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Supermarket Savvy: Identifying Hidden Sugars

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Just because a label doesn’t broadcast sugar by its common name doesn’t mean it isn’t there. In fact, there are upwards of 50 different names for added sugar (!), and some of them could trick even the smartest shopper.

Here are a few to look out for:

  1. Glucose. This one is pretty well-known, but we figured a reminder couldn’t hurt.
  2. 2 Fructose or HFCS. Don’t be fooled, this is high-fructose corn syrup—and they thought they could sneak the acronym by you!
  3. Agave nectar. Many of us think this natural sweetener is a better choice, but it’s actually high in both glucose and fructose.
  4. Anything with sugar in the name. It’s still the same stuff, despite the ingredient list calling for the likes of the date, cane, demerara or golden varieties.
  5. Barley malt, maltodextrin, maltose and ethyl maltol.
  6. Molasses.

Aside from learning the less common names, also pay attention to the order of ingredients. If one of these sweet synonyms is the first or second ingredient, consider looking for a less sugary option.

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, Spring/Summer 2018

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