The 56 Most Common Names for Sugar (Some are Tricky)

The 56 Most Common Names for Sugar (Some are Tricky)

Added sugar may be the single unhealthiest ingredient in the modern diet.On average, Americans eat about 15 teaspoons of added sugar each day, although sources vary on the exact figure.Most of this is hidden within processed foods, so people don’t even realize they’re eating it. All this sugar may be a key factor in several major illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes .Sugar goes by many different names, so it’s very difficult to figure out how much a food actually contains.But first, let’s briefly explain what added sugars are and how the different types can affect your health.

What is Added Sugar?

During processing, sugar is added to food to enhance flavor, texture, shelf life or other properties.Added sugar is usually a mixture of simple sugars such as glucose, fructose or sucrose. Other types, such as galactose, lactose and maltose, are less common.Unfortunately, food manufacturers often hide the total amount of sugar by listing it under several different names on ingredients lists.Glucose and fructose — even though they’re very common and often found together — have very different effects on the body.Glucose can be metabolized by nearly every cell in the body, while fructose is metabolized almost entirely in the liverStudies have repeatedly demonstrated the harmful effects of high fructose consumption.These include insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver and type 2 diabetes.Although eating any extra sugar should be avoided, it is especially important to minimize your intake of added sugars that are high in fructose.

1. Sugar / Sucrose

Sucrose is the most common type of sugar. Often called “table sugar,” it is a naturally occurring carbohydrate found in many fruits and plants.Table sugar is usually extracted from sugar cane or sugar beets. It consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose, bound together.Sucrose is found in many foods, including ice cream, candy, pastries, cookies, soda, fruit juices, canned fruit, processed meat, breakfast cereals and ketchup, to name a few.

2. High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

High-fructose corn syrup is a widely used sweetener, especially in the US.It is produced from corn starch via an industrial process, and consists of both fructose and glucose.

There are several different types of HFCS, which contain varying amounts of fructose.

Two notable varieties are:

•HFCS 55: This is the most common type of HFCS. It contains 55% fructose and 45% glucose, which makes it similar to sucrose in composition.

•HFCS 90: This form contains 90% fructose.

High-fructose corn syrup is found in many foods, especially in the US. These include soda, breads, cookies, candy, ice cream, cakes, cereal bars and many others.

3. Agave Nectar

Agave nectar, also called agave syrup, is a very popular sweetener produced from the agave plant.It is commonly used as a “healthy” alternative to sugar because it doesn’t spike blood sugar levels as much as many other sugar varieties.However, agave nectar contains about 70–90% fructose, and 10–30% glucose.Given the harmful health effects of excess fructose consumption, agave nectar may be even worse for metabolic health than regular sugar.

It is used in many “health foods,” such as fruit bars, sweetened yogurts and cereal bars.

4–37. Other Sugars with Glucose and Fructose

Most added sugars and sweeteners contain both glucose and fructose.Here are a few examples:

4.Beet sugar

5.Blackstrap molasses

6.Brown sugar

7.Buttered syrup

8.Cane juice crystals

9.Cane sugar


11.Carob syrup

12.Castor sugar

13.Coconut sugar

14.Confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)

15.Date sugar

16.Demerara sugar

17.Evaporated cane juice

18.Florida crystals

19.Fruit juice

20.Fruit juice concentrate

21.Golden sugar

22.Golden syrup

23.Grape sugar


25.Icing sugar

26.Invert sugar

27.Maple syrup


29.Muscovado sugar

30.Panela sugar

31.Raw sugar

32.Refiner’s syrup

33.Sorghum syrup


35.Treacle sugar

36.Turbinado sugar

37.Yellow sugar

. 38–52. Sugars With Glucose Only

These sweeteners contain glucose, either pure or combined with sugars other than fructose (such as other glucose units or galactose):

38.Barley malt

39.Brown rice syrup

40.Corn syrup

41.Corn syrup solids



44.Diastatic malt

45.Ethyl maltol


47.Glucose solids


49.Malt syrup



52.Rice syrup

53–54. Sugars With Fructose Only

These two sweeteners contain only fructose:

53.Crystalline fructose


55–56. Other Sugars

There are a few added sugars that contain neither glucose nor fructose. They are less sweet and less common, but are sometimes used as sweeteners:




There’s No Need To Avoid Natural Sugars

There’s no reason to avoid the sugar that is naturally present in whole foods.Fruit, vegetables and dairy products naturally contain small amounts of sugar, but they also contain fiber, nutrients and various beneficial compounds.The negative health effects of high sugar consumption are due to the massive amount of added sugar that is present in the Western diet.The most effective way to reduce your sugar intake is to eat mostly whole and unprocessed foods.However, if you decide to buy packaged foods, be on the lookout for the many different names that sugar goes by.

By Adda Bjarnadottir, MS

23, October, 2015 |



3 Replies


  • FRUCTOSE -- natural fruit sugars -- is worse for a diabetic. Adds to insulin resistance, increased triglycerides, higher a1c and many a times elevated uric acid. Diabetics always need to minimize sugars (natural or not doesn't matter).

    Even non diabetics shouldn't be eating more than 15 grams fructose a day.

  • Extremely useful

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