Sugars Are Masquerading In Your Treats

sugar names on food labels

Think you know all the sugar names on food labels? Not sure? Test your sugar knowledge.

This is a guest post by Bonnie PattenExecutive Director of In it Patten points out that while we all expect Halloween to be a time filled with sugary treats, food manufacturers also spend a lot of time hiding the sugars they put in everyday foods. What’s truly scary is that this is true of  “healthy” foods and even many of the so-called “natural” foods we buy.  So, if you’ve ever wondered why that really healthy cereal or protien bar tastes so sweet, continue reading to see all the ways that sugars are hiding in your food.

Sugars Are Masquerading In Your Treats

By Bonnie Patten, Executive Director of

Halloween is around the corner, and you know what that means—sugar time! But did you know that sugar goes by many names? This can be confusing when you’re just looking for the word “sugar” on a label. In fact, many manufacturers use obscure names for sugar and break them up on the label into different kinds so that they appear to be deceptively small parts of the ingredients list.

Here are just a few terms to look out for when tallying up sweeteners:

  • syrup (such as high-fructose corn syrup or brown rice syrup)
  • malt (contains maltose)
  • cane (such as evaporated cane juice or cane sugar)
  • caramel
  • juice
  • honey
  • molasses
  • agave nectar
  • fructose (natural sugar from fruits)
  • lactose (natural sugar from milk)
  • sucrose (common table sugar; made from fructose and glucose)
  • maltose (sugar made from grain)
  • glucose (simply sugar, product of photosynthesis)
  • dextrose (form of glucose)

Now you can test your sugar knowledge. How many times is sugar listed in the following products?

    1. Annie’s Friends Bunny Grahams



  1. Kashi Go Lean Crunch



  1. Newman’s Own Ginger-O’s



  1. Luna S’mores



  1. 5: Organic cane sugar (2x), organic cane syrup, honey, sugar.
  2. 3: Brown rice syrup, dried cane syrup, honey.
  3. 3: Organic powdered sugar, molasses, organic sugar.
  4. 6: Organic dried cane syrup (3x), organic brown rice syrup, fructose, organic oat syrup solids

Originally posted on

bonnie2Bonnie Patten is the Executive Director of, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Madison, CT, whose mission is to be the go-to online resource dedicated to empowering consumers to protect themselves and one another against false advertising and deceptive marketing.

Bonnie provides the overall vision, leadership, and direction to help achieve its mission and strategic goals. Her commitment to educating the public about deceptive marketing and fraudulent ads stems from her belief that education is the only viable way to effectively eradicate the market for false ads. Prior to helping found, she spent most of the past two decades working as a litigation attorney in New Haven, CT. Bonnie earned her J.D. from Boston University and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Sugar photo courtesy; other photos courtesy of

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About the Author

is a former marketing consultant who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn her hand to creative non-fiction. Jennifer continues to write about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - follow her on and .