The Sugar Alphabet: 54 Different Names for Sugar

You’d think there’d be a good online reference for all the Sugar Aliases out there, wouldn’t you? One that’d tell you ALL those different names for Sugar-With-A-Capitol-“S”, (which is to say ingredients that contain extracted fructose, ie: the BAD GUY in sugar). And there are some sugar-name lists, but, I’ll venture to say, perhaps none as comprehensive as this one.

One big problem is that many of the Sugar Name lists out there fail to distinguish between sweeteners that contain fructose and those that do not– thereby committing the unforgivable sin of lumping innocent and lovable brown rice syrup in with such metabolic evils as crystalline fructose! (Can you imagine?)

In compiling this new comprehensive list, many of the terms I already knew, but some I had to research further. I hope you appreciate all the articles I had to read with titles like “The Biological Synthesis of Dextran from Dextrins,“ and the fact that I now – against my will- know what a structural isomer is. Yes! I did that for you.

So, (insert trumpet fanfare here) here is my Up-To-The-Minute, Pretty-Much-Alphabetized, Family-Sized LIST of Sugars-to-Watch-Out-For:

PS- Find a new sugar name? Send it to me!! I’ll add it.

THE SUGAR ALPHABET (54 different names and counting)

  • Agave
  • Barbados Sugar
  • Beet Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Brownulated Sugar
  • Buttered Syrup
  • Cane Juice
  • Cane Sugar
  • Cane Syrup
  • Caramel
  • Carob Syrup
  • Castor/ Caster Sugar
  • Confectioners Sugar
  • Crystalline Fructose
  • Date Sugar
  • Demerara Sugar
  • Dextran
  • Dehydrated Cane Juice
  • Evaporated Cane Juice
  • Evaporated Cane Syrup
  • Evaporated Sugar Cane
  • Florida Crystals
  • Free Flowing Brown Sugar
  • Fructose
  • Fructose Crystals
  • Fruit Juice
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • Glazing Sugar
  • Golden Sugar
  • Golden Syrup
  • Granulated Sugar
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
  • Honey
  • Icing Sugar
  • Invert Sugar
  • King’s Syrup
  • Maple Sugar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado
  • Panocha
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Raw Sugar
  • Refiners’ Syrup
  • Sorghum
  • Sorghum Syrup
  • Sucanat
  • Sucrose
  • Superfine Sugar
  • Table Sugar
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • White Sugar
  • Yellow Sugar

Not sugar but if I were you I would also avoid:

Sugar Alcohols:

  • Erythritol
  • Isomalt
  • Maltitol
  • Mannitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Xylitol

Artificial Sugar Substitutes:

  • Acesulfame Potassium
  • Aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal)
  • Cyclamate
  • Neotame (Nutrasweet)
  • Saccharin (Sweet n’ Low)
  • Stevia (Truvia)
  • Sucralose (Splenda)

The Good News List!

These sound suspicious, but are more or less fine. They aren’t all necessarily health foods mind you, but they are sweetening agents that contain no fructose.

  • Barley Malt
  • Barley Malt Syrup
  • Corn Syrup
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Dextrose
  • Diastatic Malt
  • Diatase
  • Ethyl Maltol
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • Glucose Solids
  • Grape Sugar
  • Isomaltose
  • Lactose
  • Malt Sugar
  • Maltose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Rice Syrup

Foods to Watch Out For:

You’ll find sugars in the strangest places, once you start to look. Here are some of the surprising, but very common offenders of hidden sugar (fructose):

  • Crackers
  • Bread
  • Bacon
  • Vanilla
  • Baby Food
  • Baby Formula
  • Salad Dressing
  • Cold Cuts
  • Marinades and Sauces
  • Tortellini
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Chicken Broth
  • Sausages
  • Cereal
  • Breakfast bars
  • Granola bars
  • Nuts
  • Dried Fruit

Foods That Are Generally Safe from Fructose: (it’s a short list, isn’t it?)

  • Cheese
  • Non-flavored Pretzels
  • Non-flavored Yogurt
  • Non-flavored potato chips


22 thoughts on “The Sugar Alphabet: 54 Different Names for Sugar

  1. Very much enjoying your book. I did no sugar for a month once and it was *hard*, so I think doing it for a year is an amazing feat. With regard to your list, I’m curious about the date sugar. I’ve looked at this at my local Whole Foods and the container indicated that it was only dried, powdered dates. So, if dates are okay, why is date sugar not? Just curious. Thanks!

    1. It all depends where you choose to draw the line, really. For example, the Sweet Poison author David Gillespie (who wrote the intro to my book) does not eat dried fruit- whereas in our family we do. The key is the fiber. In his book Fat Chance Dr Lustig addresses the question of fruit smoothies and why he doesn’t recommend them: it’s because all that beneficial fiber is chopped up into bits so small that they can’t do their important job of slowing down the fructose absorption as well as they should. Although, I’d imagine having a smoothie WITH the fiber still there (albeit chopped up), would still be preferable to having a glass of juice where the fiber has been removed entirely. Same with date sugar refined from dried dates- it might be a BIT preferable to a more refined white sugar, have a bit more fiber, but the closer you can get to the original form of that date, the better off you’re going to be.

      Thank you for this excellent question Anne!

    1. Thanks for this great suggestion- you’re right that I need to add Coconut Sugar to the list, also Palm Sugar which is another name for it. I’m on it!!

      With regards to salsa- I am partial to Green Mountain Salsa (which is not organic, but is GMO free)- don’t know if you can find it, but I’d be willing to bet your homemade version is best of all!

  2. Thank you for creating this list; it is a fabulous resource. I just ran across a recipe on a blog that called for Swerve sweetener which apparently contains Erythritol and Oligosaccharides. Erythritol I have heard of (and avoid) but I am wondering what you know about oligosaccharides. Sounds bad but I am not sure. Thanks for your help!

    PS: I love your book. 🙂

    1. Hi Melanie-
      Don’t know if you’ve gotten to the chapter in the book entitled “Oh, The Things You Will Eat” but this is where you’ll find us investigating these two ingredients, which we encountered in some No Sugar chocolate bars. The upshot was that we decided against them, for similar reasons that we decided against “fake” sugars (saccharin, aspartame) and sugar alcohols- not enough information available. The mildest side effects (which we experienced) are reported to be gassiness and gurgly tummy syndrome, but the jury still seems to be out on whether there’s anything worse than that to worry about. When I asked him. Dr. Lustig essentially said “we just don’t really know yet.”
      Thanks for this question.

  3. Hi! I was surprised to spot Stevia in a list of things to avoid, I thought it was miracle sweet tasting stuff that was not bad for you! Can you tell me a bit more about why it should be avoided in your view?

    1. Hi Petula-
      It’s true that many do feel Stevia is the miracle sweetener- but Stevia, which can be marketed as Truvia, for me falls under the category of “things we just don’t know enough about yet.” Although it is “natural” it is highly processed, as has been banned in various forms in other countries, due to purported link to controversial side effects. It’s just a big unknown, and since we’re only just now coming to understand the huge negative impact of sugar (another “natural,” yet highly processed ingredient)- which we’ve been using in earnest for the last 200 years or so, I choose to stay away- same goes for sugar alcohols and “fake” sugars such as saccharin and aspartame.

      Thanks for this important question.

      1. do you feel the same about liquid stevia as powdered stevia? i can’t seem to find any negative research or health articles about it and prefer it to any sugar (in the liquid form, don’t care for the powder)… I know it’s been about a year and a half since your last reply, so just checking to see if there have been any updates on your end. i’m listening to your book now so thought i’d ask. 🙂

      2. I’m slow but I’m here! For a super basic review of the controversial side of Stevia I’d recommend the Wikipedia page- – we decided to steer clear during our year of no sugar and since, simply because of this controversy. Because there are other non (or less) controversial, non-fructose sweeteners we can use, such as brown rice syrup, barley malt syrup and dextrose powder, we stick with those. Hope you are enjoying/have enjoyed the book!

  4. Hi! Thanks for this list! I’m in the middle of my own no sugar challenge and this will definitely help!! I’m also doing a project on this subject. If you have any advice, I’d love to hear it! Thanks again!

  5. Pretzels and all grains have hidden sugars anything ending with ose in the name is sugar . Flours, grains anything with preservatives has sugar.

  6. AMUTHAM Natural Jaggery Powder Added To Tea, Coffee, Milk, Juice, Panchamirtham, Sweets, Dosa, Chappathi, etc.

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