How often do you read the label on a food package? If you are conscious about your intake, you are more likely to read the label in a detailed manner. Most of us just focus on the bold lettered words on the package which are mentioned on purpose, to attain our attention. Most of the words are mentioned to mislead the consumer. If you are new to the world of the conscious consumer, you are deceived in many ways. It is a game of using unfamiliar words, that most of us can not even pronounce.
I am talking about sugar today. It is one basic ingredient, responsible for many health issues, comes in many avatars and is known by many names. This culprit has almost 56 names to disguise its presence in packed/processed foods.
Cutting down on sugar is a promise we have made several times. We try and we fail and we retry and the circle goes on and on because sugar is addictive, as addictive as cigarettes. The fact is de-sweeting life is difficult and you have to learn to reduce it smartly and gradually.
Artificial sweeteners are no less, they too are associated with increased weight, abdominal obesity, higher fasting blood glucose levels and increased glycosylated haemoglobin levels.
If you really want to go off-sugar, don’t hinge on with artificial sweeteners. You rather go with naturally sweet ingredients and gradually cut down on consumption. Honey, dates, maple, raisins, apricots, jaggery there are so many good options. But don’t misconstrue yourself into thinking you can devour a lot of these naturally sweet components. Be mindful of the calories these sweet ingredients hold within them. White refined sugar is an empty calorie ingredient and these naturally sweetened ingredients are calories with some nutritional benefits. But it’s never zero calories.
You must also eliminate the most obvious sources of sugar. Candy and sugary beverages are an excellent place to start.
Reduce simple carbs white flour, white pasta, white rice, because excessive intakes of these whites turn into sugar.
Aim to eat whole foods which have a prominent presence of fibre.
Processed foods are more likely to contain refined ingredients or added sugars. So home-cooked is far better.
On nutrition facts labels, ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. The relative position of sugar — by any of its names — in an ingredients list identifies whether a product contains a lot of sugar or just a small amount. Products that list sugar sources near the top of the ingredient list or have several types of added sugar throughout the list have high added sugar content.
Food labels are very important, one should have enough knowledge about different deceiving names to avoid a mislead. I have listed different names for sugar they use on the packagings, hope this is helpful for you.
Few OSE — these are funny, but be aware of any item on an ingredients list ending “-ose”
Sucrose – another name for refined table sugar
Glucose/glucose syrup – is corn syrup. Which is highly concentrated.
Dextrose – Found in many processed foods, baked goods and desserts and also sold as energy tablets.
Fructose is fruit sugar
Lactose is milk sugar
Maltose – is made from two glucose units, a sugar that comes from grain.
Maltose or malt sugar is the least common disaccharide in nature. It is present in germinating grain, in a small proportion in corn syrup, and forms on the partial hydrolysis of starch.
Isoglucose – is glucose-fructose syrup
Crystallised fructose – Made from corn, the crystallised fructose is nearly 100% fructose and 20% sweeter than sugar.
Carob syrup – Made using the pods of the carob tree, native to the Middle East. Sometimes used as a sweetener instead of honey. It’s often sold as “natural” or “healthier”, but it’s still mostly sugar.
Common names for sugar
Anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, raw sugar, sugar, syrup and white sugar.
Less common names for sugar
Some of the less apparent sugar names include carbitol, concentrated fruit juice, corn sweetener, diglycerides, disaccharides, evaporated cane juice, erythritol, Florida crystals, fructooligosaccharides, galactose, glucitol, glucoamine, hexitol, inversol, isomalt, maltodextrin, malted barley, malts, mannitol, nectars, pentose, raisin syrup, ribose rice syrup, rice malt, rice syrup solids, sorbitol, sorghum, sucanat, sucanet, xylitol and zylose.