Sugar’s Many Names

February 27, 2016

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Sugar has many different health effects that you may not think about. It can lead to weight gain weight and can lead to cavities, but did you know it also had these health effects? Not to mention, do you know how to find it on the label? It has over 60 different names!

Sugar and the Heart

A major study in the Journal of the Amercian Medical Association found that those who consumed a high-sugar diet (over 25% of calories from added sugars) were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease than those who consumed less than 10% of their calories from sugar. And the study also showed that this is the case even if you aren’t overweight!

Increased sugar intake can also increase blood pressure and raise triglyceride levels, both of which can increase the risk for heart disease.

Sugar and Aging

Sugar can also accelerate the aging process! When sugar levels are high in the body from a high-sugar diet, a process called glycation can occur. The simple explanation for glycation is that it happens when excess sugar molecules attach to a lipid or protein molecule, and creates an Advanced Glycosylation End Product (which happens to be abbreviated as AGE). These AGEs bind to collagen fibers in the skin, causing them to lose their flexibility and strength, which can lead to sagging and wrinkling.

These AGEs can cause a whole host of other health problems also, such as diabetes, cataracts, atherosclerosis, heart disease, and neurological issues such as more rapid aging of the brain and Alzheimer’s disease.

Sugar and Allergies & Illness

Our white blood cells are our immune system’s fighter cells, and sugar decreases their activity. This immune-suppressing activity can begin as quickly as thirty minutes after consuming sugar, and were found to last up to five hours or more in human studies (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).

Immune system suppression can make us susceptible to more colds, flu, and other illnesses. And because allergies begin in the immune system (allergic symptoms occur because of an active immune system that reacts to typically harmless things, such as pollens, pet dander or certain foods), allergies, or their symptoms, may worsen.

An altered immune system can lead to so many different health issues – just about anything you can think of, including autoimmune disease, diabetes, and even cancer.

Where Added Sugars Can Hide

Added sugar can be found in so many places. If you’re trying to avoid sugar for you or your children, even if you’re not drinking soda or eating ice cream or candy, there is added sugar in items such as yogurt, ready-to eat cereals, oatmeal, fruit cups, pasta sauce, salad dressing, ketchup, barbecue sauce, energy bars, coffee creamer, and sports drinks.

So it’s not just in that sugary Lucky Charms or Froot Loops, but it’s also lurking in that “healthy” bran cereal.

Sugar should be pretty easy to find on a label, right? Not really! There are over 60 different names for sugar, and sometimes it can be tough to find, and a lot of times you’ll find more than one of these names on a label.

Here is a list of some of the more common names, but to keep it (somewhat!) shorter, I left out the obvious names – anything that ends in the word “sugar.” Keep in mind that things like “date sugar” and “beet sugar” sound natural, but they are still sources of sugar. And they can also be genetically modified, like many of the sugars below, and beet sugar.

Quick tips for shopping: Avoid products with any of the ingredients below, or look for ingredients that end in the word “sugar”, or that have an -ose at the end of the name, like “dextrose,” “maltose,” or “fructose.”

Avoid foods with these words on the label:

Anhydrous dextrose
Agave nectar
Barley malt
Blackstrap molasses
Brown sugar (light and dark brown)
Cane juice
Cane juice solids
Cane juice crystals
Cane syrup
Carob syrup
Corn syrup
Corn syrup solids
Crystalline fructose
Dehydrated cane juice
Evaporated cane juice
Evaporated cane syrup
Evaporated sugar cane
Fructose crystals
Fruit juice crystals
Fruit juice concentrate
Glazing sugar
Glucose solids
Glucose syrup
Golden syrup
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
Invert syrup
King’s syrup
Maple syrup
Malt sugar
Malt syrup
Refiners’ syrup
Sorghum syrup



Corliss, J. (2014, February 06). Eating too much added sugar increases the risk of dying with heart disease – Harvard Health Blog. Retrieved June 22, 2016, from
Danby, F. (2010, July/August). Result Filters. Retrieved August 24, 2016, from
Nguyen, H. P., BA, & Katti, R., MD. (2015). Sugar Sag: Glycation and the Role of Diet in Aging Skin. Retrieved July 08, 2016, from
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2016, January 24). Added sugars: Don’t get sabotaged by sweeteners. Retrieved June 4, 2016, from
Sanchez, A., Reeser, J., Lau, H., Yahiku, P., Willard, R., McMillan, P., . . . Register, U. (n.d.). Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis. Retrieved August 22, 2016, from
Huehnergarth, N. F. (2015, November 13). Is Cheerios Protein A Sugar Bomb With Just A Smidge More Protein? Retrieved August 24, 2016, from