Is that really sugar free?

By May 22, 2016Nutrition

Added sugars are under the spotlight at the moment, and while I don’t think they are the SINGLE cause for obesity and poor health, they certainly contribute to it. Does that mean we should remove them entirely, no! We end up then back at the point we were at 20 years ago. Everyone thought fat was the devil, we cut it out, everything on the market became fat free and then we realised that meant we were just increasing our refined carbs. Now everything is sugar free (or so it claims to be – you’ll soon realise not everything you think is sugar free actually is!), so what are we going to replace the sugar with, what will be our next devil?

I am in no way shape or form advocating for sugar, we need to limit the stuff absolutely! Get rid of it as much as possible, but we don’t have to be obsessive about it and we certainly shouldn’t be replacing sugar with any sugar alternatives (see below) and think that it is any healthier.  We just need to limit our intake of added sugars, and you know what the easiest way to do that is …. EAT LESS PROCESSED FOODS! It all comes back to that at the end of the day.

What a lot of people don’t realise is that sugar comes in many shapes and forms. Sugars are carbohydrates, they are chemical compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and include glucose, fructose, lactose, galactose, sucrose and maltose, plus many more!

It is commonly thought that fructose is the “bad” sugar however, all, yes all, added sugars (note: ‘ADDED sugars’) need to be limited. The list complied below is an extensive list of sugars which all spike your blood sugar levels, all contribute to calories in the diet, and all need to be used sparingly. If you are thinking you are making a sugar free recipe but adding rice malt syrup, agave nectar or honey – IT IS NOT SUGAR FREE. That doesn’t mean you can’t have it, just don’t think that you are making a healthier choice by doing so.

The other thing that grinds my gears is when people say but its ‘natural’ coconut sugar or unrefined implying that is by default healthier. At the end of the day if it comes from a plant (eg cane sugar, coconut sugar, rice malt syrup ect ect ect) it is natural, and they all have to go through the same degree of processing it doesn’t make it healthier. Spider venom is natural but I don’t see anyone rushing out to drink that.

Keep an eye out for these ingredients on your food labels or in your recipes and YES I use them in my recipes from time to time but only SPARINGLY.


  1. Sucrose
  2. Fructose
  3. Glucose
  4. Agave Nectar
  5. Honey
  6. Maple syrup
  7. Rice malt syrup
  8. Coconut sugar
  9. Cane juice
  10. Brown sugar
  11. Molasses
  12. Confectioners sugar
  13. Date sugar
  14. Demerara sugar
  15. Golden syrup
  16. Muscovado sugar
  17. Raw sugar
  18. Treacle sugar
  19. Corn syrup
  20. Dextrose
  21. Malt syrup
  22. Carob syrup
  23. High fructose corn syrup
  24. Maltose
  25. Fruit juice concentrate
  26. Evaporated cane juice
  27. Panocha
  28. Invert sugar
  29. Beet sugar
  30. Oat syrup


Limit your intake of foods with large amounts of these. One other hot tip, if there isn’t any sugar derivatives in the ingredients list, then you can be sure that the sugars on the nutrition information panel are from the sugar naturally occurring in the food. For example fresh milk – the only ingredient is milk therefore any sugars in the nutrition panel are from the naturally occurring lactose. So not to worrrrry 🙂 (unless you’re lactose intolerant and then for the sake of other people in the room please avoid haha!)


Marika xo


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