30 Code Words For Sugar

It’s yesterday’s news that you can eat healthier by avoiding foods full of unnecessary sugars, and that sugars appear on labels under different names, but you might be surprised to see just how many different guises sugar and sugar-related substances can assume.

Inside, 30 of them.

Brown-rice syrup
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids
Cane Juice
Dehydrated cane juice
Fruit juice concentrate
High-fructose corn syrup
Invert sugar
Malt syrup
Maple syrup
Raw sugar
Rice Syrup
Sorghum or sorghum syrup
Turbinado Sugar

Things ending in “ose” or “ol” are probably sugars.

Not all sugars are created equal, some of these are sugar alcohols which are not absorbed as fully by the body as regular sugar. It all depends on how an item falls on the glycemic index.

Sugar’s Many Disguises [About.com]
RELATED: The Earlier Ingredients Are On A Label, The More There Is Inside


Edit Your Comment

  1. Rice Syrup

    The hell???

  2. blue_duck says:

    I personally prefer the look of the old Candy Land box, myself.

  3. hypnotik_jello says:

    hey charlie… candy mountain!

  4. blue_duck says:

    @hypnotik_jello: YES! Chaaaaarlie!!

  5. VA_White says:

    All sugar is not equally evil. Many organic foods have replaced high fructose corn syrup with cane sugar or brown rice syrup. If I had to pick, the latter two are less crappy for you.

    HFCS is bad, bad, bad stuff. And it’s insidiously inserted into a million foods you’d never imagine. We have stopped buying any food with HFCS and there are many foods we either stopped eating altogether or have learned to make at home because there is no suitable and tasty commercial version without added HFCS.

    Barbecue sauce is one of them. I’ve tried a couple of organic ones but they tasted terrible so we make our own at home now.

  6. Ickypoopy says:

    Cane sugar is not always better than HFCS.
    Many companies use “Inverted Cane Sugar.”

    Corn Syrup is to HFCS as Cane Sugar is to Inverted Cane Sugar. (They use virtually the same process in the conversion also)

    It sure does taste better, but inverted cane sugar is no better for you then HFCS.

  7. Ickypoopy says:

    Cane sugar is not always better than HFCS. Many companies use “Inverted Cane Sugar” for the same reason they use HFCS. (Denser, more stable, easier to suspend)

    Corn Syrup is to HFCS as Cane Sugar is to Inverted Cane Sugar (They even use the same process to create them).

    The inverted cane sugar sure does taste better, but its effect on the body are basically the same.

  8. OnceWasCool says:

    “Things ending in “ose” or “ol” are probably sugars”

    Nose & Tool? :)

  9. kidgenius says:

    You forgot one:

    Crystalline Fructose

    It’s now being used in place of sugar in powdered drinks.

  10. stavs says:


    I found some decent barbecue sauce at “The Fresh Market” that had sugar. I wont buy BBQ sauce with HFCS anymore either. I wish I could remember the name of the stuff, but it was really good. I’ll have to check at home.

  11. Beerad says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Well, it’s not THAT crazy. You have corn syrup, so why not rice syrup? And treacle is just the English word for molasses.

  12. Pipes says:

    @VA_White: I always hear about the evil insidiousness of HFCS. I know it can’t be good for you, but what specifically makes it so bad that you’ll no longer consume it? (I ask out of a genuine curiosity: I don’t know much about it. I’m sure a google search would afford me some information but there’s no substitute from hearing someone’s experiences with it.)

  13. stavs says:


    Found it… [www.thefreshmarket.com]

    Lip Lickin’ Sweet & Smoky BBQ Sauce. They have another variety as well. Its good stuff, all natural.

  14. AtomikB says:

    It’s very true that not all sugars are the same. For example, fructose is basically 1/2 of a sucrose (table sugar) molecule, but attaches to the same taste receptor. In effect, this means that fructose is twice as sweet as sucrose for a given mass, or has half the calories of sucrose for a given sweetness. This also means that fructose is effectively half the price of sucrose (to achieve a certain level of sweetness), which makes it more attractive for food manufacturers.

    Another thing to consider is glycemic index. Fructose and sucrose have the highest indices, meaning that they cause a large spike in blood sugar levels when you eat them. This blood sugar spike causes your pancreas to release insulin, which tells your body to store these sugars as body fat.

    Some sweeteners like brown rice syrup or molasses have a lower glycemic index, which means they raise your blood sugar levels more slowly. This allows your body to use more of that blood sugar as fuel, and prevents the sudden release of release of insulin and the concomitant conversion of sugars to body fat.

  15. lalahsghost says:

    Maltodextrin…. heh… that’s about the only one I didn’t know, being diabetic for 20 years~

  16. Mom2Talavera says:

    I love to cook with Brown-rice syrup,Agave nectar and maple syrup.
    99% of the above are automatically organic and non-GMO.

  17. sroemerm says:

    I would not call sorbitol a code word for sugar. Sorbitol is commonly referred to as sugar alcohol. It is used as as a sugar substitute. While it does in fact metabolize, it does so slowly, providing 2.4 kcal per gram vs sucrose’s 4 kcal per gram.

    If you are looking to cut down on sugar, you should actually look for sorbitol…jut don’t eat to much of it. Sorbitol can act as a non-stimulant laxative…ewww!

  18. Mom2Talavera says:

    oh since where on the subject of Sugar.
    American Crystal, a large Wyoming-based sugar company, who ironically have launched an “organic” line of their sugar,and several other leading U.S. sugar providers have announced they will be sourcing their sugar from genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets beginning this year and arriving in stores in 2008. Like GE corn and GE soy, products containing GE sugar will not be labeled as such. Since half of the granulated sugar in the U.S. comes from sugar beets , a move towards biotech beets marks a dramatic alteration of the U.S. food supply. These sugars, along with GE corn and soy, are found in many conventional food products, so consumers will be exposed to genetically engineered ingredients in just about every non-organic multiple-ingredient product they purchase. The GE sugar beet is designed to withstand strong doses of Monsanto’s controversial broad spectrum Roundup herbicide . Studies indicate farmers planting “Roundup Ready” corn and soy spray large amounts of the herbicide, contaminating both soil and water. Farmers planting GE sugar beets are told they may be able to apply the herbicide up to five times per year. Sugar beets are grown on 1.4 million acres by 12,000 farmers in the U.S. from Oregon to Minnesota.

    In addition the European Union has not approved GE sugar beets for human consumption

    what their packaging looks like if you want to avoid this brand.

  19. TechnoDestructo says:

    Some of these are sugar alcohols, which make me feel like puking.

  20. Mom2Talavera says:

    Xylitol is another sugar alcohol.
    Its benificial to teeth. Xylitol is effective in reducing the amount of plaque producing bacteria present in the mouth.There are lots of gums and such with xylitol…but dont bother buying it if Xylitol isnt the 1st or 2nd ingrdient.

    I like
    XyliChew brand and
    Peelu Brand

    Trident is junk…

  21. CyGuy says:

    I’d add:

    Simple syrup, light syrup, and heavy (which I guess you could say are covered by ‘syrup’)


    dried whey (which is 70% lactose)

  22. ancientsociety says:

    @Pipes: I’d suggest you read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan.

    Not really an in-depth investigation of HFCS but does give a good, no-nonsense overview of how HFCS became so ubiquitious in processed foods.

  23. scoopy says:

    If anywhere in the ingredients it mentions Fun Dip, that’s sugar also.

  24. Cowboys_fan says:

    Lactose and Tylenol?

  25. tph says:

    @ESLAYDOG: No, Fun Dip is crack.

  26. harshmellow says:

    @blue_duck: Yes, but this Candyland box has two pretty ladies on it saying “Look up my skirt!”

  27. Sherryness says:

    Don’t forget “modified corn starch” which is another name for “high fructose corn syrup.” Staggeringly enough, you can find this ingredient in most lunch meat, including those packages of slices of roasted chicken and turkey breast sold by Butterball and the like to put on salads and use in stir fry and whatnot.

  28. zundian says:


    Lactose is a sugar, actually.

  29. @Beerad: Apparently I should have looked up what treacle is as I’ve had the wrong idea for years.

    Corn syrup doesn’t sound right either now that I think about it but I’d never even heard of rice syrup.

  30. Cowboys_fan says:

    Hehe, ya I noticed that too after I posted of course :)…wondering when somebody would mention that!

  31. harshmellow says:

    Doesn’t alcohol (as in beer) break down into sugar? Hence the beer belly? Pretty sure that is the case…

  32. drjayphd says:

    Is it wrong that once I saw that list, this came to mind…

    Dwight: You know what? You have forfeited that privilege. I have tried to treat you all as adults but obviously I am the only adult here. [reads from list] Number one, “invert sugar”…
    Meredith: Could you mean vagina? Because if you do, I want that covered.
    Dwight: I thought your vagina was removed during your hysterectomy.
    Meredith: The uterus is different from a vagina. I still have a vagina.

  33. harshmellow says:

    @drjayphd: Am I wrong or are you posting this to multiple posts?

  34. harshmellow says:

    @drjayphd: Sorry about that, I AM wrong! My bad.

  35. SadSam says:

    Ugh! This makes my head hurt. Its close to impossible (at least at my local grovery store) to find anything without HFCS. Even the bakery bread has it.

    I’m also annoyed that Splenda also is sneaking into more and more foods under the name sucralose.

  36. cccdude says:

    You that can find good two HFCS-free BBQ sauces at Trader Joe’s under their own brand. One’s a Kansas city style BBQ sauce and the other a southern (vinegar-based) style. As a BBQ sauce junkie (I use it instead of ketchup just about everywhere) it’s the only BBQ sauce I’ll buy at the store anymore.

  37. Celeste says:

    Or if you like it spicy, try Cowtown BBQ’s Night of the Living BBQ sauce. Yum! And all ‘kitchen ingredients’ – nothing I wouldn’t find in my own cupboard. I haven’t tried their Cowtown BBQ sauce, because my local grocery store doesn’t carry it, but my husband and I liked their Night of the Living BBQ sauce so much, we went back to the store and stocked up in case they quit carrying it (which they always seem to do when I find a product I really like).

  38. Dervish says:

    @Pipes: It’s mostly a lot of hype, in terms of the health detriments. The blends of HFCS used in foods are metabolized in a way that is very similar to sugar, because they are nearly half fructose and half glucose, just like a molecule of sucrose (standard sugar).

    More valid concerns have to do with the fact that it comes from corn, which is in high demand.

  39. Beerad says:

    @SadSam: Well, Splenda is just the brand name for sucralose, so you shouldn’t expect to see “Splenda” in the ingredients list any more than you would expect to see “Nutrasweet” instead of “aspartame”. It seems to me that most products using sucralose are boldly advertising that fact since it reduces calories overall.

  40. swalve says:

    What’s wrong with sucralose?

  41. Trai_Dep says:

    I used to drink a variety of juice concentrates (better than soda pop) until I learned to scan for HFCS. It removed Lemonaide and cranberry juice from my shopping list (Ocean Spray, why have you foresaken me?!). Bast*rds.

    Only OJ, some grape juice, some apple juice make the cut. Or using my juicer, of course.

    I wonder how many moms get suckered as I did.

  42. Kloud says:

    You guys are hilarious. You only live one life and you’re going to live it in fear of a sugar product? ‘The hell is wrong with you?

  43. MallRat says:

    Obviously no one should be consuming copious amounts of sugar- but it’s all about moderation, whether it’s regular cane sugar, or hfcs. One is not worse than the other, it’s just a matter of having a balanced diet.

  44. xxkarenlxx says:

    In a nutshell, why HFCS is not good for you:

    When you eat food from healthy sources, they turn off your desire to eat by causing your body to stop producing Neuropeptide Y. This is the signal to your brain that you have had enough food.

    When you eat HFCS your body doesn’t recognize the fructose and wants you to keep eating. In essence, the “switch” that tells your stomach that you’ve had enough to eat is never thrown (by your brain.)

    According to Drs. Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen, foods with fructose make you both hungry and unable to turn off your appetite.