Think you know sugar?
by Hugo Jones on Feb 05, 2020
Sometimes it is not easy to spot sugar amongst the ingredients list on the back of an off-the-shelf nutrition or meal replacement product, as it can often be cleverly hidden under 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 just as bad for you as regular table sugar), so if you are consuming too much of them, it is likely to have a negative impact on your health and weight.
What are the most common sugars in 'healthy' or 'sporty' foods?
Fruit Juice Concentrate is usually added to 'healthy' versions of products however it has a high sugar content and does not offer any of the benefits of fresh fruit. It does however sound healthy!
Crystallised Fructose is 100% fructose and is 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 if 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 them. If you are training for long periods of time (think 2+ hours) and burning it off, then consuming an occasional sport drink should not be much of a problem. However, if you are training for about 45 minutes and then consuming one of these drinks you are likely to consume more sugar than you need.
Always check the ingredients of what you buy for its sugar, or euphemistically named sugar, content. An adult in the UK should not be consuming more than 30 grams of sugar a day, however, that may be difficult while consuming sports drinks, as a single 380ml bottle of Lucozade, contains almost 20 grams of sugar.