What are the 4 Types of Sugar?

It’s been over two weeks now since I cut sugar out of my life, and not only have I lost weight, but I feel better than ever.  At first, I was a bit irritable, but that went away after several days once my body was adjusted to not getting it’s sugar fix.  Today, in celebration of this small diet feat, I’m going to talk about the 4 types of sugar.

Also, if you missed my 2 week sugar free challenge, click here to view the results.

What are the Different Types of Sugar?

If you don’t know how to read levels, you won’t even make it one week without sugar!  Knowing what to look for on labels, in cocktails, and in general, will help you avoid sugars, if that’s your mission.  Barley malt, cane sugar, molasses, the list of sugars is seemingly endless!  Here’s everything you should know about sugar, including the 4 major sugar types.

The four simple sugars include:

  • Glucose
  • Fructose (a.k.a. fruit sugar)
  • Sucrose (a.k.a. table sugar)
  • Lactose (a.k.a. dairy sugar)

Added Sugar vs. Natural Sugar

This is where it gets a bit tricky, and I talked about added sugars here.  Added sugars were for me, the easiest ones to give up.

When you first think of sugar, you probably have your own visions of what that could be.  Perhaps a flavored soda?

Any type of sugary drink will have what’s known as added sugars.  Anything that’s added to a food or drink that aims at providing more flavor is going to fall into this category . This also helps give it more shelf life, flavor, and color.  If you are wondering if your drink has added sugar, just think of it’s shelf life, (or how long you could leave it out before consuming it without it spoiling) and that will give you your answer.

Example:  Let’s look at the shelf life of a canned soda vs. an apple.

It’s obvious here, as you only have a few days to a week to consume and apple before it goes bad.

There is no nutritional value in added sugars, they are empty calories, just like alcohol.

When you consume added sugars in moderation, it’s okay.  However, most people don’t even realize how much sugar they are putting into their bodies.

The top sources of added sugar are below:

  • soda
  • fruit drinks
  • cereal
  • cookies
  • cake
  • candy
  • flavored yogurt
  • processed foods (think canned goods)

According to the American Heart Association, the averaged American adult consumes 77 grams of sugar per day.  This leads to weight gain, chronic diseases, and spikes in blood sugar.

On the other hand, natural sugars are an entirely different animal.  Fruits and milk fall into this category.  While the sugar won’t give you any  health benefit, it’s being consumed in a bigger macro-nutrient package like antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.  Natural sugars are usually big in fiber, giving you even more health benefits.  (Apples are a great example of this, assuming you eat the skin.)

Here’s a full list of foods without sugar.


Various Names for Added Sugar

Reading labels can be very difficult.  Here are some of the MANY names that are used for added sugars.

  • Agave Nectar
  • Barley Malt Syrup
  • Brown Sugar
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Cane Juice
  • Cane Sugar
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Evaporated Cane Juice
  • Evaporated Corn Sweetener
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert Sugar
  • Malt Syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maple Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Palm Sugar
  • Raw Sugar
  • Rice Syrup
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • White Granulated Sugar

All in all, I can say that quitting sugar, and now drastically reducing my consumption of it, was one of the best decisions I’ve made in life.  

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