In order to be an educated consumer when it comes to sugar, it’s important to know all the words that are used on ingredient lists and packaging that mean sugar. We can read labels all day but it won’t be much help if we are unable to recognize ingredients such as brown rice syrup, barley malt, glucose solids and high-fructose corn syrup for what they are: SUGAR.

For example, can you pick out the different types of sugar on this label for a popular type of granola bar?

added sugars

There are 10!

added sugars

Remarkably, there are over 60 different names for sugar that can be used on a nutrition label. Click here to review the full list of names and to identify the common culprits in your diet.

WEEKLY TIP: When trying to reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet, you may experience some sugar cravings. Here are a few ways to reduce those cravings:

  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep leads to increased stress hormones that can lead to sugar cravings.
  • Ensure the cravings are not because you are hungry. We often have sugar cravings when our body is not fueled enough during the day. If you have eaten well and eaten enough, you may find that you are able to talk yourself through a craving knowing that it is not hunger and that it will pass. If you decide you are hungry, try grabbing some nuts, a piece of fruit, or try out this week’s recipe for granola bars as a snack.
  • Decrease the amount of sweets and added sugar that surrounds you. If there are a lot of sweets in your house or in your office, there are additional temptations that cause cravings. By getting the sugar out of the house, you will be less tempted.

WEEKLY RECIPE: This week brings you a recipe for homemade granola bars with only four ingredients. The same recipe is attached so that you can print it to have at home.

Simple and Clean Granola Bars

Granola bars are a great snack for energy during the day. While there are naturally occurring sugars from the dried fruit, this recipe does not have any added sugar. Use this recipe with limited ingredients to make your own granola bars at home and decrease the amount of added sugar in your diet.
  • 1cuppitted dates
  • 2cupswalnuts or Brazil nuts (replace with pumpkin or sunflower seeds to make it nut free)
  • 2cupsunsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4cupunsweetened dried cranberries (can replace with raisins as a variation)
  • 3Tbspwater
  1. First, toast the walnuts slightly in an oven at 170 degrees. Let them cool before progressing on to the next step.
  2. Once cool, place the toasted walnuts, dates, shredded coconut and cranberries in a food processor.
  3. Process until the mixture is well combined and has a crumbly texture.
  4. Once combined, gradually add water a tablespoon at a time and keep processing until the mixture is sticky and holds together.
  5. Place mixture in a square baking dish that has been lined with plastic wrap. Press down firmly to ensure the mixture sticks together well.
  6. Place dish in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Once firm, cut into bars and sprinkle with the shredded coconut.
  7. Serve and enjoy! For any leftovers, store in the fridge in order for them to last longer.
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Get more recipes from the UVM Medical Center. View our Recipe Collection by clicking here. 

Bridget Shea, RD, is a clinical dietitian at The University of Vermont Medical Center.

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