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Since the dawn of time, humans have been drawn to that sweet stuff called sugar. Sugar is the most abundant type of organic molecule in all living things. However, only in the past couple of hundred years has it been so readily available in our foods. Prior to that, sugars generally came from nature and natural sources such as:
Glucose can be found in fruits, vegetables, table sugar, honey, milk products and cereals
Fructose from fruits, vegetables and honey
Galactose from milk products
Sucrose from fruits, vegetables, table sugar and honey
Lactose from milk products
Maltose from malt products and some cereals

sugarBut once we started mass producing sugar, we also started coming up with all kinds of ways to extract sugar from other things and even make up some. Unfortunately, manufacturers are not required to list “added” sugars on food labels in gram weights. Here is a list of the most common aliases for sugar that are buried in food labels.

  • Barley malt
  • Beet sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane juice crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Caramel
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Carob syrup
  • Castor sugar
  • Date sugar
  • Demerara sugar
  • Dextran
  • Dextrose
  • Diastatic malt
  • Diatase
  • Ethyl maltol
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • Glucose solids
  • Golden sugar
  • Golden syrup
  • Grape sugar
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Icing sugar
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado sugar
  • Panocha
  • Raw sugar
  • Refiner’s syrup
  • Rice syrup
  • Sorbitol
  • Sorghum syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado sugar
  • Yellow sugar

Just 200 years ago, the average American ate 45 grams of sugar every five days. In 2012, that number has skyrocketed to 765 grams of sugar every five days. In fact, worldwide, people consume an extra 500 calories per day from sugar. That’s roughly the number of calories needed to gain one pound per week. According to the American Heart Association, Americans should drastically cut back on added sugars to help reduce the incidence of obesity and heart disease. It suggests no more than 100 calories per day (24 grams) for women, and 150 calories per day (36 grams) for men.

That’s why it is a good idea to read the label so you can choose how much sugar you want to consume in your foods. Keep in mind that natural sugars from fresh fruits and vegetables are always preferable to anything refined.

Sugar Facts:
Archeological evidence suggests that the people of Papua, New Guinea, domesticated sugar cane in 8,000 B.C.
In the 16th century, a teaspoon of sugar would have cost the equivalent of $5.
Standard ketchup contains roughly 1 teaspoon of sugar per 1 tablespoon serving.
Sugar was introduced to the Americas in Hispaniola by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage.
Did you know that sugar can be found in tonic water? In marinades? In crackers and bread?
Foods high in fiber, fat and protein help you feel full. Sugar doesn’t create that feeling, so if you are trying to diet, stick to foods that will fill you up.
Sugar isn’t the health problem… it is the amount of sugar we consume that is causing problems.
200 years ago, we ate 2 lbs of sugar per year. In 1970, that had risen to 123 lbs of sugar per year, and today, we top out at 152 lbs per year — that’s six CUPS of sugar per week!