You are careful about how much sugar you eat, you look for it on the labels of any packaged foods you buy, and you avoid the chemical sweeteners on the market…but are you unwittingly consuming refined sugar in disguise?
We all know that soft drinks, sodas, flavoured milks, and of course confectionary items contain sugar – but it is also commonly found in a number of surprising foods such as tomato sauce, crisps and even canned soups. Despite healthy-eating campaigns over the last 20 years or so, the amount of sugar found in popular grocery items is actually increasing. Scanning the labels for sugar is no longer enough – manufacturers are now including sugar under a number of aliases in order to fool the consumer.
Sucrose: refined crystallised sugar (a combination of fructose and glucose)
Dextrose: a simple sugar (glucose)
Lactose: a simple sugar from milk
Maltose: a simple sugar from starch (usually grains)
Maltodextrin: manufactured sugar (from maltose and dextrose)
Brown sugar: refined sugar coated with molasses or coloured with caramel
Raw sugar: less refined sugar with some molasses remaining
Fructose: a simple sugar from fruit
Corn syrup: manufactured syrup from corn starch (containing glucose, maltose, dextrose – used to preserve, add colour, flavour and reduce manufacturing costs)
High-fructose corn syrup: highly concentrated syrup (predominantly fructose)
White grape juice: highly purified fructose solution (virtually no nutrients present)
Sugar has a disastrous effect on the human body – and I’m not just talking about obesity and tooth decay. It raises insulin levels, inhibiting the release of growth hormones, and depressing the immune system. Compromised insulin levels play a major role in disease and illness. Excess sugar is at the root of mood disorders, organ cancers, varicose veins, gallstones, osteoporosis, allergies, eczema, acne, headaches, chronic fatigue and even ageing. In fact, it is thought that between 40-50% of skin ageing is caused by too much sugar in the diet!