How to Spot Sneaky Sugar in the Ingredients List | HEALTH

How to Spot Sneaky Sugar in the Ingredients List | HEALTH




We all know that simple sugars aren’t good for us. Food manufacturers however, are finding more ways to hide it in our everyday products by changing their names or using scientific names. This makes it even harder to spot sugars in the ingredients list.


What to look out for?

Here’s a list of those simple sugars we should be aware of when looking at ingredients list on packaged foods.

  • Raw sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Agave
  • Dextrose
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Di-saccharides
  • Fructose
  • Maple syrup
  • Golden syrup
  • Rice malt syrup
  • Malt syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Maltose
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Corn syrup


How to Spot Sneaky Sugars

  • Avoid products where a ‘sugar’ is at the top of the list. Ingredients are required to be listed in order of weight from highest to lowest. If sugar is at the top of the list, then that means the food you’re eating is mostly made up of sugar! 
  • Some devious companies may use ‘ingredients’ that when broken down are mostly sugar. You can check this by looking at specific ingredients that appear in the brackets [ ] following a specific ingredient. 

For example, if you see this on an ingredients list: chocolate chips (sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, milk solids, emulsifiers, flavour), you know the main ingredient is actually sugar! 

  • Products with any of the top 3 ingredients are dried fruit also has a higher than desirable level of sugar.


What about Sugar alcohols?

Erythritol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol are sugar alcohols that have a lower rate of absorption compared to standard sugars. This means sugar alcohols have less food energy than standard sugars such as sucrose. The percentage of absorption however, ranges depending on the sugar alcohol used.

If we consider regular sugar like sucrose, it has approximately 4 calories per gram. Sugar alcohol calories meanwhile, can range from as low as 0.21 calories per gram in erythritol to as high as 2.6 calories per gram in sorbitol. This make sugar alcohols a good way to add sweetness without absorbing as much sugar or calories as regular ‘sugars’ do, though the amounts can vary.

But this is not applicable to all people, especially for those with IBS. Yes, sugar alcohols have poorer absorption rates in our gut. Because of this, more of these compounds move to the large intestine. Unfortunately, for people with IBS, this can cause uncomfortable gut symptoms.


Conclusion - Get Help from a Qualified Nutritionist

To learn more about sugar, supplements, diet, and nutrition, and how it affects your health, fitness, and training, visit the Aussie Supps Nutrition Hub. We have our in-house nutritionist to take care of your health and diet needs.


For bookings and more info, check out our Contact Us page, chat with us on Facebook, or email us at    

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