Names for Sugar

Compiled by Heidi Boudro

Sugar Bowl

Here is a list of the names for sugar that you might find in an ingredients list on a food label.

Included are almost 150 different terms!

Where to look on the label

Food labels include two parts: the Ingredients list and the Nutrition Facts

Ingredients List

The ingredients list is the only way to find out whether refined, concentrated, or added sugar is inside the package.

If a sugar (under any of the the names listed here) is on an ingredients list, that sugar is an added sugar. It will also be a free sugar. Only free sugars are avoided in a sugar-free diet.

The World Health Organization defines a free sugar this way:

"All monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices."

The free sugars that are most of concern are refined sugars--those are the monosaccharides and disaccharides created by refining.

The opposite of a free sugar is one occurring naturally in a non-concentrated food.

Nutrition Facts

The Nutrition Facts part of the food label lumps together added sugars, concentrated sugars, and non-concentrated sugars.

This is useful if you are trying to avoid carbohydrates, but it doesn't give you any information if you are trying to avoid refined, concentrated, or added sugar.

In 2014, the FDA has proposed rules that would require a separate line for "Added Sugars" in the Nutrition Facts. That would solve the problem of trying to locate added sugars in the ingredients list, and we certainly hope that the FDA will institute this labeling rule.

Many biochemical terms (such as "glucose" and "fructose") that are used in the nutritional analysis of food are also used as names for refined sugar products.

Whenever you see any biochemical term (such as "glucose" or "fructose") on an ingredients list, it is a factory-manufactured, chemically pure substance added as a free sugar.

For more information about glucose, fructose, and other chemical terms see What is Sugar?

Monosaccharides and Disaccharides

Monosaccharides and disaccharides are biochemical names for two types of carbohydrates. They are a natural component of many whole foods.

However, any of the following terms seen on an ingredients list indicate a manufactured, chemically pure substance.

Glucose and fructose are usually derived from corn.

Galactose and lactose are derived from milk.

Maltose is usually derived from barley or rice.

Sucrose is derived from sugar cane or sugar beets.


Anhydrous dextrose
Crystal dextrose
Glucose solids
Glucose syrup
Grape sugar

Crystalline fructose
Fructose sweetener
Fruit sugar
Liquid fructose





Milk sugar

Malt sugar

Table sugar

Refined Sugar from Sugar Cane and Sugar Beets

Pure sucrose or pure sucrose with additives

Beet sugar
Cane sugar
Confectioner's sugar
Decorating sugar
Granulated sugar
Icing sugar
Nibbed sugar
Pearl sugar
Powdered sugar
Sanding sugar
Sugar beet syrup
Sugar nibs
Superfine sugar
Table sugar
White granulated sugar
White sugar

Products Made From Refined Sugar
Invert sugar
Inverted sugar syrup

Partially Refined Sugar, or a Mix of Refined White Sugar and Partially Refined Sugar, From Sugar Cane


Brown sugar is normally white sugar with a small amount of added molasses 

Molasses is a residue from sugar cane processing

Rapadura is a non-centrifugal cane sugar--partially refined to about 80% sucrose

Barbados sugar
Blackstrap molasses
Blanco directo
Brown sugar
Cane crystals
Cane juice
Cane juice crystals
Cane juice solids
Cane syrup
Crystal sugar
Dark brown sugar
Dehydrated cane juice
Demerara sugar
Evaporated cane juice
Evaporated cane juice solids
Florida crystals
Golden sugar
Golden syrup
Light brown sugar
Mill white
Molasses sugar
Molasses syrup
Moscovado sugar
Muscovado sugar
Natural brown sugar
Plantation white
Raw cane sugar
Raw sugar
Refiner's syrup
Regular brown sugar
Rock candy
Sugarcane juice
Superior sugar
Turbinado sugar
Whole cane sugar
Yellow sugar

Refined and Concentrated Sugars From Other Plants

Examples of the range from concentrated to highly refined:

Fruit juice is a concentrated sugar that could be made simply by pressing the fruit at home

Fruit juice concentrate is fruit juice that is further refined

High fructose corn syrup is a mixture of industrially manufactured glucose and fructose

Derived from Barley
Barley malt crystals
Barley malt syrup
Malt sugar
Malt syrup
Malted barley

Derived from Coconut flowers
Coco sugar
Coconut sugar
Coconut palm sugar

Derived from Corn
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup
Corn syrup solids
Fructose-Glucose Syrup
Glucose-Fructose Syrup
High fructose corn syrup
High fructose maize syrup
High maltose corn syrup
Karo syrup
Pancake syrup (typically)
Table syrup (typically)
Waffle syrup (typically)

Derived from Fruit
Concentrated fruit juice
Date sugar (same as sucrose)
Dehydrated fruit juice
Fruit juice
Fruit juice concentrate
Fruit juice crystals
Fruit syrup
Grenadine (fruit and sugar)
Luo Han Guo
Monk fruit
Peach nectar
Pear nectar
Raisin juice
Raisin syrup

Derived from Rice
Brown rice syrup
Rice bran syrup
Rice malt
Rice sugar
Rice sweetener
Rice syrup
Rice syrup solids

Derived from Saps of various plants
Agave nectar
Agave syrup
Birch syrup
Maple sugar
Maple syrup
Palm sugar
Pancake syrup (more typically derived from corn)

Derived from Sorghum
Sorghum syrup

Derived from Cassava root (Tapioca)
Tapioca syrup


Raw honey is concentrated sugar as "manufactured" by bees.

Commercial honey is industrially refined.