Sugar in Its Many Disguises….and Why You Should Avoid Them All


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Sugar by any other name would taste as sweet…..  well Shakespeare may not have said that exactly, but it may be a surprise to you to learn that there are more than 56 commonly used terms for a single ingredient….sugar.

If you are trying to cut down on this addictive sweetener it can prove very tricky to avoid if you are not entirely up to speed on the many guises that it comes in. This article aims to help you to find your way through the deceitful quagmire, to allow you to make fully informed choices when purchasing your groceries. Below you will find a list of some of the ways that companies name sugar on their ingredients list. You could be forgiven for not recognising that you are consuming sugar in many of these cases.

Courtesy Getty Images
Courtesy Getty Images

The reason that it is so important to see through the disguises is to enable you to avoid it as much as you can. Dr. David Reuben, author of ‘Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Nutrition’ says, “white refined sugar-is not a food. It is a pure chemical extracted from plant sources, purer in fact than cocaine, which it resembles in many ways. Its true name is sucrose and its chemical formula is C12H22O11. It has 12 carbon atoms, 22 hydrogen atoms, 11 oxygen atoms, and absolutely nothing else to offer.”

Courtesy Prevention
Courtesy Prevention

Added sugar should be avoided because it floods your body with fructose. While glucose is essential for the healthy functioning of your cells, fructose is useless. It can only be metabolised by the liver, which turns the fructose to fat.

While some of the fat is exported from the liver the rest remains and can result in Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease over time.

Courtesy Dreamatico
Courtesy Dreamatico

The fat that is removed from the liver is not harmless, as it is usually in the form of Very Low Density Lipoprotein particles (VLDLP). These particles are packed with cholesterol and triglycerides. In as little as 10 weeks this can have a marked impact on blood lipids, which is often a precursor to obesity, heart disease and diabetes amongst other health concerns.

Diabetes is particularly affected by sugar intake as our bodies can become resistant to insulin over time following the standard Western sugary diet. The main function of insulin is to flush the insulin from the blood stream into cells. When our bodies grow resistant, the pancreas secretes extra insulin in order to cleanse the blood of the excess glucose.

Courtesy Womenstalk
Courtesy Womenstalk

The problem with this is that insulin stimulates the fat cells, to collect and store any fat that is in the blood stream. So the side effect of forcing more insulin into your system to rid the blood of sugar is that fat cells will mop up extra fat cells and store them for you. No thanks!

More worrying is the fact that the pancreas becomes damaged by the continual demand to produce more insulin, losing the ability to meet the need. This is essentially type II diabetes, which is rife in the Western World.

Processed sugary foods are essentially empty calories. They do not provide vitamins and minerals that the body requires to function. This often leads to nutrient deficiency in individuals that consume a diet filled with this non-food.

Courtesy Playbuzz
Courtesy Playbuzz

While fruit contains natural sugars it is important to note that they are a real food, containing fiber, water, vitamins and minerals. Fruit can be very beneficial as part of a balanced diet.

So below is the list of 56 commonly used names for sugar….seek and avoid!

Agave Nectar

Blackstrap Molasses

Cane Sugar

Confectioner’s Sugar

Date Sugar

Diastatic Malt

Florida Crystals


Golden Syrup

Icing Sugar



Refiner’s Syrup


Barbados Sugar

Brown Sugar


Corn Syrup

Demerara Sugar




Grape Sugar

Invert Sugar


Organic Raw Sugar

Rice Syrup


Barley Malt

Buttered Syrup

Carob Syrup

Corn Syrup Solids


Ethyl Maltol

Fruit Juice

Glucose Solids

High-fructose Corn Syrup


Maple Syrup


Sorghum Syrup

Turbinado Sugar

Beet Sugar

Cane Juice Crystals

Castor Sugar

Crystalline Fructose


Evaporated Cane Juice

Fruit Juice Concentrate

Golden Sugar


Malt Syrup


Raw Sugar


Yellow Sugar

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  1. Sugar is also extremely environmentally destructive. We don’t buy processed foods anymore, so we don’t have to worry about reading labels. If we do want a sweet treat, we force ourselves to go out to a local shop, buy a handmade dessert and savor it. The only sugar we bring into the house is 90% dark chocolate for an occasional treat.

    1. I love that idea of leaving the house to savor a handmade dessert! Good for you, sounds like you are definitely doing the right things. I am off to check out your site now.

  2. I didn’t see coconut sugar so I guess I’m on the right track. I had eliminated agave, then used raw honey. my goodness, what next? hmm.

    1. Katherine, good question! I believe coconut sugar does have a lower GI than regular sugar. Lucky for us we can keep an eye on studies published online to make our choices. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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