Stop Letting Sugar Sneak Into Your Family’s Diet

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Written by: Kirsten Cowart

There are some very basic types of sugar. They have many different chemical makeups and come from some very different sources. As you move towards trying to stay healthy, it is important that you can identify the many aliases of sugar so that you are not fooled by fancy food labels.  

Sugar, in small quantities, is needed for your body to function. However, consuming foods that are high in sugar will make your body more acidic and can be harmful to your health. Let’s check out the different types of sugar so that we can make sure you are aware of what you are consuming from your favorite foods.

There are 4 main types of sugar that you will learn about in any nutrition class; glucose, lactose, sucrose and fructose.

1. Glucose

This is a simple sugar that is often found in carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and tortillas. When your body gets nearly any type of sugar, it will try and make glucose out of it so that your body can use it as energy.

2. Lactose

Lactose is the sugar that is found in dairy, primarily milk. Have you ever heard of the term lactose intolerant? This is when someone’s body is sensitive or has an allergic reaction to the sugar in dairy products.  

3. Sucrose

This is the name of common table sugar. It is made up of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. This is what people are typically using in home baking and as a sweetener for coffee and sometimes tea.  

4. Fructose

Fructose is sugar that is found naturally in plants and is most commonly associated with fruits, hence the name fructose. Most of the time, this type of sugar isn’t harmful since it is often accompanied by healthy nutrients and vitamins from the plants as well. But moderation, as with anything, is important. There is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.”

5 Other Common Types Of Sugar That Also Sneak Into Your Foods

1. Dextrose

Dextrose is a type of sugar that is produced from corn. This chemical is the least processed of the corn sugars and is commonly used as a sweetener in baked goods. Corn is one of the biggest GMO crops in the US too so get that out of your home!

2. Corn Syrup

Corn Syrup is a syrup made out of corn that is made up of dextrose, maltose and dextrins. It commonly comes from corn starch and is processed into a syrup for use in many different drinks and foods.

3. High Fructose Corn Syrup

HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) is one ingredient that you want to completely avoid as an ingredient in your food. This is a sweetener made out of cornstarch that is processed by glucose isomerase to convert some of its natural glucose into fructose. This harmful sugar has found its way into everything from soda to bread, so keep an eye out for it.

4. Maltose

This is a sugar that is known as a malt sugar and commonly comes when you break down barley. It is also produced when you caramelize foods containing glucose. For example, if you were to eat a sweet potato raw, there would be no maltose. But if you cooked the sweet potato, then there would suddenly be around 11 grams per cup of maltose.

5. Honey

Since bees make this type of sugar out of the pollen from plants, it mostly contains fructose with some occasional glucose. Raw honey has a ton of benefits, just be mindful of how much you are using.

How To Remember It All

Remembering all of the different types of sugar in order to identify them on a package of food may feel a bit overwhelming. That is why there is a quick trick to help you quickly scan through the information on the back of packages.  Use latin roots…

If the word ends in -ose, it is probably a type of sugar.  

My Food Contains Sugar, Should I Be Alarmed?

The biggest thing you are looking for is added sugar. If you are eating a fruit smoothie and the information panel lists sugar, that may be nothing to worry about.  

Look at the ingredient list to see if sugar was added to the product in order to sweeten it. If there is no artificial sugar added, then it is probably just fine to eat.

Example – If you are buying a drink and decide to read the ingredient panel, make sure that there is no added sugar listed (except maybe ‘natural fructose from fruit’). If there’s not, then you should be fine to drink it.  

The ingredients should be simple and easy to understand and for your fruity drink, it may include water, various fruits, various fruit juices and various vegetables. If you see any of the sugars listed above, then there has been sugar snuck into your food and you need to think twice before eating it.

What tricks do you use to reduce added and artificial sugar in your diet? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Kirsten Campbell
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Kirsten Campbell

Kirsten Cowart is a writer and researcher that has worked in the spiritual, mental health and medical fields.Kirsten enjoys studying and experiencing the benefits of yoga, meditation, nutrition, herbalism, organic gardening and alternative health.She worked hard in 2014 losing over 40 lbs. and has since maintained a healthy lifestyle.Follow her to learn more about her journey on Twitter, Facebook & Youtube!
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