You should get in a habit of reading the ingredient label of every product you buy. This is where you will find the hidden sugars, even if the front of the package does not talk about anything sweet!
Of course, you should look for any word that ends in -ose as this is some form of sugar. However, there are sugars listed in the ingredients that do not end in -ose. Some of the best examples of this include milk products that are derived from milk. Here are a few examples: whey, dry milk powder, malted milk, milk byproducts, and dry milk solids. Some of these products have far more sugar than liquid milk – this is a natural sugar called lactose.
For example, non-fat dry milk powder has about 50% (by weight) milk sugar! Whey powder, which has become a very popular so called “healthy protein” to add to smoothies ranges from about 60-75% lactose! Yes, it has a good amount of protein but you are getting a lot of sugar with that protein, not mentioning the allergenic and inflammation causing proteins like casein and the ample amount of hormones! You may be better off forgetting the milk and eating some nuts and seeds or adding some spirulina powder (very high in protein) to your smoothie.
There is a raging debate about which is worse for you: glucose or fructose… and table sugar (which is half glucose and half fructose) or plain fructose. There are many articles and blog posts around the web with this basic message:
– Glucose (and table sugar) is digested faster than fructose and causes a big spike in your blood glucose
– Fructose is processed slower (by the liver) and therefore does not cause a sudden rise in your blood glucose level
– Glucose, therefore, is worse for you than fructose. It causes you to gain more weight and it causes diabetes and metabolic diseases more than fructose
Unfortunately, a lot of this was originated by carefully crafted (and disguised) marketing campaigns by the food associations that wanted to sell you on the idea that high fructose corn syrup is good for you, or at least no worse for you than “ordinary” table sugar!
Here’s the truth in a nutshell: Multiple scientific studies have proven that excess fructose has a much greater negative effect on your body and health than excess sucrose, although neither is good for you. In particular, excess fructose seems to have more ability to create (visceral) belly fat, specifically fat inside the abdominal wall and surrounding your vital organs! Fructose also seems to have more ability to put more fat around your heart, in your brain, and in your arteries. Last but not least, fructose seems to stimulate the onset of diabetes and other metabolic diseases more than sucrose.
Does this mean you should never eat fruit or use fruit or natural unsweetened fruit juices in your baking and cooking? No, of course not! It does mean, however, you should be just as judicious with your use of fructose, perhaps even more so, as you are with table sugar, honey, maple syrup, and agave.
Disaccharides: Sucrose, Maltose, Lactose
Many of the sugars we add to our food are made by joining together two simple sugars. These are called disaccharides, where “di” means two and “saccharides” means sugars.
Sucrose (also called sugar, table sugar, white sugar, crystalline sugar, cane sugar, or beet sugar)
This is perhaps the most common sweetener we use. It is made up one molecule of glucose loosely linked to one molecule of fructose. When we consume sucrose, it is very easily broken into glucose and fructose by our bodies.
Maltose (also called malt sugar, maltobiose, monosaccharide glucose, and disaccharide maltose)
Maltose is made of two molecules of glucose loosely linked together. Maltose is often made from malt which may also contain trace amounts of sucrose and fructose.
- Lactose (also called milk sugar)
As discussed before, the lactose molecule is composed of one glucose molecule and one galactose molecule that can only be broken apart by special enzymes.
The FDA requires that anything labeled as “sugar” on an ingredient label in the United States be sucrose derived from sugar cane or from beets. However, you should also be aware of how to tell the difference between sugar from sugar cane and sugar from beets. From a cooking perspective, especially when baking, sugar cane sugar and beet sugar performs and tastes very differently — most say cane sugar tastes better and produces a better texture and mouth feel (see below). Furthermore, many people choose to avoid beet sugar because it is almost always derived from genetically modified beets!
Approximately 95% of all beets now grown in the United States to produce sucrose come from genetically modified seeds. These genetically modified beets are heavily treated with an herbicide called “Round Up” (glyphosate). Additionally, there is some evidence that genetically modified foods are harmful to the human body and to wildlife that eat them.
Food manufacturers know that people prefer the taste and other qualities of sugar cane sugar over beet sugar. They also know many people prefer not to consume genetically modified foods. Additionally, beet sugar is much cheaper to produce than sugar cane sugar. So, most food manufacturers that use cane sugar have started proudly labeling sugar derived from sugar cane sugar as something that distinguishes it from beet sugar. These names include “sugar cane sugar” and “sugar cane syrup.” If a package, especially a package of sugar, does not specifically say something about sugar cane, you should assume it is very likely beet sugar. “Pure sugar” can be either sugar cane sugar or beet sugar so don’t get fooled by that term.
And remember: Your body doesn’t make any difference where and how it gets its sugar, from beet or cane. Your body breaks down all the sugars into simple sugars glucose and fructose. In excess amounts they ruin your health. To keep your health, it’s better to stick to a no-sugar diet, such as the keto-vegan diet.