Sugar goes by many different names, depending on its source and how it was made. This makes it hard to identify added sugars when reading ingredient lists and food labels of the foods you buy.
Limiting your sugar intake plays a key role in controlling your sugar levels as well as in your weight loss journey. But you can not control how much sugar you're consuming when you don't know the many names it goes by.
So here's a list of other common types of sugars to help you make better decisions during your next trip to the grocery store.
Brown Sugar. Brown sugar consists of sugar crystals contained in molasses syrup with natural flavor and color. Some refiners make brown sugar by adding syrup to refined white sugar. It is 91% to 96% sucrose.
Confectioner’s sugar. Also known as powdered sugar, confectioner's sugar consists of finely ground sucrose crystals, mixed with a small amount of cornstarch.
Corn syrups. This type of sugar is produced by the action of enzymes and/or acids in cornstarch, and are the result of splitting starch.
Dextrose, or glucose.Also known as corn sugar, this type of sugar is commercially made from starch by the action of heat and acids, or enzymes. It is sold blended with regular sugar.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This is a type of sweetener made from cornstarch. The amounts of fructose vary with the manufacturer. An enzyme-linked process increases the fructose content, thus making HFCS sweeter than regular corn syrup.
Honey. Honey is an invert sugar formed by an enzyme from nectar gathered by bees. Honey contains fructose, glucose, maltose and sucrose.
Invert sugar. This is a mixture of glucose and fructose. Invert sugar is formed by splitting sucrose in a process called inversion. This sugar prevents crystallization of cane sugar in candy making.
Lactose, or milk sugar. This type of sugar is made from whey and skim milk for commercial purposes. It occurs in the milk of mammals. The pharmaceutical industry is a primary user of prepared lactose.
Levulose. Also knowns as fructose, this is a commercial sugar much sweeter than sucrose. Its sweetness actually depends on its physical form and how it’s used in cooking. Fructose, known as a fruit sugar, occurs naturally in many fruits.
Raw sugar. Consisting of coarse, granulated crystals formed from the evaporation of sugar cane juice, raw sugar contains impurities and cannot be sold in grocery stores due to FDA regulations.
Sorbitol, mannitol, malitol and xylitol. These are all are sugar alcohols or polyols. They occur naturally in fruits and are produced commercially from such sources as dextrose. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol made from a part of birch trees. Sorbitol, mannitol and malitol are about half as sweet as sucrose. Xylitol has a sweetness equal to sucrose.
Sucrose. Or table sugar, is made from sugar cane or sugar beets. It consists of two simple sugars, glucose and fructose. It is about 99.9% pure and sold in either granulated or powdered form.
Turbinado sugar This is a raw sugar that has gone through a refining process to remove impurities and most of the molasses. It is edible if processed under proper conditions; however, some samples in the past contained trace contaminants.
To reduce the added sugars in your diet, try these tips:
Drink water or other calorie-free drinks instead of sugary sodas, juices or sports drinks.
Eat fruit rather than drinking fruit juice or smoothies.
Choose breakfast cereals with less sugar. (7 grams of sugar or less)
Skip sugary and frosted cereals.Opt for reduced-sugar varieties of syrups, jams, jellies and preserves.
Choose fresh fruit for dessert instead of cakes, cookies, pies, ice cream and other sweets.
Buy canned fruit packed in water or juice, not syrup. Drain and rinse with water to remove excess syrup.
Snack on vegetables, fruits, low-fat cheese, whole-grain crackers and low-fat, low-calorie yogurt (7 grams of sugar or less) instead of candy, pastries and cookies.
By limiting the amount of added sugars in your diet, you can cut calories, control blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings.