The many aliases of sugar lurking in your food

Canadians want to know how much sugar is added to our food- not surprising considering  a recent study found that two thirds of packaged food in Canada have added sugar.  Just a few years ago, it seemed that Health Canada wanted to help us in our quests to make healthier choices by including an Added Sugars line to the Nutrition Facts box. But then Health Canada changed its mind. Even appeals to our supposed health oriented Prime Minister haven’t made any difference.

Health Canada now states that having an Added Sugars line  would be hard to enforce yet other countries such as the U.S. have plans to inform their citizens by including this on package labels.  So why can’t Canada do this? Respected American nutrition advocate, Marion Nestle, has put forth her thoughts about the issue. She states, “Canada’s new food label is causing a fuss over the sugar listing because it (a) does not distinguish between intrinsic and added sugars, and (b) sets 100 grams per day as the standard amount.  Looks like the Canadian sugar lobby won this one.”

Intrinsic sugars, a.k.a natural sugars, are those found naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables and dairy products and are accompanied by a wide variety of disease-fighting nutrients.  Free sugars include  those sugars added  to foods along with those  naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.

While Health Canada has proposed changes to ingredient lists which will offer some clues as to the added sugar content, the added sugar content in many foods will remain a mystery without the added sugar information.

During  an interview on the topic with one of my favourite radio hosts, Geoff Currier at CJOB in Winnipeg,  Geoff asked me some of the names  to look for in packaged foods which translate into added sugar in foods.  As the list is incredibly extensive, I suggested posting them here instead.

Check out the list below for sugar’s many aliases:

•    Agave
•    Barley malt
•    Barley malt syrup
•    Beet sugar
•    Brown sugar
•    Cane juice
•    Cane juice crystals
•    Cane sugar
•    Caramel
•    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
•    Dextrin
•    Dextrose
•    Evaporated cane juice
•    Fructose
•    Fruit juice
•    Fruit juice concentrate
•    Glucose
•    Glucose solids
•    Golden sugar
•    Golden syrup
•    Grape sugar
•    HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)
•    Honey
•    Icing sugar
•    Invert sugar
•    Malt syrup
•    Maltodextrin
•    Maltose
•    Mannose
•    Maple syrup
•    Molasses
•    Palm sugar
•    Powdered sugar
•    Raw sugar
•    Refiner’s syrup
•    Rice syrup
•    Saccharose
•    Sorghum Syrup
•    Sucrose
•    Sugar (granulated)
•    Syrup
•    Treacle
•    Turbinado sugar

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Categories: Nutrition News, Tips and Tricks

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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