Hidden Sugar! Everything You Need to Know! by Genna Connolly - Rucksnacks

Hidden Sugar! Everything You Need to Know! by Genna Connolly

When you think of sugar, you probably think of your bog-standard white sugar, however, these days there are more and more derivatives of sugar that are nicely disguised to us the consumer, through their name, leaving us blissfully unaware. Lots of people are getting involved in ‘Sugar-Free February’. They have probably have discovered how hard it is to get products that are free from sugar when the research into ingredient names is carried out. I am talking about and why is it so hard to identify sugar in items we eat, well let me explain!


Surprise, I’m Sugar!

There are alternative sugars used widely, for many reasons and I will come to that later on but have a look at the list below and screenshot so you can have an idea of back of back information and what look out for!


Derivatives from cane sugar

  • Brown sugar
  • Cane sugar
  • Cane juice
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Cane sugar extract
  • Demerara sugar
  • Invert sugar
  • Molasses
  • Treacle
  • White sugar
  • Golden syrup
  • Caster sugar
  • Icing sugar

Derivatives from fruit

  • Date sugar
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Any type of names fruit concentrate

Derivative from Beet

  • Beet Sugar

Derivative from Corn

  • Corn sugar
  • Glucose syrup
  • Gluco-malt

Alternative Sweeteners

  • Barley malt syrup
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Coconut sugar
  • Maple syrup (barley malt extract comes from this)
  • Malt extract
  • Rice malt syrup

These are a few of the commonly used types however there are also the chemical names for sugar used as well: Glucose, Dextrose, Fructose, Lactose, Maltose and Sucrose – phew what a list!

Be straight with me…

Manufacturers often use some of these alternative derivatives to seem like a healthier option but really the bottom line is they aren’t. If you previously read ‘coconut sugar’ on a label you may be inclined to think it was better for you and that that product was all round healthier. Don’t be fooled by these tactics, manufacturers like to play on your emotions around food!

Manufacturers also like to use a few different types of sugar in the one product (making it harder for us to see). So, a product could have 2, 3, 4 maybe 5 types of sugar listed on the ingredient declaration and therefore hidden. I’ve taken a snippet of an ingredient list from a biscuit:

We can see that there are 3x types of sugar in this biscuit (sugar, glucose-fructose syrup and barley malt extract). If the manufacturer was to use one type of sugar in this product, sugar may well be listed as the first ingredient on the pack (for those of you who aren’t aware of how the ingredient declaration works, it is listed in order of the highest amount of that ingredient). What would you think if you looked at the pack and sugar was listed as the top ingredient? Hence the breakdown into a few sugars spread throughout the ingredient list!

This is a trick to watch out for. Look at your breakfast cereals in your cupboards, they are common offenders with numerous hidden sugars!


Bottom line…

You need to be in the know to recognise the sugars on your labels, a quick search online will bring up tons of information but hopefully this article has made you more aware and will see you through on your next shopping trip.

If sugar is in the top 3-4 ingredients of an item you can be sure it is in fact high in sugar without needing to be listed as the number one position on the declaration. Just take a look at the nutritional information!

#choosewisely #sugarfree #knowyoursugar #noaddedsugar

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