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Natural Sugar vs. Added Sugar – What’s in a Name?

natural sugar vs. added sugar

One of the hottest topics in food science today is the discussion around sugar. What often gets lost in the conversation however, is the distinction between the adjectives ‘natural’ and ‘added.’ Both natural sugars and added sugars form simple carbohydrates. Where they differ is that foods with natural sugar also contain complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Added sugars provide added/empty calories with no nutritional value

In addition, foods with complex carbohydrates and natural sugar retain nutrients, such as dietary fiber, that are removed from simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are essential to our body and are broken down into glucose slower than simple carbohydrates, which means they provide longer lasting energy. (Think nature’s foods … fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

As we all strive to feed our kids (and ourselves) healthy, nutrient-rich foods, we have come to rely on food labels to help us determine which products to purchase. When it comes to the sugar debate though, one of the biggest challenges we face is deciphering where its coming from since the label simply lists ‘sugar’ without differentiating between natural and added sources.

Good news (potentially)! In July of 2015, the FDA issued supplemental proposed rules, one of which was to include the percent daily value (%DV) for added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label of packaged foods.

nutrition facts

The percent daily value specifies how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet and would be based on the recommendation that the daily intake of calories from added sugars not exceed 10 percent of total calories. (For reference, four grams of sugar equal one teaspoon.)

Some common words for added sugar are sucrose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, and fruit concentrate. But did you know there are at least 56 names for sugar? So, as we’re waiting for these proposed changes to take place (manufacturers have two years to conform once the measure is finalized), we listed them all here (in alphabetical order) for your convenience. There’s nothing more empowering than being an educated consumer!

1. Barley malt
2. Barbados sugar
3. Beet sugar
4. Brown sugar
5. Buttered syrup
6. Cane juice
7. Cane sugar
8. Caramel
9. Corn syrup
10. Corn syrup solids
11. Confectioner’s sugar
12. Carob syrup
13. Castor sugar
14. Date sugar
15. Dehydrated cane juice
16. Demerara sugar
17. Dextran
18. Dextrose
19. Diastatic malt
20. Diatase
21. Ethyl maltol
22. Free Flowing Brown Sugars
23. Fructose
24. Fruit juice
25. Fruit juice concentrate
26. Galactose
27. Glucose
28. Glucose solids
29. Golden sugar
30. Golden syrup
31. Grape sugar
32. HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)
33. Honey
34. Icing sugar
35. Invert sugar
36. Lactose
37. Malt
38. Maltodextrin
39. Maltose
40. Malt syrup
41. Mannitol
42. Maple syrup
43. Molasses
44. Muscovado
45. Panocha
46. Powdered Sugar
47. Raw sugar
48. Refiner’s syrup
49. Rice syrup
50. Sorbitol
51. Sorghum syrup
52. Sucrose
53. Sugar (granulated)
54. Treacle
55. Turbinado sugar
56. Yellow sugar 

The motto of The OrganWise Guys is Empowering Kids (of all ages) to be Healthy and Smart from the Inside Out!, so we hope this information does just that! For more resources to help your family get healthy, check our FREE Kids Page for coloring/activity sheets, recipes, videos and so much more.

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