Today’s consumer is more aware than ever of the multiple health risks associated with excessive sugar consumption. Food company executives are all too aware of people’s desire to avoid added sugars, so in an effort to boost their products’ sales numbers, they disguise the way they list added sugars contained in their processed foods. By learning the ways the companies list names of sugar, shoppers can make healthier and more informed shopping choices.


Using Scientific Names

Sugars from various sources have different scientific names. For example, the sugar that is derived from milk is also called lactose. Regardless of the source or name, sugars still have detrimental effects like causing inflammation in the body. Below are some of the most common scientific names of sugar people should watch for on labels:

  • Anhydrous dextrose
  • Dextran
  • Dextrose
  • Ethyl maltol
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Mannitol
  • Sorbitol


Using an Alias

Another trick corporations use to disguise how much sugar is in a product is calling it by another name. Watch out for these deceptive labels that indicate the presence of sugar in products:

  • Barley malt
  • Caramel
  • Corn Syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Fruit juice
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
  • Honey
  • Malt Syrup
  • Maple Syrup
  • Nectar


Using a “Healthier” Sounding Name

A final method companies employ to fool people into not realizing how much sugar is in a product is making the term sound healthier than it is. Companies rely on people associating terms like “raw” with healthy. Raw sugar has the same effect on blood sugar levels as conventional sugar, but the raw sugar can evoke feelings of being healthier. The terms below are some common terms to be aware of when shopping:

  • Beet Sugar
  • Invert Sugar
  • Organic Cane Sugar
  • Raw Sugar
  • Turbanado sugar


Take Note

In addition to being aware of these deceptive labels for sugar, people should also be aware that the sooner the sugar term is listed in the ingredients, the more sugar it contains. If one of these terms is one of the first ingredients listed, it indicates it is a prominent ingredient in the product. Often several forms of sweetener are used so that they do not have to be listed as the largest ingredient but if you were to combine all of the forms of sweetener they would be the largest ingredient by far.

To avoid excess sugars, people are advised to become prudent label readers. A better alternative is to avoid processed food as much as possible. By choosing whole, fresh foods consumers are guaranteed avoiding added sources of sugar—under any name.