There are lots of ways to get your daily sugar intake... And lots of types of ‘sugar’ that can sneak into your diet. According to Rocco DiSpirito, author of The Pound A Day Diet,
Americans on average consume around 20 teaspoons sugar daily, and lots of it comes labelled in ways you might not be looking out for. By recognizing sweeteners as they’re labelled,you’ll be able to choose your indulgences that much better.
So when you are scanning those nutritional labels keep your eye out for these sweeteners:
Cane Sugar Syrup (“Sucrose”)
This is the stuff that brings the hardcore sugar crash. Little more than table sugar, it acts like it too. It raises (temporarily) your blood sugar, your pancreas releases insulin to help it get into your cells where it can be used as energy! However, if you’re trying to avoid that sugar crash, you can compensate by consuming your sugar with protein, fiber and fat to help slow the delivery of sugar into your blood. A classic example of this is greek yogurt and granola.
This starchy sugar is the one generally used in sports drinks because it’s absorbed quickly into the body. Since it absorbs the same way as glucose, it’s prone to being a weight-gain sugar unless it’s worked off properly. But it’s great for getting you that boost on your run - or just post-run if you’re feeling particularly tired after your workout.
Sorbitol is made from Corn Syrup and contains less calories than most sweeteners - 2.6 per gram—compared to sugar, which has about 4 calories per gram. It’s a hybrid of sugar and alcohol molecules commonly touted in “sugar-free gum.” Some people are sensitive to it and may experience gas, bloating or even diarrhea. Ouch.
You’ve probably heard of this as Molasses. Most likely, black molasses. It also has a low glycemic index, and it contains iron, calcium and magnesium. It’s often added to vegetarian foods for it’s extra iron boost. But if you’re after that sweet iron boost, I would recommend a handful of raisins, instead.
This sugar is in powder form, and as far as sweetness is concerned, pretty dense. So even though the nearly-completely fructose powder weighs on your liver, you’ll need less of it to get the job done.
The “Real” brown sugar. While white sugar has been ‘bleached’ and had molasses removed, traditional brown sugar has that molasses added back into it. Muscavado skips that whole process and retains it’s molasses from the get go. Be careful with how much you consume, though, it’s also prone to becoming fat. I personally love the stuff for baking and even in my morning coffee - shh!
Although it offers a low glycemic index (so it takes longer to become glucose in your blood stream), agave is actually mostly fructose - it goes straight to your liver. This isn’t great for your body, and it’s less effective as an energy source.
Yet another corn-based sweetener, this complex form of sugar still breaks down as quickly as glucose in the body. It’s often used in “low fat” processed foods and beverages without sacrificing the texture of sugar.
Did we miss any other sneaky ones? Let us know in the comments below!