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Think you know sugar?

Sometimes it's not that easy to spot sugar in the ingredients list on the back of an off-the-shelf nutrition pouch or meal replacement bag, as it can often be cleverly hidden by giving it a slightly different name. The British Heart Foundation recently published a list of 50 common name-swaps for sugar, including:

Sucrose, Maltose, Dextrose, Beet Sugar, Fructose, Crystallised Fructose, Jaggery, Honey, Agave Syrup, Carob Syrup, Invert Syrup, Coconut Blossom Nectar, Molasses, Blackstrap Molasses, Cane Juice, Dehydrated Cane Juice, Evaporated Cane Juice, Glucose, ISO Glucose, Fruit Juice Concentrate and Date Syrup.

All of these are types of sugar (and are as bad for you as regular table sugar), so if you're consuming too much of them it is very bad for your health and your weight. What are most common sugars in 'healthy' or 'sporty' foods? 

Fruit Juice Concentrate is usually added to 'healthy' versions of products, but doesn't have any of the benefits of fresh fruits, it is just high in sugar content. Though it does sound healthy!

Crystallised Fructose is 100% fructose, and comes in at being 20% sweeter than regular sugar; it is found in most sports drinks and flavoured waters.

Coconut Nectar Blossom, which sounds lovely, is made from coconut palm flowers - though it may contain a trace amount of minerals, it is essentially just table sugar.

What foods/drinks are surprisingly high in sugar?

Low Fat Yoghurt, which may surprise you, is usually high in sugar even though it is low in fat.

Fruit Juice can contain as many calories as a glass of fizzy cola, so a glass a day should be plenty, even though the sugar in the drink is naturally occurring. Tropical juices like peach and mango almost always have extra sugar added to them. Recent studies have suggested a maximum fruit juice intake of 150ml per day.

Sports drinks, which you probably already knew, almost always have a lot of sugar in. If you're training for long periods of time (think 2+ hours) and burning it off, then that's not so much of a problem. If you're only doing 45 mins, then having one of these drinks it is likely you'll be taking on more sugar than you need.

Always check the ingredients of what you buy for its sugar, or euphemistically named sugar, content. For adults in the UK, you should not be consuming any more than 30g in a day, which really isn't very much (a single 380ml bottle of Lucozade, for example, contains almost 20g of sugar).

 

 

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