Will Travel :: Not Just Fat, Sick Too


Source: FDA website

..is what added sugar consumption makes us, says the newly formed website, SugarScience.org.   Formed by university scientists from the University of California, San Francisco, its aim is to make the scientific studies on the role of sugar and disease residing in dense medical journals available to the general public.

Claiming to be neither pro- or anti-sugar, but rather pro-health, sugarscience.org  maintains that growing scientific evidence shows eating too much added sugar, over time, is linked to diabetes, heart disease and liver disease.

On average, Americans get 16 percent of their total calories from added sugars. The major sources of added sugars in the diet (with the highest sources listed first) are soda, energy and sports drinks, grain based desserts, sugar-sweetened fruit drinks, dairy-based desserts and candy.¹

The FDA is proposing a label change (see above) to reflect added sugars as it grudgingly admits that they are at least a source of empty calories, but many scientists know they are making us fat and sick with heart disease, diabetes and liver disease.

I’ve been a believer in sugar being the food of the devil for a long time.  Not that I don’t eat my share, don’t get me wrong, but I am aware of what I think are the dangers which seem to finally be borne out by science.  I’ve been reading labels for quite a while.  My personal favorite is when they add sugar to frozen fruit. Really?  Fruit needs more sugar?  Why?  It’s not sweet enough?  Uhyiyi.

So now that I’m armed with an ally, I think we’ll make this a series of articles.  I’ll try not to be too preachy, but remember, I’m doing this for me as much as for you, in the hopes that if I talk the talk, it’ll help me walk the walk better.  In my defense, I eat almost no processed food, never eat out, and so my indulgences, admittingly extreme, are pretty infrequent.

Lesson 1:  Sugar by Any Other Name

In order to know what we’re eating, we should know how to identify added sugars on ingredients list.  We are reading the ingredients list, right?  See, that’s why a short ingredient list is better…you don’t have to read as much!

Unlike salt and fats that are added to foods, nutrition labels don’t provide you with a daily reference value for added sugar.

And, there are actually about 61 other names for added sugar that are buried in ingredients list.  Some of them are named rather obviously, but some, not so much.  Some of them even sound nice.  Agave nectar sounds healthy, doesn’t it?

61 Names for Sugar ²

Agave nectar
Barbados sugar
Barley malt
Barley malt syrup
Beet sugar
Brown sugar
Buttered syrup
Cane juice
Cane juice crystals
Cane sugar
Carob syrup
Castor sugar
Coconut palm sugar
Coconut sugar
Confectioner’s sugar
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup
Corn syrup solids
Date sugar
Dehydrated cane juice
Demerara sugar
Evaporated cane juice
Free-flowing brown sugars
FructoseFruit juice
Fruit juice concentrate
Glucose solids
Golden sugar
Golden syrup
Grape sugar
HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)
Icing sugar
Invert sugar
Malt syrup
Maple syrup
Palm sugar
Powdered sugar
Raw sugar
Refiner’s syrup
Rice syrup
Sorghum Syrup
Sugar (granulated)
Sweet Sorghum
Turbinado sugar
Yellow sugar

Making healthy food decisions requires having complete information on food labels. When sugars are hidden unrecognizably in tiny little print on ingredients lists, it’s a difficult to know what choice you’re making.  The FDA’s proposed label change would help consumers (that’s you and remember many of you are also feeding children!) make informed choices.

Next time, Lesson 2:  Added Sugar-Here, There and Everywhere




¹ http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/guidancedocumentsregulatoryinformation/labelingnutrition/ucm385663.htm

² http://www.sugarscience.org/hidden-in-plain-sight/


3 responses to “Will Travel :: Not Just Fat, Sick Too

  1. If you have no reason to avoid sugar (like have pre-diabetes or elevated triglycerides) then naturally occurring sugars are the best kind, like those found in fruits and other foods. But today, manufacturers extract and concentrate the fructose from corn, beets and sugarcane, removing the fiber and nutrients in the process. Getting frequent, high doses of fructose throughout the day, without fiber to slow it down, is more than our bodies were designed to handle. Especially big bottles of soda and fruit drinks, lots of processed sweets without anything else with it to slow it down, hits the liver in the same way that binge drinking does.


  2. So, in follow up, I have a question…..Is there one kind of sugar that’s better than another kind?


    • For myself, I read labels and being as less sugar is better sugar, I find foods that just have less sugar. I just finished eating some club crackers which a serving of 4 crackers contains 1 gram of sugar. I probably had 6. Other crackers have higher sugar content. All things being equal, a plain club cracker compared to another plain cracker, what do I care which one I eat, I’m putting cheese on it anyway, so I find the ones with the lowest amount of sugar and try not to overindulge. I do the same with salt.


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