Added Sugars: The Ultimate Sneaky Ingredient

Words: Katrina Rose Wind

added sugars

Sugar. The sneakiest ingredient of them all. Sometimes looking for ‘sugar’ on the back of a packet is not that simple, it can disguise themselves as different names leaving you more confused than you began. As we all know, eating a lot of added sugar can be detrimental for your health but there are ways to make sure you lower your daily intake.

Always Read The Label

It’s a bummer, but anything processed or pre-packaged will contain some degree of refined or added sugars. Too much sugar in your diet can lead to weight gain, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. However, there is some good news! There have been studies that show you can halt the progression of serious diseases like the ones mentioned above, and maybe even reverse them, by simply eating a low-sugar diet.

You may be one of those people that eats a relatively healthy diet, and doesn’t really buy sweet treats. But did you know that those added sugars are everywhere, including in your ‘health snacks’. Salad dressings, pre-packaged soups, sauces, store-bought granola, yoghurt, cereals and yes, even nut butters all have added sugars. Even ‘health’ drinks like fruit juices can have those dreaded sneaky sugars. Sadly, it’s everywhere. This is why it’s always important to know what you’re buying and to read the back of the label. One more time for the folks in the back- Always. Read. The. Label.

Know The Names of Sugar

It’s sometimes hard to recognise the name of added sugars because it might seem like there are too many of them. But there are ways to spot them without having to have a science degree, some major clues to spotting them might be easier than you thought. First off, if a word ends in ‘ose’, think dextrose, fructose, maltose and sucrose – those are sugars.

added sugars

If you see the word ‘syrup’ on the back of the label, that should be a tell-tell sign that there are added sugars. So rice syrup, high-fructose corn syrup (the biggest bad boy in the game), malt syrup, oat syrup, rice-bran syrup, corn syrup and more are, yup, added sugars. This one should be an obvious one but just in case, anything that has ‘sugar’ in the name, brown, cane, confectioners, and raw.

There are heaps more sneaky names out there, so we compiled a list for you so that you can easily spot them next time you’re at the shop, almost all of these end in the word sugar making it easier to spot. Buttered, beet, barley malt, cane s, castor, cane juice crystals, crystalline fructose, coconut sugar, corn sweetener, dextran, malt powder, date, ethyl maltol, fruit juice concentrate, invert, maltodextrin, muscovado, maltose, palm, panela, rapadura , and evaporated cane juice.

Almost Always There Will Be More Than One Sugar

Unfortunately, food companies often add natural and added sugars into one total number, making it hard to spot how much content is natural or added. Milk is a really good example of this, one cup of milk contains about three teaspoons of sugar. Dairy has naturally occurring sugar but most companies add extra to make it more appealing for the general public. You have to shop smart in order to avoid those sneaky additives.

In fact, the easiest way to avoid all those added sugars is to stick to a whole foods diet. Things that are unprocessed like fruits and vegetables have naturally occurring sugars that your body needs. Their nutritional value will always be way better than buying pre-packaged food.

Experiment Making Snacks At Home

By making things at home, you know exactly what’s going into your food. If you’re wanting a snack but are worried about added sugars, it might be time for you to try making some of your own snacks from scratch.

added sugars


This is the perfect snack if you’re craving something sweet. It’s perfect for banting and paleo followers needing a dessert for a special occasion, or just to quell a sweet craving.

Recipe for Banting Chocolate Pudding 


Almost all pre-packaged granola bars have sneaky added sugars, one minute you’re thinking you’re being smart with your food choices, the next minute you start feeling a bit bloated and slow. If you’re seriously cutting down, you can cut down the amount of honey that goes in by half.

Recipe for Date & Almond Bars

added sugars
added sugars


This snack is jam-packed with protein! Protein is your best friend, it can leave you feeling full for hours and as we all know avos make for a nutrient rich meal.

Recipe for Baked Eggs in Avos


For an even healthier option replace the bacon with turkey slices or lamb bacon! Dunk these crispy wedges in smokey paprika sour cream – just delish.

Recipe for Sweet Potato Wedges Wrapped in Bacon

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