OMG! We DID It!!

Yesterday marked the FINAL day of the 28-Day Re-Integration Phase of the Kick the Sugar Challenge. Those of us who did it went from being called “Challengers” to being called “Warriors”, and believe me, we deserve that title.

Those of us who stuck it out for all 56 Days since the beginning of the Challenge have now moved into the Maintenance Phase, which lasts, oh, the REST OF OUR LIVES!!!


For the rest of our lives, we get to eat well, feel well, and be well. Simply by changing our relationship with food…and with ourselves.

I say “simply” because these people followed the plan I laid out and they trusted the process.

And in so doing, they have changed the course of their lives and their families’ lives.


It was not easy work, but there was a system in place that, if followed, allowed them to completely transform their lives and their health.

Maintaining our momentum and our new habits is KEY to living a healthy, happy, pain-free life, both physically and emotionally.

So we will continue to practice what we’ve learned in an effort to become the healthiest versions of ourselves.

Because now that we KNOW, we can’t UN-KNOW.

We can’t go back to our old ways and think we can feel as vibrant and healthy as we did when we ate healthier.

We can’t stop exercising without knowing that doing so will affect our mental state, our stress levels, and our physical appearance.

We can’t eat sugar daily and not think about what sugar does to our bodies, our brains and our energy levels.

We can’t eat bread and pasta and rice and not KNOW that our bodies just see it as sugar.

We can’t see products on shelves and not turn over the package to read the ingredients and look for the grams of sugar.

We can’t UN-KNOW that 4 grams of sugar equals a whole teaspoon…and that there are 40 grams in a can of soda!

We can’t UN-KNOW that the sugar industry is a slave trade and that BIG SUGAR has dangerous goals—to addict us, control us, and make money while making us sick, fat and depressed.

We can’t un-know that sugar goes by many, many different names, and we must be vigilant if we want to preserve our health and the health of our children.

Once we know, we can’t un-know.

And “when we know better, we do better.” ~ Dr. Maya Angelou

I wanted to share a video that I shared with my Challengers. I love Dr. Amen’s work on the brain, and I think you will get something out of watching he and his wife Tana go through a typical pantry.

Until we KNOW better, we can believe that the products we are buying are safe. And we can even believe that they are food!

But when we know better, we do better.

In the video, Dr. Amen refers to a healthier alternative to pasta. It is the “Shirataki noodle”. This is a Japanese noodle made from the Konjac yam AKA “devil’s tongue yam” or “elephant yam”. They range from $3 to $4 a package  at health food stores. I found them at Rainbow Foods in Ottawa. 🙂

Did you notice that each time Dr. Amen looked at a package, he turned it over to the INGREDIENTS list, not the NUTRITION label? This is how I teach all of my Challengers to read labels, because the ingredients don’t lie….Nutrition labels  can be very deceiving.

That said, the food industry tries to keep us in the dark when it comes to ingredients a lot of the time, too! Dr. Amen even says “you need a chemist to know” what’s in this stuff!

So I wanted to try to make label-reading easier for you especially as it relates to sugar.

56 Most Common Hidden Names For Sugar

I have shared a list of the 56 most common hidden names for sugar so that when you turn over a package and you DON’T see “sugar” listed, you will still know what’s lurking inside.

I used the list found on a post written by Adda Bjarnadottir, MS, for Authority Nutrition, and then I researched what each one was to give us more knowledge and context.

I hope this serves you as you continue to navigate the world of food, food products, and food marketing.

  1. Sugar/Sucrose: What we think of when we think of sugar. Extracted from the sugar cane.
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup: Highly processed sweetener derived from corn. Found in most processed foods, especially soda.
  3. Agave Nectar: Once thought to be a healthier sweetener than sugar, agave contains about 70–90% fructose, and 10–30% glucose. Given the harmful health effects of excess fructose consumption, agave nectar may be even worse for metabolic health than regular sugar.
  4. Beet sugar: A form of sugar extracted from the common beet. Sugar produced from sugar beet or sugar cane is identical.
  5. Blackstrap molasses: Although it contains minerals like manganese, copper, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium, it is still the dark liquid byproduct of the process of refining sugar cane into table sugar. It is made from the third boiling of the sugar syrup and is therefore the concentrated byproduct left over after the sugar’s sucrose has been crystallized.
  6. Brown sugar: White sugar combined with molasses to give it its colour
  7. Buttered syrup: Think Mrs. Butterworth’s or Aunt Jemima’s
  8. Cane juice crystals: See evaporated cane juice
  9. Cane sugar or “raw, organic cane sugar”: For all intents and purposes, raw, organic cane sugar is completely identical to regular sugar.
  10. Caramel:Sugar that has been melted and browned.
  11. Carob syrup: Natural sweetener from the carob plant; lower in sugar than chocolate
  12. Castor sugar: Ground, granulated sugar.
  13. Coconut sugar: Considered a “healthier” sugar because it maintains minerals and fiber and is lower on the glycemic index, it is still high in calories and is a sugar.
  14. Confectioner’s sugar: Finely powdered sugar with cornstarch added, used for making icings and candy.
  15. Date sugar: Date Sugar is made from dehydrated, ground dates and is used like brown sugar. It is sweeter than sugar.
  16. Demerara sugar: Partially refined light brown cane sugar coming originally from Guyana.
  17. Evaporated cane juice: Since sugar is evaporated cane juice, this is simply a way for Big Sugar to mislead us into thinking this ingredient is somehow better. It isn’t.
  18. Florida crystals: AKA evaporated cane sugar
  19. Fruit juice: Fruit juice contains some nutrients, but less compared to many plant foods. It contains no fiber and is just as high in sugar and calories as most sugar-sweetened beverages.
  20. Fruit juice concentrate: Fruit juice where the water has been removed, usually for packaging.
  21. Golden sugar: AKA Brown sugar.
  22. Golden syrup: Cane syrups, thickened by evaporation.
  23. Grape sugar: Another name for dextrose.
  24. Honey: Derived from bees, this natural sweetener is high in sugar but also contains antioxidants and minerals.
  25. Icing sugar: It is powdered granulated sugar, with a touch of cornstarch (gluten-free) added to prevent caking that would otherwise occur when icing’s very fine particles absorb moisture from the air.
  26. Invert sugar: A mixture of glucose and fructose obtained by the hydrolysis of sucrose.
  27. Maple syrup: The main thing that sets maple syrup apart from refined sugar is the fact that it contains a small amount of minerals, especially manganese and zinc. However, it is also very high in sugar (about 67%).
  28. Molasses: By-product of sugar cane and sugar beet refining processes. Dark coloured syrup.
  29. Muscovado sugar: Dry crystal sugar made by crystallization of dark syrups (similar to Demerara-style)
  30. Panela sugar: Unrefined whole cane sugar, typical of Central and of Latin America in general, which is a solid form of sucrose derived from the boiling and evaporation of sugarcane juice.
  31. Raw sugar: A sticky brown sugar produced at a sugar mill by extracting cane juice from sugar cane, then partially purifying the sugar through boiling, evaporation and re-crystallization.
  32. Refiner’s syrup: AKA Golden Syrup
  33. Sorghum syrup: Sorghum stalks are pressed through an old-fashioned cane press which squeezes the juice from the sorghum stalks. This sorghum juice is then cooked down in an evaporation process similar to making maple syrup.
  34. Sucanat: Dehydrated sugar cane juice. Sucanat (an abbreviation for sugar-cane-natural) has a stronger molasses flavor than refined white sugar and retains all of the nutrients found in natural sugar cane juice, including iron, calcium, vitamin B6 and potassium. Note: The amounts of trace minerals in raw sugar are so small that they are nutritionally insignificant.
  35. Treacle: Treacle is any uncrystallised syrup made during the refining of sugar. British term for molasses.
  36. Turbinado sugar: A semi-refined specialty brown sugar. It is a raw sugar that has been processed (double washed) for human consumption. Its molasses coating gives it a golden colour and mild caramel taste.
  37. Yellow sugar: AKA Brown sugar.
  38. Barley malt: an unrefined sweetener produced from sprouted i.e., malted barley, containing approximately 65 percent maltose, 30 percent complex carbohydrate, 3% protein. Barley malt syrup is sometimes used in combination with other natural sweeteners to lend a malt flavor.
  39. Brown rice syrup: Brown rice syrup is made by breaking down the starch in cooked rice and turning it into easily digestible sugars. Rice syrup contains a lot of energy with almost no essential nutrients. In other words, it is “empty” calories like most refined sugars.
  40. Corn syrup: AKA High Fructose Corn syrup.
  41. Corn syrup solids: To qualify as “corn syrup solids,” the glucose (dextrose) content must be at least 88% of the weight of the concentrated syrup. This product can be called “dried glucose syrup” or “glucose syrup solids” in an ingredient list. Corn syrup solids are used in the same types of foods as dextrose and corn syrups.
  42. Dextrin: a soluble gummy substance obtained by hydrolysis of starch, used as a thickening agent and in adhesives and dietary supplements.
  43. Dextrose:  Dextrose is the name of a simple sugar chemically identical to glucose that is made from corn. Dextrose is used in baking products as a sweetener.
  44. Diastatic malt powder: Diastatic malt powder is powdered malted grain, usually barley, but wheat and rice may also be malted. “Diastatic” refers to the diastatic enzymes that are created as the grain sprouts. These convert starches to sugars.
  45. Ethyl maltol: Ethyl Maltol is a food additive. It is used in bakery products, chocolates, chewing gums, cocoa products, coffee, tea and herbal infusions. It is also used as a flavoring agent in tobacco, food, beverages, wine, and cosmetics. It enhances the flavor of food and increases the sweetness effects of food.
  46. Glucose: Glucose, or sugar, comes from the food we eat. Carbohydrates such as fruit, bread pasta and cereals are common sources of glucose. These foods are broken down into sugar in our stomachs, and then absorbed into the bloodstream.
  47. Glucose solids: Easy-to-digest simple carbohydrates, most often made from corn, rice, wheat, or potato starch. To obtain glucose syrup solids, a starch is cooked and then broken down into smaller glucose molecules.
  48. Lactose: The sugar present in milk.
  49. Malt syrup: Malt syrup is dark brown, thick and sticky, and possesses a strong distinctive flavor described as “malty.” It is about half as sweet as refined white sugar.
  50. Maltodextrin: Maltodextrin consists of D-glucose units connected in chains of variable length. Maltodextrin can be enzymatically derived from any starch. In the US, this starch is usually corn; in Europe, it is commonly wheat.
  51. Maltose: Maltose is the disaccharide (two glucose molecules) produced when amylase breaks down starch.
  52. Rice syrup: Brown rice syrup contains three sugars: Maltotriose (52%), maltose (45%) and glucose (3%). Maltose is basically just two glucose molecules, while maltotriose is three glucose molecules. So by the time rice syrup reaches your small intestine and gets broken down, it is basically just 100% glucose, the same sugar that raises blood sugar levels.
  53. Crystalline fructose: Pure fructose.
  54. Fructose: Pure fructose.
  55. D-ribose: A less sweet and less common sweetener.
  56. Galactose: A less sweet and less common sweetener.

When We Know Better, We Do Better.

I hope today’s post served you. I hope it empowers you to know what you are putting in your body so that you can make informed choices. So often, people will believe that what they are eating is a wholesome food because of the marketing.

Just yesterday, I had someone ask if they should keep making their granola bar recipe that calls for both organic agave and organic brown rice syrup.

Now they know.

We can get excited by the word “organic” and “agave” and “rice” and believe that these are somehow better for us because they are more “natural”. But they are just as natural as sugar cane and often far worse for us, organic or not.

To this person, I offered  the recipe for Angela Liddon’s sugar-free granola bars. Angela runs the blog Oh She Glows and has a cookbook by the same name. It is a staple in my kitchen and I’ve shared the recipe below.

I also suggested swapping out the agave and rice syrup for honey or maple syrup, and cutting way down on the quantity of the sweetener in the recipe.

When we know better, we do better.

Although I am a fan of maple syrup and honey as my go-to natural sweeteners, I don’t lie to myself and pretend I can eat them whenever I want. They are treats, and I use them as such.


I am so grateful for you for coming here and being open and willing to learn, grow, evolve and change your lives...and your families' lives.

We can't UN-KNOW that eating too much sugar is costing us our health.

We can't un-know that too much sugar leads to physical and mental illness, weight gain and disease.

We can't un-know what we know.


Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

P.S. Here are a few testimonials I have received from Challengers:

"What can I say, I had to buy a few new things cause summer clothes were too big. I have not needed to take a Tylenol for pain in 50 days. My joints feel great, my head feels clear...I do know that I am much kinder to myself and really do not want to do harm to my body. I am not done. I am feeling good and excited about what is yet to come." CC

"I am down 10 lbs., (although I didn't do this for weight loss), feeling great and have sooo much more energy! :)" EL

"I don't want this experience to stop. I like this connection, this amazing support system, this refreshing way to communicate." LC

"Honest to god Sarah, we have a lovely grocery store feet from our condo, and I used to DREAD going in there because I knew I was going to the candy/crap aisle and I knew I wasn't going to be able to stop myself from buying and eating a ludicrous amount of candy....Last night we came home from the beach and stopped to grab some milk for the boys - I walked right through "that" aisle and I didn't. even. realize. I am stunned and amazed every day at what my body can do. This has cracked my whole life wide open. Sarah I love you so!!" JE

P.S. To learn more about my 6 Week Sugar Freedom eCourse and to see if there is a fit, click here. For a ONE TIME investment, you will receive six weekly video lessons from me, a weekly online Q&A session, and access to a private Facebook group. I have other bonuses in store as well, so click here for all the details!

P.P.S. Let’s be friends! Connect with me on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram.  Plus, if you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you should! That way, you won’t miss anything. For joining, you get my personal meal plan, shopping list, and a week’s worth of easy, tasty recipes!



1 Comment

  • fitoru

    Reply Reply February 27, 2020

    I enjoyed reading your story. Im looking forward to read more of your posts.

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