Sugar-Free labeled products might not be sugar free at all.
Some dairy products make the claim “no sugar added,” but they are made with milk which has lactose, a sugar, as a component. I’ve even heard tell of honey jars labeled as “sugar free” due to the fact that no additional sugar has been added! Other labels may read, “sugar free, sweetened with fructose,” which in essence means, “sugar free, sweetened with sugar.” Today we are going to discuss the various types of sugars and give brief explanations of each. If any food is labeled sugar free, but contains any of the compounds listed, you’ll know the label is, at best, misleading.
Beet Sugar is sucrose originating in a sugar beet.
Brown sugar is brown sucrose.
Cane sugar is sucrose originating in sugarcane.
Carob powder is the extract of the carob tree and sold in many foods labeled “natural”. Don’t mistake that to mean,” without the presence of sugar.” Carob powder, sometimes listed as carob flour is 75 percent sucrose, glucose, and fructose!
Corn Syrup plain and simple…IS SUGAR! However, they are glucose molecules linked in chains. While their absorption might be slightly slower than simple glucose, they do break down into pure glucose and have a dramatic effect on blood sugar. Combining Dextrin and Maltose chains to create maltodextrin structures the sugars in a way that more closely resembles complex carbs and slows the release of sugar.
Dextrose is another simple one….Glucose. Period.
Fructose, otherwise known as fruit sugar or levulose. It is one of the most common natural sugars and is found in abundance in fruit and honey. While it is natural, so then is “sugar cane,” so again, as in the case of carob powder, natural doesn’t necessarily equate to “will not elevate blood sugar.” Fructose is a simple sugar and a very ripe banana might affect your blood sugar levels in much the same way as a candy bar.
Glucose is the true chemical sugar structure of blood sugar. It causes a rapid and substantial rise in blood sugar levels. All carbs ultimately break down into glucose. Putting pure glucose into the digestive tract is probably the quickest way to elevate blood sugar and throw the chances of stimulating fat release to the wind.
Gluecose syrups, such as corn syrup, cane syrup and corn syrup solids are sugars produced from starch and contain a mixture of glucose and maltose molecules.
Grape sugar is another name for glucose.
High-fructose corn syrup is another syrup which is made from corn syrups. Read about corn syrup, and read about fructose…soon you’ll understand that this is a sugar! (And not one you want to ingest if your health is of the utmost importance to you.)
Honey, yes, it’s natural…but…it’s roughly 35 percent glucose, 40 percent fructose, and 25 percent water.
Lactose is milk sugar. It makes up 4.5 percent of cows’ milk. It is hardly ever used commercially as a sweetener, it is not as sweet as table sugar, and since it is contained in protein laden foods it has less of a negative glycemic effect than most sugars mentioned here. If the goal is to become as lean as possible, for a period of several weeks while on a fat loss regimen, limiting your intake of dairy products may help increase fat release by cutting back on lactose. (There are other reasons to avoid dairy products when looking to change your health and body image that we will discuss in another post.)
Maltose is formed by two linked glucose molecules, maltose rapidly breaks down to glucose in the intestine.
Maple syrup is sugar from the sap of maple trees. It’s mostly sucrose.
Milk chocolate if this is included on the ingredient label, there is sugar present! Even if the big print says “Sugar Free!” Milk chocolate is made by mixing milk, sugar, and cocoa butter to bitter chocolate.
Molasses contains from 50-75% sugar.
Saccharose is sucrose.
Sucrose is a naturally occurring sugar made from sugar cane or sugar beets. It’s commonly referred to as “sugar” or “table sugar.” It’s made of equal parts of glucose and fructose. This sugar is made from extracting the molasses out of natural sugar such as sugarcane and along with it, much of the nutrient content of the natural plant.
Sweetened condensed milk – if this is an ingredient, there is sugar present. This is made by cutting the water content in milk and then adding sugar until you have a substance containing 40-50% sucrose. Watch out, when examining meal replacements and protein supplements, for “Sweetened condensed whey.”Many have learned to recognize whey as a protein source and they fail to take note of that first word…”sweetened”.
Turbinado is sucrose. This is often found in organic sections of the store.
Did you know there are over 30 different names for sugar?!
While this is not even a complete list, it should illustrate that there are quite a variety of options for food manufacturers who wish to attempt to hide those words that we commonly recognize as sugars. They are also pretty good at manipulating the packaging to help us forget to look at the ingredients in the first place. This list should help you identify the foods that are best avoided if health, fat loss and energy are concerns of yours.
One more important note is to be careful when buying organic and other “health conscious foods”. Too often people think that if it is natural and organic that it can’t be bad for them. They are mistaken. Sugar is sugar. Whether natural, chemical or otherwise, Sugar leads not only to sugar cravings due to its addictive nature but also to a myriad of physiological occurrences that can decrease your ability to burn fat and increase your risk of disease. Remember to limit your sugar intake in general and then limit the timing of your sugar intake to earlier in the day. Also make sure to consume sugary foods or drinks with protein (or at best with a full supportive meal) to lower the speed of sugar absorption into the bloodstream. This will help your body to not have as many negative effects from the sugar itself.