Processed, refined sugars go by different names – names you might not recognize as being processed sugar. It’s very easy for someone who is not familiar with all the hidden names of sugar to erroneously consume large amounts of the stuff. So, if you’re trying to eliminate processed sugars from your diet – or at least limit the amount you eat – you need to learn all the names sugar goes by.
What’s in a Name? The Hidden Names of Processed Sugar
There are literally dozens of names for sugar. Some are quite obvious such as corn syrup, brown sugar, date sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, or anything else that ends in “sugar.” However, spotting other sources of hidden sugar can be quite tricky. A good rule of thumb is to eliminate anything that has sugar and syrup in the title as well as anything ending in “ose” like glucose, dextrose, fructose, and sucrose. Following are some of the ones that aren’t so apparent:
- Diastatic Malt
- Ethyl Maltol
- Fruit Juice
- Corn Sweetner
- Cane Juice
- Evaporated Cane Juice
- Fruit Juice Concentrate
- Barley Malt
- Monk Fruit
- Rice Syrup or Brown Rice Syrup
Why Processed Sugars are Bad
A diet high in processed sugars can lead to weight gain and other health issues. Not only is sugar nothing more than empty calories it can cause fat deposits to form in the liver, raise blood cholesterol, contribute to insulin resistance, increases your risk for diseases – and it’s addictive. Consuming sugar can also cause spikes in blood sugar, which can cause you to feel hungry and crave more sugary foods.
Tips for Avoiding Processed Sugars
While it is difficult to avoid all processed sugars, there are things you can do to greatly reduce the amount of sugar you eat. In addition to making wise, healthy choices, you can eliminate much of the sugar in your diet by doing the following:
- Read Labels – Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of all the hidden names of sugar, you can properly read ingredient labels, spot hidden sugars, and avoid purchasing foods that contain them. Become a label-reading junkie. Do not put anything in your cart that you have not properly vetted for processed sugar.
- Don’t Eat Packaged Foods – It’s as simple as that. If it’s in a package, avoid it. You can bet there are processed sugars in any packaged convenience food that you might pick up. Instead, eat fresh foods. Hint: most fresh foods are found along the four outside walls of the grocery store.
- No Sugary Drinks – Much of the sugar that Americans consume comes in the form of sodas and other sugary drinks. Replace your sugar-filled drinks with water to avoid eating excess sugar.
As you can see, avoiding processed sugars can be tricky. However, you can do it with a little knowledge, pre-planning, and will power. Once you reduce the amount of sugar you eat, you will start to crave it less, which will make the task of avoiding sugar easier than you ever thought possible.