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?

Tooth Decay

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.

Brain Drain

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.

  1. Agave nectar
  2. Barley malt
  3. Beet sugar
  4. Blackstrap molasses
  5. Brown rice syrup
  6. Brown sugar
  7. Buttered sugar also known as buttercream
  8. Cane juice crystals
  9. Cane juice
  10. Cane sugar
  11. Caramel
  12. Carob syrup
  13. Caster sugar
  14. Coconut sugar
  15. Corn sweetener
  16. Corn syrup
  17. Corn syrup solids
  18. Crystalline fructose
  19. Date sugar
  20. Demerara sugar
  21. Dextran
  22. Diastatic malt powder
  23. Diastase
  24. Ethyl maltol
  25. Evaporated cane juice
  26. Fructose
  27. Fruit juice concentrates
  28. Galactose
  29. Glucose
  30. Golden sugar
  31. Golden syrup also known as refiner’s syrup
  32. High-fructose corn syrup
  33. Honey
  34. Invert sugar or inverted sugar
  35. Lactose
  36. Malt syrup
  37. Maltodextrin
  38. Maltose also known as malt sugar
  39. Maple syrup
  40. Molasses syrup
  41. Muscovado sugar
  42. Organic raw sugar
  43. Oat syrup
  44. Panela
  45. Panocha also known as brown sugar fudge candy or penuche
  46. Confectioner’s sugar also known as icing sugar or powdered sugar
  47. Rice bran syrup
  48. Rice syrup
  49. Sorghum
  50. Sorghum syrup
  51. Sucrose also known as table sugar
  52. Sugar
  53. Syrup
  54. Treacle
  55. Tapioca syrup
  56. Turbinado sugar also known as raw sugar
  57. 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.”