Sugar…Hidden in Plain Sight


Did you know that 74% of packaged foods, both sweet and savoury, have added sugar?

Even if you are not a sweet tooth you may be consuming more sugar than you realise. Some foods promoted as "natural" or "healthy" are laden with added sugars, compounding the confusion for consumers.

Eating too much sugar is really bad for your health. A high sugar intake has been linked to an increased risk of many diseases, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

Pre-packaged foods and drinks that are higher in sugar than you might realise include:

  • Low-fat yoghurt
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Flavoured milk drinks
  • Iced coffee and tea
  • Juice
  • Pasta sauce
  • Pre-made sauces that are added to make meals – curry, Thai, stir-fry sauces etc.
  • Baked beans and spaghetti
  • Tomato and BBQ sauce
  • Salad dressings and mayonnaise
  • Pre-made soups
  • Canned fruits and some canned vegetables
  • Seasoning powders
  • Muesli bars or other cereal bars
  • Bread varieties
  • Cakes, biscuits, slices, doughnuts and sweet buns (like finger buns, chocolate buns, fruit buns, hot-cross buns)
  • Chocolates and lollies
  • Protein bars
  • Sports drinks
  • Soft drinks
  • Vitamin waters
  • Bottled smoothies

If we reflect for a moment on a typical day for many of us we can see how sugar levels creep up. The following daily eating plan has no obvious added sugar but plenty of hidden sugars. For example: Cereal for breakfast with a glass of juice, fruit yoghurt and muesli bar for snacks, Nutella sandwich for lunch and spaghetti bolognaise for dinner.

In our very busy and complex lifestyles it can be difficult to find the time to dedicate to healthy eating. It can be easy to choose convenience foods, pre-packaged meals and sauces especially when we are on the run or have fussy eaters.

CHALLENGE! Why not try switching out just one meal a day to a less processed version. For example instead of a pre-packaged cereal try an omelette with added vegetables or natural unsweetened yoghurt with berries, nuts and seeds. Drink water and eat a piece of whole fruit rather than drinking fruit juice.

There are 61 names for added sugar in food, see the table below. If you find this all a bit too overwhelming print the table and take it with you the next time you go shopping.


Names for Sugar 

Agave nectar

 Demerara sugar  Mannose

Barbados sugar

 Dextrin  Maple syrup

Barley malt

 Dextrose  Molasses

Barley malt syrup

 Evaporated cane juice  Muscovado

Beet sugar

 Free-flowing brown sugars  Palm sugar

Brown sugar

 Fructose  Panocha

Buttered syrup

 Fruit juice  Powdered sugar

Cane juice

 Fruit juice concentrate  Raw sugar

Cane juice crystals

 Glucose  Refiner's syrup

Cane sugar

 Glucose solids  Rice syrup


 Golden sugar  Saccharose

Carob syrup

 Golden syrup  Sorghum Syrup

Castor sugar

 Grape sugar  Sucrose

Coconut palm sugar

 HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)  Sugar (granulated)

Coconut sugar

 Honey  Sweet Sorghum
 Confectioner's sugar  Icing sugar  Syrup
 Corn sweetener  Invert sugar  Treacle
 Corn syrup  Malt syrup  Turbinado sugar
 Corn syrup solids  Maltodextrin  Yellow sugar
 Date sugar  Maltol  
 Dehydrated cane juice  Maltose  

If you would like more information such as recipes, tips, giveaways, etc.

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