Sugar free, really?

When we talk about sugar, the white crystals that are sweet and sticky are normally what comes to mind.  Most of the sugar we think of comes from either the cane or beet.  Those white crystals are the result of some pretty deep processing and ‘cleaning’.  Brown sugar crystals or “raw” sugar is what the white stuff looks like before it gets ‘cleaned’. Hmm how do they take the dark ‘dirty’ look out of that sugar.  I know what I use to get my families socks white…

Some of the other names that sugar goes by are:

  • Agave
  • Barley malt
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextran
  • Dextrose
  • Ethyl maltol
  • Fructose
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Lactose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Panocha
  • Refiner’s syrup
  • Rice syrup
  • Sorbitol
  • Sorghum syrup
  • Sucrose


You probably recognize some of those.  They are usually plastered all over the labels of foods that say things like, “Sugar Free”, “Low in sugar”, “Now with less sugar.”

So, before you decide something is über healthy because it says sugar-free, give your head a shake and the label a look.

Sugar in its purest form is a carbohydrate.  A simple one, so too much of it in your body gets converted from energy to fat which is stored energy.  I remember when I was a “big girl” I had a lot of “stored energy”. Mostly because I loved anything that had sugar in it.  Sweets, candy, cakes, pop.  All contain lots of sugar which is great for sweetening foods, not so great for helping you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Another incredible source of sugar (and by incredible I mean incredibly bad)…alcohol!  In terms of simple…its pretty much the simplest sugar.  Your body breaks alcohol down with ease.  So much so, it shoves it immediately into the bloodstream and then into the cells for stored energy (aka FAT).

Be careful when you reach for the “sugar free”.  Most foods that you buy in a store that are pre packaged and processed will contain multiple layers of sugar.

Even recipes that are promoted as sugar-free will often have ingredients that replace the word sugar with some other form of sweetener.  Molasses, syrups, fruit juices and then all the words that end in ‘ose’.

So many foods that come to us naturally have sugar in them that nature put there.  Fruits and grains are pretty much the most common ones.  So, why not put fresh berries on the foods you want to sweeten up?

Finally, if there is one thing you take away from this, I want it to be this.  High fructose corn syrup…avoid this like the plague!! I know it is all around us and that it is present in so many foods, but, avoid it.  It’s cheap to make and does nothing good for you, in fact it does the exact opposite.

There is something else to watch for. Companies that have relied on cheaper chemical sweeteners to carry their bottom lines have been moving away from chemicals to all natural sugars…even they have realized health is more important than money.  Something all of maybe need to look at…go retro!

I personally believe this is one sucker that will be made illegal some day.  There is no physical goodness that comes from HFCS.




  1. Well, isn’t that amazing. What manufacturers do and put in their products to sell them, and then they wonder why some of this nation is obese including their children. Some of the stuff that you mention here Carrie, I was not sure of or did not know. Thanks for the heads up. Berries, ohhhh I like those…. 🙂

  2. Years ago when my sons were babies, I contacted Heinz and Gerber about their baby foods. I made my own, but when we went visiting I sometimes bought a few jars. I was very careful not to buy anything with added salt or sugar, and was totally floored at the time to see how much of the fruit had sugar in it. (I was also surprised that bananas would be sold in a jar … with added sugar!) When I asked the baby food companies why they did it, they said that in taste tests babies preferred the fruit with sugar in it. Of course they did, I said, if they were given the choice … but not given the choice, babies would eat peaches, pears, etc. without the sugar because they were naturally sweet – and they wouldn’t know the difference. I think things may have changed since the early ’90’s with baby food – at least I hope so – but no wonder why so many children are hooked on sugar at a young age.

  3. Awesome blog Carrie- I hate how those companies get away with that stuff! I just read the post of someone I know on facebook and am infuriated. She posted that she was upset because her family doctor told her that she and her daughter were very overweight and needed to lose weight. Her daughter is only 5 or 6 and they are both extremely overweight. The child also has behavior problems (I wouldn’t be shocked if her diet contributed to this). What’s so frustrating is that she’s complaining that the Doctor had the nerve to say this to her! So many people than commented below that “it’s what’s on the inside that counts” and “who cares what the doctor says, we love you just the way you are”, along with many other similar comments. I agree that people should not be judged by their appearance but these two people are clearly NOT HEALTHY and if your doctor isn’t the one who can tell you, than who is? It’s sad that being overweight and unhealthy has become so mainstream that some people don’t even feel their doctor has a right to mention it even though it directly relates to their health!

  4. Hi,

    I totally agree with the above comments. If any-one is interested I’m reading a book called Sweet Poison. It’s written by a gentleman who researched the sugar/sweetener industry and exposes alot of dirty things about sugar. My biggest beef with Heinz is that they manufacter alot of their baby foods in China and also use alot of their ingredients (since they are alot cheaper). I could not find a safe, reliable baby food for my son, so I made my own too.

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