sugar and contains fructose.
- Maple syrup comes from the sap of maple trees. Unlike white sugar, it is minimally processed.
- Molasses is a by-product of the sugar refining process. It has a lower sugar content than other sugars and high nutritional value.
- Honey is produced by bees from flower nectar they have collected. It contains high amounts of natural sugar and calories but is more nutritious than white sugar.
- Maltodextrin: is made by refining corn, rice, or potato starch to a fine powder. It is also sometimes made from barley or wheat starch. It’s often used as a thickener and is not nearly as sweet as other sugar products.
- Barley malt is significantly less sweet than sugar and made from sprouted barley. It is available in powder or syrup (extract) forms.
- Beet sugar is made from the sugar beet plant which contains high levels of sucrose.
- Corn syrup is made from corn and is found in many sweetened processed foods and beverages.
- Corn syrup solids is dehydrated corn syrup with a small percentage of water left behind.
- Caramel is made by burning sugar and combining it with alkali. Caramel is used as a food coloring or flavoring.
- Carob syrup is similar in consistency to molasses. It is made from the carob pod, which is a natural sweeter used as a chocolate substitute.
- Brown sugar is also called yellow sugar or dark brown sugar. It is simply white sugar with molasses added. The amount of molasses determines the variants in the sugars’ color and taste.
- Date sugar is made from ground or finely chopped, dehydrated dates and not from sugar cane or sugar beets.
- Malt syrup is created from barley and ground corn and is similar in consistency to honey.
- Diastase and Diastatic Malt: These forms of sugar come from wheat or barley and contain enzymes that convert starch (carbohydrates) into sugar. Diastatic malt comes in powder or syrup forms.
- Fruit juice is the juice of pressed fruit. It contains the fruit’s natural sugars.
- Fruit juice concentrate is made by evaporating most of the water content of fruit juice. It may or may not have additional sugar added.
- Dehydrated fruit juice is made by evaporating all water content from fruit juice. It’s found in powder form.
- Fruit juice crystals are created from freeze-dried fruits, fruit juice crystals may or may not contain added sugar. They are often found rimming a margarita glass or used as flavoring.
- Golden syrup also called treacle or refiner’s syrup, is made from evaporated sugar cane. It has a similar consistency to corn syrup and a honey color.
- Invert sugar is a mix of glucose and fructose and is often found in processed baked goods.
- Turbinado sugar comes from sugar cane and is less refined than white sugar with larger size crystals and a light brown color.
- Raw sugar is made from the first stage of refining sugar cane and has a strong sweet taste and caramel color.
- Sorghum syrup is a highly nutritious product made from the sorghum plant. It’s similar in consistency to honey but has a much darker color.
- Ethyl maltol is a sweet-smelling, sweet-tasting natural compound used as a flavoring. It’s often found in tobacco products, baked goods, chewing gum, and beverages.
The best way to avoid excess sugar is to read product labels. Besides the obvious culprits like “sugar,” and “high fructose corn syrup,” be on the lookout for any of the above sugar ingredients.
Pay attention to the total number of sugar grams. To help keep your sugar intake in perspective, bear in mind that one teaspoon of sugar equals four grams of sugar. With so many products containing added sugars, those grams add up fast.
Sugar doesn’t have to be the enemy but should be consumed in moderation. With so many forms of sugar lurking in unexpected places, it’s tough to limit your intake. Finding sugar on food labels is tricky, but not impossible. When you are armed with the right information and a willingness to read food labels, hidden sugars won’t sabotage your health goals. If you are interested in learning more about the good foods and bad foods, send me a message on [email protected]
Before we started this sugar detox, my husband and I thought that eating healthy Greek yogurt cups would be a healthy snack for us. Let me tell you, it’s not. The average person should consume between 24 to 36 grams of sugar per day. We found that 1 cup of Greek yogurt, flavored, had only 130 calories, 9 grams of protein, BUT it also had 23 grams of sugar in that one little cup!!! We used to buy him alone, 28 cups a week for him to snack on. (He loved to stick popsicle sticks in the tops and freeze then eat). It was just his snacks, and he was still consuming his protein shakes and his dinner. Needless to say, when he started the 10-day Sugar Detox, he had a rough couple of days. Horrible headaches, no energy, angry, very moody. Now that it’s been almost 6-months, and we still continue to watch our sugar intake, we feel so much better.
I had an incident months after our detox. I was at work, and we were celebrating a client’s 102 birthday. We had a chocolate cake for her. I ate a tiny bite from a coworker’s slice. It didn’t taste good. Then about 20 minutes later I was driving home, talking to my husband on the phone, when all of a sudden I could not make my brain figure out how to use the cruise control on a vehicle that we have owned for 8-years. The only thing we could determine that I had done differently was the bite of cake and all the sugar. Those memories keep my husband and me from ever letting ourselves consume too much sugar. If you arm yourself with this list when you head to the grocery store, you will be blown away by just the everyday foods that you feed your family. The one that totally freaked me out was the boxed chicken stock, low sodium, but it has sugar in it!!! Why in the heck does chicken stock need sugar in it????
I still cook with Splenda, even though I have read the pros and cons. Like I said earlier, I read but also use what my families bodies can handle. For my husband, being a type 2 diabetic (completely controlled through diet, now), his body can handle Splenda but not regular white sugar.
You have to decide what works for you. Remember to do lots of research before you use something new and not just because it says it’s HEALTHY!!