Reading a label for sugar can be tricky. Added sugar comes under many guises in the ingredients list, while naturally occurring sugars (which aren't so bad for you) can show up in the nutrition facts — such is the case with milk. So read the ingredients list first. Aside from “sugar” and “evaporated cane juice,” look for ingredients that end in -ose, or items with the word “syrup” (see “Other Names for Sugar,” below). Then look at the sugar under nutrition facts.

Other names for sugar

barley malt
beet sugar
brown sugar
buttered syrup
cane-juice crystals
cane sugar
caramel
carob syrup
corn syrup
corn-syrup solids
date sugar
dextran
dextrose
diastase
diastatic malt
ethyl maltol
evaporated cane juice
fructose
fruit juice
fruit-juice concentrate
glucose
glucose solids
golden sugar
golden syrup
grape sugar
high-fructose corn syrup
honey
invert sugar
lactose
malt syrup
maltodextrin
maltose
mannitol
molasses
raw sugar
refiner's syrup
sorbitol
sorghum syrup
sucrose
turbinado sugar
yellow sugar
— Radha Marcum

Sources: Roberta Anding, RD; Get the Sugar Out by Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS (Three Rivers, 2008).

The high-fructose phenomenon

Eating too much regular cane sugar may be unhealthy, but eating even modest amounts of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) could be even worse, say experts. The refined fructose in HFCS affects your body differently than other types of sugars, absorbing quickly into cells while bypassing your body's natural appetite-control mechanisms. This means you stay hungry and keep eating. What's more, fructose increases body fat more readily. So read labels carefully and avoid HFCS whenever possible.
— R.M.

Source: Get the Sugar Out by Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS (Three Rivers, 2008).