When we first met, you seemed to have no secrets. You were sweet, simple and straightforward. You lived in a big sack bearing your five-letter name in capital letters.
Then you started acting kind of sneaky: Saying you were away when you were actually still around; going by different names; showing up where you didn't belong. Since when do you go by "rice syrup"? Who really calls you "sucrose"? Come on, "concentrate": Who are you trying to kid? Sometimes, you pop up as all three in a single place. It's hard to tell who you are anymore.
We'll admit we're still pretty addicted to you. (Take heed, sugarholics: Sugar addiction may be real, but not impossible to overcome. Here's how to beat your cravings for sweets.) But our relationship with you is definitely aging us, even when we don't realize we're indulging. So finally, we're unmasking your clever camouflage, your 10 sneaky names for sugar.
More: Sugar Substitute Suspicions: Fact or Fiction?
What's the anatomy of a sugar? Let's start with table sugar, one of the most common. The scientific name is sucrose: That's half glucose (starch) and half fructose (sweetness). You might also know it by "cane sugar," which is 100 percent sucrose.
Here's the bad news. While glucose can be metabolized by all your organs, fructose is metabolized almost solely by your liver, writes Robert Lustig, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, in his forthcoming book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease.
In other words, fructose taxes your liver. And it's in every caloric sweetener, from white sugar, to cane sugar, to beet sugar, to agave nectar. It also pops up on food labels by itself. (See more lies on food labels in 7 All-Natural Foods That Aren't.)
More: 5 Liver Health Tips for Weight Loss
2. Evaporated Cane Juice
Sounds healthier, right? Don't believe the babble. Evaporated cane juice is little more than a dressed-up name for straight-up sugar.
In October 2009, the FDA issued a guidance statement about the term. "FDA's current policy is that sweeteners derived from sugar cane syrup should not be declared as 'evaporated cane juice' because that term falsely suggests that the sweeteners are juice," the guidance says. But in reality, evaporated cane juice isn't even a liquid. The FDA recommendations aren't binding. Still, the yogurt company Chobani is under legal fire for its simultaneous use of "evaporated cane juice" and its claim of "no sugar added" products, reports Food Navigator. The lawsuit, brought by a California woman, accuses the company of violating federal law.