What is sugar Exactly?
The first thing anyone needs to know about when learning about the effects of sugar is to understand just what sugar is – i.e., what the different types of sugar are. “Sugar” usually refers to white sugar, which is a process sugar from sugar cane or sugar beets. All sugars are carbohydrates, so you might sometimes here sugar referred to as a “simple carbohydrate”.
The technical name for common sugar is sucrose, which is actually two “simple sugars” (monosaccharides) stuck together (fructose and glucose). For a great overview of fructose vs. glucose vs. sucrose, see this article. The long and short of it is this:
- Fructose makes things very sweet
- Glucose makes things sweet, provides energy, and makes your blood sugar level change
Any more, you will rarely see “sugar” listed on nutritional labels (like it’s some bad word). Instead, you see sugar cleverly disguised as more benign sounding terms listed below. Read this list carefully!
DIFFERENT NAMES AND TYPES OF SUGAR
This list details the various types of sugar. For example there are multiple types of sugar “malts” and “syrups,” but we lump them together as they amount to the same thing. For a full list of each type of sugar (without explanations), see this list of 56 names for sugar.
The important thing to understand is that all of these items amount to the same exact thing in your body, sugar:
|Sucrose||Technical name for sugar, which is 50% glucose and 50% fructose|
|Fructose||Found naturally in fruits/vegetables, does not cause insulin to be released, is NOT body/brain’s preferred energy source, and behaves more like fat in the body (metabolized by liver)|
|Glucose||Also called blood sugar, as it is the simple sugar that circulates in the blood (causes insulin to be released) and is the brain and body’s preferred energy source|
|Anything “Sugar”||Any ingredient that says sugar (cane sugar, invert sugar, raw sugar etc.) is simply sugar that has been processed in a specific way (and not a healthier way)|
|Evaporated cane juice||This sugar is simply a purified form of cane sugar (i.e., what crack is to cocaine, evaporated cane juice to sugar-cane)|
|Corn syrup||100% glucose (chain of glucose, sometimes called “higher sugar”) in syrup form|
|High fructose corn syrup||Corn syrup that is either 42% or 55% fructose, as fructose is sweeter than glucose. High fructose is the motherload of mutant-sugar, as it is highly processed and modified|
|Fruit juice||Even “not from concentrate” should be avoided, as all you are basically looking at is sugar water (i.e., none of the fruit’s fiber or vitamins)|
|Fruit juice concentrate||Like “fruit juice”, but missing water, so just fruit sugar|
|Brown rice syrup||100% glucose just like corn syrup, but derived from rice starch instead of corn starch – you might call it “rice sugar in syrup form”|
|Dextrose||Another name for glucose, as it’s chemically identical to glucose|
|Maltodextrin||A genetic mutant made from starch, that consists of long polysaccharides – i.e, it’s a complex set of glucose chains of varying length|
|Agave syrup||A syrup made from the agave plant, that is 70%-90% fructose|
|Treacle||Same as molasses|
|Molasses||Syrup (50% glucose / 50% fructose), that remains after sugar is refined but has the nutrients that are extracted during table sugar production (iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus) – maybe the “healthiest” of all sugars?|
|Sorbitol, xylitol, and other “-tols”||Another set of chemical mutants, in which a hydrogen atom is added to glucose – this allows companies to list 0 carbs/sugar on labels|
|Anything “Syrup”||Anything that includes “syrup” is another way of saying liquid sugar|
|Anything “Malt”||Anything that includes “malt” is another way of saying liquid sugar|
Now, beyond being literate in reading food labels, here’s why knowing these names is important:
Food manufacturers will often list multiple types of sugars low on the list of ingredients, leading you to believe that there is not much sugar, but when you add it all up sugar accounts for the number 1 ingredient.
It sort of reminds me of buying a car, but by the time the whole process is over you end up paying 50% more than the listed price (after insurance, taxes, etc.).
On a positive note, the United States will add a label for “added sugar” to all nutrition labels in 2018.
Click the picture below to see the next article in the series:
Are you a sugar shack? The Hemoglobin A1C test will help you measure your blood sugar level over the course of several months. High test-results indicate risk for diabetes, pre-diabetes, or active type 2 diabetes.
The statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any health education and or products mentioned or discussed on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The health related and medical information and on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician, client-nurse practitioner or patient-pharmacist relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. You understand the service provided by MY LABS FOR LIFE, LLC is a service provided at your request and not suggested by our medical director or education staff.
It is recommended the reader of this site consult with a qualified health care provider of their choice when using any information obtained from this site and affiliate sites. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.
In concert with evidence-based information, this site proposes certain theoretical methods of functional and nutritional support that may not be supported by conventional or mainstream medicine. Any information obtained from this site is left to the discretion and is the sole responsibility of the user of this site.
The contributors of this site cannot be held responsible for the information or any inadvertent errors or omissions of the information. By visiting this site you agree to the foregoing terms and conditions, which may from time to time be changed or supplemented. If you do not agree to the foregoing terms and conditions, you should not enter this site. The contributors of this site shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.