62 sneaky ingredients mislead sugar alternative names labelling

62 sneaky ingredients out to mislead you

It’s common knowledge that sugar is to be avoided, but if only it were that simple. Did you now there are at least 62 words food manufacturers can use, instead of simply saying sugar?

Many of the words on the list, such as Golden syrup and HFCS may be obvious no-no’s, but what about less common words, such as Ethyl maltol and Panocha. Would you immediately know that these ingredients were essentially sugar?

Agave nectar
Barbados sugar
Barley malt/ Barley malt syrup
Beet sugar
Brown sugar
Buttered syrup
Cane juice/ Cane juice crystals
Cane sugar
Carob syrup
Castor sugar
Coconut palm sugar/ Coconut sugar
Confectioner’s sugar
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup/ Corn syrup solids

62 sneaky ingredients mislead sugar alternative names labelling
Date sugar
Dehydrated cane juice
Demerara sugar
Diastatic malt
Ethyl maltol
Evaporated cane juice
Free Flowing Brown Sugars
Fruit juice/ Fruit juice concentrate
Glucose/ Glucose solids
Golden sugar
Golden syrup
Grape sugar
HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)
Icing sugar
Invert sugar
Malt/ Malt syrup
Maple syrup
Palm sugar
Powdered sugar
Raw sugar
Refiner’s syrup
Rice syrup
Sorghum Syrup
Sugar (granulated)
Sweet Sorghum
Turbinado sugar
Yellow sugar

Whilst clearly it’s best to go for natural foods that don’t need labels, I can’t ever imagine a day where packaged foods aren’t commonplace. So surely those who buy them should be armed with full, honest information about the contents of these products, so they can make an informed decision?

It’s a shame manufacturers are allowed to be so misleading. Wouldn’t it be simpler if they perhaps had to use the word sugar, and follow that with the specific type of sugar? I can imagine many time-poor households trying to make good food choices – despite their best intentions, they can easily end up buying sugar laden foods.

Sugar can be a really confusing topic, especially when even healthy blogs use natural sugars in recipes (I put my hands up to this too, though in my recipes the natural sugar tends to be an optional addition). But are natural sugars actually any better for you – I’ve written the definitive guide to paleo sweeteners to help clear this up.

What’s your take on these sneaky misleading alternative words for sugar?

Recipe Sticky Chilli Apricot Salmon Sautéed Sesame Collards paleo network-min

Recipe: Sticky Chilli and Apricot Salmon with Sautéed Sesame Collards

Looking for a recipe that's a little different? This recipe for Sticky Chilli and Apricot Salmon with Sautéed Sesame Collards is certainly that! The apricots and chilli create a great hot but sweet combination – this will be a huge hit with whoever you decide to cook it for!

Recipe: Sticky Chilli and Apricot Salmon with Sautéed Sesame Collards
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 8 ripe apricots
  • 100ml orange juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 2cm fresh root ginger, minced
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 6 – 8 large collard leaves, shredded
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  1. Dice the apricots and place them in a saucepan, taking care to retain all the juices. Combine them in the pan with the orange juice, honey, vinegar, coconut aminos, garlic, chilli and ginger. Bring gently to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes or so until it reduces by about half.
  2. Heat your oven to 180C. Place the salmon fillets on parchment paper, and spoon over half of the apricot glaze. Tightly wrap the parchment paper, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, gently heat the sesame oil in a wok. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or so, until soft. Add the collards and stir fry until tender, before tossing in the sesame seeds.
  4. Remove the salmon from the parchment paper, and serve on top of the sesame collards. Drizzle with the remaining glaze and a handful or so of fresh coriander.

Recipe Sticky Chilli Apricot Salmon Sautéed Sesame Collards paleo network-min

Chocolate Orange and Fig Pudding paleo recipe dessets sweet treat-min

Recipe: Chocolate Orange and Fig Pudding

Caught somewhere in the dreamy middle ground of a chocolate mousse and a chocolate pudding, this recipe is about as indulgent as it gets on a Paleo diet – but you can sleep soundly knowing that it’s full of healthy fats and nutrients, and low on the sugar. The secret ingredient in this recipe is the Avocado, which provides a delectably smooth texture and creamy flavour.

Serves 2

Chocolate Orange and Fig Pudding Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe, large avocado, stone removed, peeled
  • ½ an orange, juice and zest
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 medium sized fig, diced

 Chocolate Orange and Fig Pudding How To:

1)    In a food processor or high powered blender, blitz your avocado to a pulp. Squeeze in the orange juice before blending again to combine.

2)    Add the raw honey and cocoa powder and blitz once more. Spoon out of the food processor and into two small desert bowls. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

3)    When ready to serve, stir in the diced figs and sprinkle the orange zest over the top. Garnish with a mint leaf it you have one.

It’s brilliant for making healthy desserts, but there are so many other ways to enjoy avocado. What’s your favourite?

Chocolate Orange and Fig Pudding paleo recipe dessets sweet treat-min

Recipe: Sweet Potato and Chocolate Chip Muffins

I find myself wanting to eat baked goods like muffins, cookies and cakes very rarely now I’m Paleo. There’s always an abundance of ‘real food’ like meats, veggies, eggs, fruit and nuts sitting in my fridge, and nine times out of ten I will always go for something from this list rather than starting a batch of Paleo brownies or cupcakes. There are times, however, when the aspiring chef within you wants to make a sweet treat for the whole family; but its often a battle finding a recipe that is full of goodness.

These sweet potato muffins are one of the exceptions to the rule. They pack in a ton of goodness from the nutrient dense eggs, coconut flour, flaxseed and the sweet potatoes themselves. The sweet potato and cinnamon combination is divine, and the chocolate chips add an extra bit of indulgence. Give them a try – you won’t be disappointed!

 Makes 8

Sweet Potato and Chocolate Chip Muffins Ingredients:

  •  1.5 cups roasted sweet potato, mashed and left to cool
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3rd cup raw, organic honey
  • 2 heaped tbsp. ground flaxseed
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 100g dark chocolate chips (at least 70%) or a 100g bar of dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp gluten free baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

 Sweet Potato and Chocolate Chip Muffins How To:

1)            Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F. Line an 8 hole muffin tray with paper or silicon cases.

2)            In a bowl, combine the sweet potato mash with the coconut oil, eggs, almond milk and honey. Whisk together until smooth.

3)            In a separate bowl, combine the flaxseed, coconut flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, before folding into the wet ingredients to make a batter. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4)            Pour the muffin batter into the cases, filling to about 2/3rds of the way up. Bake on the top shelf of your oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Sweet Potato and Chocolate Chip Muffins recipe paleo sweet treat dessets cake-min

Paleo Diet Recipe Primal Raw Chocolate Caramel Torte dessert sweet treat pudding cake 680 min

Recipe: Raw Chocolate Caramel Torte

Delightfully decadent chocolate cream, layered on top of rich caramel and a crisp, buttery biscuit base in a beautiful torte. Sound like the kind of thing you can only eat in your wildest, non-paleo dreams? Think again! The power of almonds, avocado, cacao and coconut make this treat as good for your body as it is for your soul.

I used maple syrup as my sweetener in this recipe, but I’m sure raw honey will work just as well!

Raw Chocolate Caramel Torte Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup unsweetened, finely shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp raw honey / maple syrup

For the caramel:

  • 50g almond butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp raw honey / maple syrup
  • A dash of almond milk
  • A little vanilla extract and sea salt (optional)

For the chocolate:

  • 1 avocado, skinned and pitted
  • ¼ cup raw cacao powder
  • ¼ cup raw honey / maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 handful cacao nibs (optional)

Raw Chocolate Caramel Torte How To:

Line a 6 inch round cake tin with some baking parchment.

To make the base, combine the ground almonds with the coconut in the food processor. Add the coconut oil, dates and maple syrup, and whizz together until combined. Press the mixture into the cake tin, and put straight into the freezer for 10 minutes to set.

Meanwhile, make the caramel by combining almond butter, coconut oil, dates, honey, vanilla and sea salt. Whizz together in the food processor until a smooth, thick paste is formed. Gradually add a little dash of almond milk to thin down to your desired caramel consistency (I used about 2tbsp). Spread evenly over the biscuit base, then return to the freezer for another 10 minutes.

Make the chocolate topping by combining all ingredients in the food processor. Smooth evenly over the caramel, top with cacao nibs if using, then leave to set in the fridge for an hour (if you can wait that long!)

Paleo Diet Recipe Primal Raw Chocolate Caramel Torte dessert sweet treat pudding cake 680 min

Recipe fridge raider chicken drumsticks paleo network-min

Recipe: Fridge Raider Chicken Drumsticks

For all you fridge raiders out there who struggle to make it between lunch and dinner without a much needed protein fix. Although delicious warm, these chicken drumsticks are even better cold and make the perfect Paleo snack. No frills, they are super easy to make as well!

Recipe: Fridge Raider Chicken Drumsticks
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These are a great way to cook up some chicken legs. If you can resist them, they're great to keep in the fridge for a snack too!
  • 8 Chicken Drumsticks
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 220 C / 425F / Gas mark 8. Yes it's hot, but you like your drumsticks crispy right!?
  2. Slash the drumsticks with a sharp knife – this will allow the flavours to seep well into the meat. In a bowl, mix the lime juice, honey and spices. Rub onto the chicken with your hands to ensure an even coating and spike your hunter gatherer instinct.
  3. Cook for 45 minutes, turning the chicken 2-3 times to cook evenly.

Recipe fridge raider chicken drumsticks paleo network-min


The Definitive Guide to Paleo Sweeteners sugar stevia healthy agave-min

The Definitive Guide to Paleo Sweeteners

Whenever I write about sugar, I get a lot of spam comments trying to advertise brands of “natural, healthy” sweeteners that, apparently, are simply bursting with healthiness. I’m also constantly aware of people choosing artificial sweeteners to avoid sugar; as well as people choosing “natural” sweeteners over artificial, or just regular sugar.

So what is the difference between all of these types and brands of sweeteners? Are there really new natural sweeteners out there, or is it just clever marketing of an existing product, with a new brand name?

The Definitive Guide to Paleo Sweeteners sugar stevia healthy agave-min


Natural Sweeteners

A natural sweetener, by definition is one that is unprocessed, and naturally occurring in nature – in the same state (or requiring minimal processing that you could do yourself). A lot of sweeteners sold as natural, actually require a lot of refining and processing to get to the state they reach us in – far from natural.


One of the most talked about sweeteners, Stevia is actually a herb. It has a natural sweet taste, but no actual sugar molecules. The green leaf Stevia plant is therefore a great alternative to sugar. Unfortunately, far more readily available than the green leaf versions, is the white powdered form of Stevia (i.e. branded as Natvia, Truvia or Sun Crystals). This is very processed, and definitely one to be avoided.


Raw Honey is a great natural sweetener. Using a local honey is even supposed to reduce hayfever. Whilst honey is natural (and in fact the only sweetener I use), it still produces an insulin effect and is definitely best suited for occasional use – as are all forms of sweeteners.

Maple Syrup, traditionally made Agave Nectar (Miel de Agave), Sorghum Syrup, Coconut Sugar, Palm Sugar, Molasses, Date Sugar, Cane Sugar, Fruit Juice, Muscovado and Sucanat are also natural sugars – but, again, no sweetener is the healthier choice, even if they are natural! Incidentally you might have seen Brown Rice Syrup in you health food shop – and whilst it too is “natural”, it contains malt and is therefore a source of gluten!

Not So Natural?

Agave Nectar is another one that seems to be thought of as another supremely healthy product. Agave is natural, in that it comes from the juice of the agave plant. It has a low glycemic profile, which means less of an insulin spike. However, this is because Agave nectar contains only 10% glucose – which means the other 90% is fructose, which comes with all sorts of health issues and is definitely to be avoided. Not only should Agave be avoided for its high fructose concentration, but it also contains saponins; toxins that have less than desirable effects on the body. Agave Nectar is produced in a not too dissimilar way to High Fructose Corn Syrup – yet at least HFCS is seldom marketed as a healthy sweetener.

Turbinado Sugar and Sugar Alcohols (i.e. xylitol and erythritol) are also not natural; but often sold with impressive health claims.

Artificial Sweeteners

The chemical sweeteners really are a no brainer. Recognised as toxins in the body – and in many cases not established enough for us to really understand their impact, I can’t see any reason why anyone would want to consume these. There is also a lot of research into the insulin response, with many suggesting that the sweet taste, even in the absence of sugar, is enough to trigger an insulin response.

Artificial sweeteners include Aspartame (sold as NutraSweet or Equal), Saccharin (Sweet n Low), Sucralose (Splenda), Acesulfame-K (Sunette or Sweet One), Sorbitol, Mannitol and Tagatose.

Sweeteners – Are They Paleo?

Whilst the natural sweeteners are without doubt less harmful than their chemical or processed alternatives, they still aren’t “Paleo”. As an occasional treat Raw Honey is the only sweetener I would suggest.

Ultimately, it’s best to give up the need for constant sweetness. Since doing so, I’ve found my taste buds have changed and I no longer crave sweet things like I used to. Try giving up sugar; after a few weeks you’ll be glad you did!

Have you given up sugar? If not, what types of sweeteners do you use?