The sugar industry doesn’t want you to know that sugar is hiding in ingredient lists and can greatly impact your body.
Sugar is everywhere. All over the news and in the food you eat.
You already know it’s in junk foods, cakes and candy, but this sweet substance is also hiding out in vegetable products, cleverly disguised in snack bars marketed as “healthy” and even present in some supplements. And most recently, sugar received a real hit when a report came out showing that in the 1960s, a group funded by the sugar industry paid for favorable research results from Harvard scientists about sugar’s effect on heart disease – instead pointing the blame on fat.
As reported by NPR, the recent report’s lead nutrition scholar, Marion Nestle, discovered that the Sugar Research Foundation funded Harvard’s work in 1967, leading to the university releasing a study that placed more importance on dietary fat in correlation with heart disease than sugar – and the study never cited ties to the sugar industry. This was just one of the many industry studies that Nestle uncovered were skewed based on industry influence.
In the case of sugar, it’s clear now that it’s harmful for the body, and it’s sometimes labeled with a different name.
24Life wants to arm you with information so you can be your own sugar detective, so today we’re telling you what happens to your body when you eat too much sugar, as well as all the terms to keep a lookout for.
What can sugar do to your body?
Eating too much sugar can lead to tooth decay. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research cites that the mouth is full of bacteria, many of which are beneficial to our oral ecosystems. However, some harmful oral bacteria feed on the sugars we eat and create acids that destroy tooth enamel, leading to cavities. Simply: Reduce cavities by cutting back on sugar.
Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease
Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver in reasonable amounts. The excess we eat is turned into fat, and that fat lodges in the liver, which can potentially cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This is a growing problem in Western countries where people consume diets high in sugar content.
Type 2 Diabetes
While Type 1 Diabetes is genetic, sugar has been linked to causing Type 2. Consuming excess amounts of sugar can lead to weight gain and obesity, which increases a person’s exposure to diabetes. The American Diabetes Association directly states that limiting sugar intake can help prevent the disease.
While glucose, a form of sugar, is the number-one source of energy for every single cell in our bodies, too much of it isn’t a good thing. A diet rich in sugar actually prematurely ages our brains. Additionally, recent studies conducted by scientists and researchers out of Boston College and The University of Montreal have linked too much sugar to cognitive and memory deficiencies.
Not only does sugar lead to weight gain and even obesity, it’s addicting. Eating sugary products and junk foods causes dopamine release which can result in addiction. Sugars impact hormones in our brains and dramatically increases the chances of becoming overweight.
Are there any good sugars?
While the majority of sugars out there are not beneficial to our bodies, there are a few that have some positive impact.
- Fructose is the sugar in fruit. Fructose isn’t good for you by itself, but fruit contains other healthy benefits like phenols, fiber, vitamins and minerals, all of which your body needs.
- Molasses syrup is good source of iron and calcium, however it can trigger allergies and even asthma attacks due to its high sulfur content. Molasses syrup also has laxative properties.
- Oat syrup is a rich source of antioxidants and it also can assist in lowering cholesterol when consumed in moderate qualities. It’s still high in sugar and caloric content.
- Rice malt syrup is commonly used as a dietary supplement, but this vitamin B concentrate is high in calories and doesn’t have any other nutritional value.
Terms to look for on ingredients lists
Even if it is listed by another name, sugar is still sugar. Get familiar with these 57 terms that are commonly used to list sugar on food packaging and labels.
- Agave nectar
- Barley malt
- Beet sugar
- Blackstrap molasses
- Brown rice syrup
- Brown sugar
- Buttered sugar also known as buttercream
- Cane juice crystals
- Cane juice
- Cane sugar
- Carob syrup
- Caster sugar
- Coconut sugar
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- Corn syrup solids
- Crystalline fructose
- Date sugar
- Demerara sugar
- Diastatic malt powder
- Ethyl maltol
- Evaporated cane juice
- Fruit juice concentrates
- Golden sugar
- Golden syrup also known as refiner’s syrup
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar or inverted sugar
- Malt syrup
- Maltose also known as malt sugar
- Maple syrup
- Molasses syrup
- Muscovado sugar
- Organic raw sugar
- Oat syrup
- Panocha also known as brown sugar fudge candy or penuche
- Confectioner’s sugar also known as icing sugar or powdered sugar
- Rice bran syrup
- Rice syrup
- Sorghum syrup
- Sucrose also known as table sugar
- Tapioca syrup
- Turbinado sugar also known as raw sugar
- Yellow sugar
As consumers, it’s clear we can’t believe everything we read. Your takeaway advice for today is to check nutrition labels and strive to eat foods as close to their whole state as possible. And remember, eat your sugar in moderation!
For more information on changes coming to the labeling of sugar in the future, check out “Eyes on Sugar: What You Should Know About the FDA’s New Nutrition Labels.”