Many doctors, nutritionists, and researchers consider refined sugar a major nemesis of American health. Nevertheless, sugar is, hands down, America's number one food additive. Would you believe that we consume ten times more of it than we do all the other 2,600 or so food additives put together?! The one exception is salt, but even it runs a very distant second.1


Every year the typical American consumes between 120 and 150 pounds of refined sugar.2That translates to over one-third of a pound a day, 600-plus calories of teeth-rotting, health-destroying sweetness. Sort of a contradiction in terms.

Even if you don't eat sweets, the amount of refined sugar you may be consuming would no doubt shock you. Over two-thirds of the refined sugar used in this country is added to manufactured food products. In other words, it's hidden in many of the things we buy at the supermarket. For instance, did you know that a tablespoon of ketchup contains a full teaspoon of sugar?3Stuff like breads, soups, cereals, cured meats, hot dogs, lunch meat, salad dressings, spaghetti sauce, crackers, mayonnaise, peanut butter, pickles, frozen pizza, canned fruits and vegetables, tomato juice, and a host of other products all contain sugar. This doesn't even take into account the obvious sugary products like candies, cakes, ice cream, cookies, doughnuts, and soda pop.

Even if you are careful about reading labels, it's difficult to tell just how much refined sugar you're actually getting. It comes in many different forms, several of which might be contained in a single product. Terms likesucrose,fructose,glucose,maltose, andlactosemay mean something to a scientist (or "scientose"), but how are average laypeople supposed to understand what they're putting into their mouths?

And what about all those other products that we use to sweeten our food? Are molasses, maple syrup, corn syrup, and honey just as bad for your health as white sugar?

Obviously, there are many questions that arise in any discussion about sugars and sweeteners. Let's pick off a few and see if we can't get some understanding.

What Are the Various Forms of Sugars?
More commonly known as white, refined table sugar, it comes from sugar cane, sugar beets, and sugar maples, and is the most widely used form of sugar. The following is a list of products in the sucrose family:4

White sugar

99.9 percent sucrose

Turbinado sugar

99 percent sucrose

Brown sugar

96 percent sucrose

Maple sugar

95-98 percent sucrose

Maple syrup

65 percent sucrose