Sugar Goes By More Than 50 Names... How Many Do You Know? (2023)

Sugar Goes By More Than 50 Names... How Many Do You Know? (1)Share on Pinterest

It’s been a rough decade for sugar. The sweet stuff has a dark side, as emerging research suggests it may play a role in weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease.

While it’s not all bad, most people are eating waaaay too much. The typical American eats 17 teaspoons of added sugar every day. That adds up to… wait for it… 57 pounds of added sugar per year!

That’s about 1/3 cup per day, in case you’d prefer to just scoop it out of the bag and eat it by the spoonful, Mary Poppins-style.

And while research suggests that sugar consumption has been decreasing across the board, cutting added sugar can be really difficult because it has about a billion ingredient label aliases that allow it to slide by undetected.

Here’s a guide to what exactly added sugar is, the many names for added sugar, and some easy ways to cut your added sugar intake.

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Let’s go to sugar school real quick. Carbohydrates are made of long chains of individual sugar molecules. (Yup, even the carbs in foods that don’t taste sweet, like potatoes, pasta, and rice.)

Here are the key players:

  • Glucose. This is the sugar your body burns for energy. Your body can also convert the other types of sugar to glucose.
  • Fructose. Fructose is found in fruits and vegetables (alongside glucose), and it’s actually metabolized in your liver, much like alcohol. Research suggests large amounts of fructose (like those found in processed foods and soda) may contribute to a condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Yikes.
  • Galactose. Galactose is the sugar molecule found in dairy products like milk and yogurt (along with some glucose).

For a fun science experiment, bite into a saltine and let it sit on your tongue without chewing or swallowing. After a minute or so, you’ll start to notice a sweet taste. This is because your saliva contains an enzyme that whacks individual sugars off each end of the carb chains that make up the cracker. The More You Know!

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So, what’s added sugar?

Glucose, fructose, and galactose are all naturally occurring — mostly in grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, and dairy products.

But added sugars are the ones that are added to foods or drinks during or after processing.

That would include the sugar that’s added to things like cake, candy, ice cream, soda, and so on. It would also include the sugar you put in your oatmeal, tea, or coffee; the syrup you drizzle on your pancakes; and the chocolate syrup you occasionally squeeze from the bottle directly into your mouth.

While naturally occurring sugars have been part of the human diet for… well, forever, really, added sugars are a fairly recent development — especially in the huge quantities we have access to today.

Research suggests there’s a connection between added sugars and obesity, and they’ve been linked to increasing rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and even depression.

IDing added sugar

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, added sugar should make up less than 10 percent of your daily calorie intake. The World Health Organization (WHO) has even more stringent recommendations, urging that it’s best to limit added sugars to less than 5 percent of your daily calorie intake.

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Luckily, food manufacturers now are required to disclose the added sugar content of foods on the nutrition label, which makes it a bit easier to identify sources of added sugar in your diet.

This is a GREAT thing, because there are more than 50 names for sugar that can show up on ingredient labels, making it really difficult to ID added sugar without the assist from the nutrition label.

Most common added sugars

Here are some of the most common sugars you’ll run across:

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  • Sucrose. Sucrose, which may also be called table sugar or granulated sugar on food labels, is 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose. This is the stuff you buy at the grocery store.
  • High fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HCFS has taken a lot of heat lately, and many companies are moving away from using it. It used to be extremely common in processed foods and sodas, but its higher fructose content (hence the name) — about 55 percent — makes it potentially more taxing on the liver than plain ol’ sugar.
  • Agave nectar. If you consider yourself remotely crunchy, then you’re probably familiar with agave nectar. Like honey, it wears a major health halo. But since it’s about 85 percent fructose, it’s probably not much healthier than other types of sugar — especially if you’re consuming it in large quantities.
  • Fruit juice. Fruit juice is a natural sweetener, but it’s still considered an added sugar. It’s really common in “healthier” products for kids, like gummy fruit snacks.
  • Honey. Honey is another natural sweetener that contains glucose and fructose. Although it definitely has some health benefits, it’s still considered an added sugar. Consuming large amounts of honey will have similar effects to table sugar on your body.

Other added sugars

But that’s not all, folks! There are more than 50 (no exaggeration) more words for sugar that you may find on ingredient labels. Here’s a whole mess of ’em:

  • Barbados sugar
  • barley malt
  • barley malt syrup
  • beet sugar
  • brown sugar
  • brown rice syrup
  • buttered syrup
  • cane crystals
  • cane juice
  • cane sugar
  • caramel
  • carob syrup
  • castor sugar
  • coconut palm sugar
  • coconut sugar
  • corn sweetener
  • corn syrup
  • crystalline fructose
  • date sugar
  • dehydrated cane juice
  • demerara sugar
  • dextrin
  • dextrose
  • evaporated cane juice
  • free-flowing brown sugar
  • fructose
  • fruit juice concentrate
  • glucose
  • glucose solids
  • golden sugar
  • grape sugar
  • honey
  • icing sugar
  • invert sugar
  • lactose
  • malt sugar
  • malt syrup
  • maltodextrin
  • maltol
  • maltose
  • mannose
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • muscovado
  • palm sugar
  • panela
  • powdered sugar
  • raw sugar
  • refiner’s syrup
  • rice syrup
  • saccharose
  • sorghum syrup
  • sweet sorghum
  • syrup
  • treacle
  • trehalose
  • turbinado sugar
  • yellow sugar

  • Limit the main culprits. The most common sources of added sugar for Americans are sugar-sweetened drinks, candy and pastries, and ice cream. You may also want to switch to unsweetened ketchup and sugar-free spaghetti sauce, as these products are often weirdly loaded with the sweet stuff.
  • Use alternative sweeteners. There are plenty of great alternative sweeteners on the market. We’re fond of stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol. (It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, though: Studies suggest some alternative sweeteners may negatively affect gut bacteria and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. But more research is needed.)
  • Retrain your taste buds. If you’re used to having honey in your tea or sweetened cream in your coffee, there’s no need to ax it right off the bat. Just start using a little less and continue decreasing it over time. Within a few weeks, you’ll be used to a less sweet taste.

And remember, you don’t have to completely remove added sugar from your diet. That would be pretty tough, actually. Just make it a point to minimize your added sugar intake. ’Cause you know what? You’re sweet enough already.

  • Many foods naturally contain sugar (think fruits and veggies, grains, and milk), but added sugars are those that are added to foods during or after processing (think cake, candy, soda, and the sugar in your coffee or tea).
  • Added sugars have been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, and a bunch of other health conditions.
  • For optimal health, the WHO (not the classic rock band, the other one) recommends limiting added sugars to less than 5 percent of your daily calorie intake.
  • Nutrition labels are now required to list added sugars, which is helpful because sugar has more than 50 different names that you might find on ingredient lists.
  • To limit your added sugars, you can check those food labels; decrease your intake of soda, candy, and processed snacks; use alt sweeteners like stevia; and retrain your taste buds to prefer less-sweet foods.
(Video) PBS NewsHour full episode, Oct. 19, 2022


What are the 60 names of sugar? ›

Did you know there is 60 + names of SUGAR?
  • 60 NAMES FOR SUGAR. Agave Nectar. ...
  • Healthy Sugar Alternatives. ...
  • Fruit. ...
  • Black Strap Molasses. ...
  • Coconut Palm Sugar and Nectar-Coconut sugar, also known as coconut sap sugar, is a sugar derived from the sap of coconut tree flowers. ...
  • Maple Syrup. ...
  • Raw Honey. ...
  • Stevia.
16 Mar 2015

How many names of sugars are there? ›

Sugar goes by a slew of different names, making it easy for manufacturers to hide how much sugar is truly in a given product. A whopping 56 different names! While some of these names are more obvious, like brown and cane sugar, others are trickier to spot (e.g., Maltodextrin and dextrose).

What are the 3 main types of sugar? ›

Types of Sugar
  • White Sugars.
  • Brown Sugars.
  • Liquid Sugars.

What are the 61 types of sugar? ›

61 Names for Sugar
  • Agave nectar.
  • Barbados sugar.
  • Barley malt.
  • Barley malt syrup.
  • Beet sugar.
  • Brown sugar.
  • Buttered syrup.
  • Cane juice.

What are the 5 common sugars? ›

Simple sugars, also called monosaccharides, include glucose, fructose, and galactose. Compound sugars, also called disaccharides or double sugars, are molecules made of two bonded monosaccharides; common examples are sucrose (glucose + fructose), lactose (glucose + galactose), and maltose (two molecules of glucose).

What types of sugar are there? ›

What are the different types of sugar?
  • Glucose.
  • Fructose (a.k.a. fruit sugar)
  • Sucrose (a.k.a. table sugar)
  • Lactose (a.k.a. dairy sugar)
29 Oct 2020

What is the name of sugar? ›


Sucrose is the most common type of sugar. Often called “table sugar,” it's a naturally occurring carbohydrate found in many fruits and plants. Table sugar is usually extracted from sugar cane or sugar beets. It consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose, bound together.

What is the full name of sugar? ›

Sucrose is simply the chemical name for sugar, the simple carbohydrate we know and love that is produced naturally in all plants, including fruits, vegetables and even nuts.

What are the 6 simple sugars? ›

The common monosaccharides glucose, fructose, and galactose all have six carbon atoms ( n = 6). composed of two monosaccharide units linked by a glycosidic bond. They include sucrose (common table sugar), lactose (milk sugar), and maltose.

Which is the best kind of sugar? ›

Raw and Unrefined Sugar

Raw and unrefined sugar, on the other hand, still retains natural nutrients such as iron, magnesium, etc. and is therefore a better choice. This natural granulated sugar is golden in colour, tastes almost like honey and is free of any kind of chemicals or pesticides.

What is a healthy sugar? ›

Stevia, monk fruit, certain sugar alcohols, and allulose are much lower in calories than table sugar and do not significantly affect blood sugar levels, making them a smart alternative to refined sugar.

What are the two main types of sugar? ›

There are two types of sugar: naturally occurring sugar like lactose in milk and added sugar, which includes table sugar (sucrose) as well as concentrated sources like fruit juice.

What type of sugar is in honey? ›

Honey is between one and one-and-a-half times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). Honey is approximately 40% fructose, 30% glucose and 17% water, with the remainder being other sugars, carbohydrates and a small amount of vitamins and minerals.

How can you detect hidden sugar? ›

Some major clues that an ingredient is an added sugar include: it has syrup (examples: corn syrup, rice syrup) the word ends in “ose” (examples: fructose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose) “sugar” is in the name (examples: raw sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, confectionary sugar)

What is chunky sugar called? ›

Decorating or Coarse Sugar

Then there is something called decorating sugar, also known as coarse sugar. This type of sugar has crystals that are much larger in size than white granulated sugar, which makes it stronger and more heat resistant.

What are sources of sugar? ›

The major sources of added sugars in American diets are sugary beverages, desserts, sweet snacks, sweetened coffee, sweetened tea and candy.

What type of sugar is in milk? ›

In cow's milk and human breast milk, the sugar comes primarily from lactose, also known as milk sugar. Nondairy milks, including oat, coconut, rice, and soy milk, contain other simple sugars, such as fructose (fruit sugar), galactose, glucose, sucrose, or maltose.

What is simple sugar? ›

Simple sugars are called monosaccharides; these are made up of single sugar molecules. The three main monosaccharides that we consume are fructose, galactose and glucose.

What is fine sugar called? ›

Superfine sugar is also sometimes called ultrafine sugar, bar sugar or caster sugar. What is this? Report Ad. These sugars have the smallest crystal size of white granulated sugar. Superfine sugar is generally used in making delicate or smooth desserts such as mousse, meringues or puddings.

What type of sugar is in fruit? ›

Natural sugars are found in fruit as fructose and in dairy products, such as milk and cheese, as lactose. Foods with natural sugar have an important role in the diet of cancer patients and anyone trying to prevent cancer because they provide essential nutrients that keep the body healthy and help prevent disease.

Can of Coke sugar? ›

There are 39 grams of sugar in a 12 oz Coca-Cola can. Our smaller portion sizes, like our 7.5 oz mini soda can, have less sugar and fewer calories.

What is common table sugar? ›

Sucrose or common table sugar is a disaccharide made up of one unit each of glucose and fructose joined by an α-1,2 glycosidic linkage.

What are other names for white sugar? ›

White sugar, also called table sugar, granulated sugar, or regular sugar, is a commonly used type of sugar, made either of beet sugar or cane sugar, which has undergone a refining process.

What kind of sugar is in candy? ›

The principal ingredients of sugar confectionery comprise sucrose, invert sugars, and glucose syrups. Invert sugar is “The mixture of glucose and fructose produced by hydrolysis of sucrose, 1.3 times as sweet as sucrose. So called because the, optical activity is reversed in the process.

What is a single piece of sugar called? ›

Monosaccharides (from Greek monos: single, sacchar: sugar), also called simple sugars, are the simplest forms of sugar and the most basic units (monomers) from which all carbohydrates are built.

What type of sugar is white sugar? ›

Granulated Sugar

Also known as refined, white or table sugar, this type is what's most commonly used in baking and cooking recipes. Granulated sugar comes from the sugar cane plant and is 100% sucrose.

What are the different types of sugar? ›

11 Varieties of Sugar to Know
  • Granulated Sugar. Granulated sugar is a highly refined, multi-purpose sugar. ...
  • Caster Sugar. Caster sugar is superfine granulated white sugar. ...
  • Confectioners Sugar. ...
  • Pearl Sugar. ...
  • Sanding Sugar. ...
  • Cane Sugar. ...
  • Demerara Sugar. ...
  • Turbinado Sugar.
30 May 2019

How many different sugars are in the human body? ›

Sucrose, glucose, and fructose are three common types of sugar that are absorbed differently and have slightly different effects on the body.

What are sources of sugar? ›

The major sources of added sugars in American diets are sugary beverages, desserts, sweet snacks, sweetened coffee, sweetened tea and candy.

What are the 6 simple sugars? ›

The common monosaccharides glucose, fructose, and galactose all have six carbon atoms ( n = 6). composed of two monosaccharide units linked by a glycosidic bond. They include sucrose (common table sugar), lactose (milk sugar), and maltose.

What is Big sugar called? ›

As you can tell from its name, coarse sugar has much larger crystals than regular white sugar. What is this? The larger size of the crystals (about the size of pretzel salt) makes the sugar stronger and more resistant to heat. This type of sugar also helps to give baked goods or candy a little texture.

What are 10 names for added sugars on food labels? ›

The many names of added sugars
  • agave nectar.
  • brown sugar.
  • cane crystals.
  • cane sugar.
  • corn sweetener.
  • corn syrup.
  • crystalline fructose.
  • dextrose.
16 Oct 2014

What's another name for sugar? ›


Sucrose is the most common type of sugar. Often called “table sugar,” it's a naturally occurring carbohydrate found in many fruits and plants. Table sugar is usually extracted from sugar cane or sugar beets. It consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose, bound together.

What is a hidden sugar? ›

Some sweet-tasting foods don't have the word 'sugar' in the ingredients list on their packaging, but still have sugar in them – its just labelled in a different way, for example 'dextrose' or 'modified starch'.

Which sugars are bad for you? ›

While the natural sugars found in foods such as fruits and vegetables are considered nutritional, added sugars — including white sugar, brown sugar and high fructose corn syrup — provide zero nutritional value.

Which sugar is good for weight loss? ›

5. Which sugar is best for weight loss? If we consider calorie content, brown sugar has comparatively fewer calories than white sugar, making it a better option for weight loss.

Which sugar is best for diabetics? ›

You can use most sugar substitutes if you have diabetes, including:
  • Saccharin (Sweet'N Low)
  • Aspartame (NutraSweet)
  • Acesulfame potassium (Sunett)
  • Neotame (Newtame)
  • Advantame.
  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Stevia (Pure Via, Truvia)

What is free sugar? ›

Free sugar is what we call any sugar added to a food or drink. Or the sugar that is already in honey, syrup and fruit juice. These are free because they're not inside the cells of the food we eat.

Why is sugar good for you? ›

The body uses sugars and starches from carbohydrates to supply glucose to the brain and provide energy to cells around the body. Carbohydrates also provide fiber and other nutrients to the body.


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