sweeteners uncovered

Sweeteners aren’t just in desserts anymore – they’re everywhere – even in categories we might think of as healthy. KIND created the following snacking index so people can be more informed about what they’re eating. It showcases the total sugar content of popular snacks, the multitude of different sweeteners, and sources of hidden sugar.

national snacking index sweeteners go by many names KIND’s commitment

national snacking index

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Products displayed are the top selling product of the top selling brands in each category. Percentages describe how much of the product (by weight) is comprised of sugar.

sweeteners & sources of sugar
go by many names

Given the debate in the nutrition and scientific community on the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners, we choose to avoid these ingredients. We’re also aware that certain individuals can have stomach upset when consuming too many sugar alcohols, which is why we choose not use sugar alcohols in our recipes.
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee states that low-calorie sweeteners should not be recommended as a replacement for added sugars in foods and beverages because their long-term effects are still uncertain. Moreover, there is considerable uncertainty and debate in the nutrition community about the short- and long-term health effects of consuming low- or no-calorie sweeteners, such as artificial sweeteners. For example, leading health organizations such as the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association have determined there is insufficient data on whether the use of artificial sweeteners to displace sugars in foods and beverages benefits appetite, energy balance, body weight, or cardiometabolic risk factors. Certain studies point to potentially adverse health outcomes from consuming these sweeteners. *citations below


Acesulfame potassium

Acesulfame Potassium, also known as Ace K, is a high-intensity, non-nutritive (low or no calorie) sweetener that is around 200 times sweeter than table sugar. It retains its sweetness even at high temperatures and is typically used to sweeten baked goods, frozen desserts, candies and beverages.

Advantame

Advantame is the newest high-intensity, non-nutritive (low or no calorie) sweetener approved by the FDA. It is 20,000 time sweeter than table sugar.

Agave Juice

The term agave juice is used synonymously with agave nectar and derived from the agave plant

Agave Nectar

Natural sweetener derived from the agave plant and commnly used in foods and beverages for it's sweet-honey like flavor

Agave Sap

Just as it sounds - the sap pressed from the agave plant; it contributes a honey-like flavor as an ingredient

Agave Syrup

Pale to dark amber liquid sweetener made by treating or heating the nectar of agave plants; it's 1-1/2 times sweetener than sugar and contains more calories

Anhydrous Dextrose

A crystallized and purified form of glucose that is typically derived from the starch of corn

Aspartame

Aspartame is a high-intensity sweetener that is around 200 times sweeter than table sugar. Since it loses some of its sweetness when heated, it's most commonly added at the table or used in foods like don't need to be cooked, like sodas, chewing gum and cold cereals.

Aspartame-acesulfame salt

Aspartame-acesulfame salt is a high-intensity, non-nutritive (low to no calorie) sweetener that is around 350 times sweeter than table sugar. It can be added at the table or used to sweeten a variety of foods, from chewing gum and candies to instant desserts and chocolate.

Barbados sugar

Raw sugar that is cultivated in Barbados from sugar cane also known as molasses or muscovado sugar.

Barley Malt Syrup

Liquid sweetener processed by extraction from sprouted barley (a type of cereal grain) and provides a strong, distinctive flavor when used in foods

Beet Sugar

Raw sugar derived from the sugar beet plant that contributes sweet notes to foods and beverages

Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup is an amber sweetener derived from brown rice starch and used in various foods to achieve a chewy texture

Brown Sugar

White sugar combined with molasses giving it a brown color, giving it a soft texture that provides a slightly different sweet flavor than regular sugar

Cane Sugar

Sugar derived directly or indirectly from sugar cane and can be purchased and commly mixed into beverages or sprinkled on top of foods

Caramel

Soft, dense chewy candy made by heating a mixture of milk or cream, sugar, butter and vanilla

Carob Sugar

A sweetener extracted from pods of the carob tree; with a similiar flavor appearance of chocolate

Caster sugar

Caster sugar, also known as superfine or bar sugar, is a finer version of granulated sugar. These crystals dissolve easily even in cold water, making them useful for delicate or smooth desserts, like mousse or pudding, and cold drinks.

Clintose

A white crystallized sweetener that has a few different forms and many properities in foods from sweetness to browning to acting as a binder in food products

Coconut Nectar

Coconut nectar comes from the sap of the coconut tree. It is used as a low-glycemic sweetener with a rich caramel-like flavor, and can be used to replace honey, maple syrup or cane sugar.

Coconut Sugar

Made from boiling down the nectar of coconut plant flowers and has a nutty flavor, however, not one that tastes like coconut

Confectioner's Powdered Sugar

Also known as powdered sugar which is made by finely grinding regular sugar cystrals - it helps with anti-caking to prevent clumping in icings and desserts

Confectioner's Sugar

A very fine powdered sugar with a smooth texture that's ideal for making candy or frostings

Corn Glucose Syrup

Glucose is a simple sugar that is extracted, purified and concentrated from different carbohydrate food sources - this is glucose syrup derived from corn and also known as corn syrup

Corn Sweetener

Can describe any sweetener that is derived from corn, for example corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup

Corn Syrup

A purified, acqueous sweetener derived from the starch of corn and used in foods to soften texture and enhance flavor

Corn Syrup Solids

The dried, powdered form of glucose syrup

Cyclamate

Cyclamate was one of the most commonly used high-intensity, non-nutritive (low or no calorie) sweeteners until it was banned in the United States in 1970. It has about 30 times the sweetening power of table sugar.

Date Sugar

Simply dried dates ground into a fine powder and can be used to replace brown sugar in recipes

Demerara sugar

A coarse cane sugar with a light brown color that contributes a nice toffey-like flavor

Dextrose

A simple sugar that is chemically identical to glucose

Dri-mol

A branded dry molasses powder used as a sweeteer in foods to enhance flavor and add subtle color in certain products

Edible Lactose

Lactose is the sugar found in dairy, it can be dried and ground into particles used in food products to help promote caramelization

Erythritol

Erythritol is a type of sugar alcohol used as a sugar replacement in sugar-free and reduced-sugar products. Unlike table sugar it does not cause cavities, and in addition to adding sweetness it adds bulk and texture, helps retain moisture and prevents browning.

Ethyl maltol

Ethyl maltol is a white powder sweetener reminiscent of caramelized sugar or cooked fruit. It is commonly used to sweeten confections and tobacco products.

Evaporated Cane Juice

A liquid sweetener extracted from sugar cane

Evaporated Cane Syrup

A liquid sweetener extracted from sugar cane

Fruit juice concentrate

Made by removing the water from fruit making it more concentrated; it's used to enhance flavor in many fruit flavored products

Galactose

Galactose occurs naturally in foods like milk, yogurt and other dairy products, and together with glucose makes up the more commonly-known sugar, lactose. While it isn’t as sweet as table sugar, it can be made into a syrup to sweeten biscuits, confectionary and some dairy desserts.

Glaze icing sugar

Glaze icing sugar is a mixture of powdered sugar and some type of liquid, such as milk, water or fruit juice. It’s used as a sweet glaze that can be drizzled over baked goods.

Glycyrrhizin

Glycyrrhizin is found in licorice root, and is 50-100 times sweeter than table sugar. It has a sweet, woody flavor that can enhance other flavors, mask bitterness and increase the perceived sweetness of table sugar.

Golden syrup

Golden syrup is made from partially-inverted sugar (inverted sugar is sucrose that’s broken down into two simpler sugars, fructose and glucose) and gives baked goods, savory products and marinades a rich caramel-y flavor.

Gomme

Gomme (also called gum syrup) is a simple syrup made with sugar, water, and an emulsifier called gum arabic - a natural resin from the Acacia tree. It addition to adding sweetness, it's used to create uniform, well-blended beverages with a smooth mouthfeel.

Granular sweetener

Granular sweeteners are any sweeteners in the form of small granules or particles as opposed to liquids or syrups. For example, white sugar, palm sugar and stevia all come in granular forms.

Granulated sugar

Granulated sugar is pure sugar that has been crystallized, centrifuged and sent through a granulator to dry and separate the crystals. It's the most common sugar called for in recipes and is the type of sugar you'll typically find in your sugar bowl.

High-fructose corn syrup

High-fructose corn syrup is made from corn starch that’s broken down into individual glucose molecules and treated with an enzyme that converts some of that glucose to fructose. It's chemically similiar to table sugar and used to sweeten processed foods, cereals, baked goods and some beverages (like soft drinks).

High-maltose corn syrup

High-maltose corn syrup is also made from corn starch, but unlike high-fructose corn syrup its major sugar is maltose. While it’s not as sweet as some other types of sugar, it’s sweet enough for products like cereals and certain beverages and is particularly well-suited for making hard candy.

Honey

Honey is the sweet, golden liquid bees make with the nectar of flowering plants. It's sweeter and has more calories than table sugar, but also contains some enzymes and minerals.

Hydrogenated starch

Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates are mixtures of sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and maltitol. They are used as sweeteners and thickeners and to help prevent crystallization.

Inverted sugar

Inverted sugar is what you get when you break table sugar, or sucrose, into two separate sugar molecules called glucose and fructose. It’s sweeter than table sugar and is used in a variety of products to retain moisture and a smooth texture.

Isoglucose

Isoglucose syrup is synonymous with high-fructose corn syrup, and is widely used in processed foods and soft drinks.

Isomalt

Isomalt is a sugar alcohol derived from the sugar beet. It is almost as sweet as table sugar but with half the calories, and is used in a variety of foods, particularly sugar-free products and hard candies.

Isomaltulose

Isomaltulose is a sweetener composed of glucose and fructose. It can be used as a substitute for table sugar for its lower glycemic index, which means it has less of an effect on blood sugar.

Lactitol

Lactitol is a sugar alcohol derived from the milk sugar lactose. It has about half the calories of table sugar and, since it doesn't have an effect on blood sugar, it's used in sugar-free products like candies, baked goods and jams.

Lactose

Lactose is a naturally-occurring sugar found in dairy products. It’s often used to improve the texture, mouthfeel or consistency of products without making them too sweet, and can be used to enhance the browning of baked goods.

Lucuma

Lucuma is a Peruvian fruit that when dried and ground into powder can serve as a natural sweetener with a minimal effect on blood sugar.

Luo Han Guo fruit extracts (Monk Fruit)

Luo Han Guo fruit extract comes from the juice of the monk fruit, a small fruit grown in Southeast Asia. The extract is 150 to 200 times sweeter than table sugar and is used to reduce calories in foods and beverages without sacrificing sweetness.

Malt

The term ‘malt’ refers to a grain (typically barley) that has been sprouted in a controlled environment. Malt is used as the basis for fermentation (for example, to make beer) and to add flavor and nutrients to foods.

Malt syrup

Malt syrup, also known as malt extract, is the result of mashing up malt (sprouted grains), removing the solids and concentrating the remaining liquids to make a syrup that contains sugars, vitamins and minerals. It's used to add flavor and enzymes to foods like flour, malt vinegar, breakfast cereals, baby foods, confections and baked goods.

Maltitol

Maltitol is a sugar alcohol that's about 90% as sweet as table sugar. It's used as a sugar replacement to give products less calories and less of an effect on blood sugar.

Maltitol syrup

Maltitol syrup is a sugar alcohol made from high-maltose glucose syrup. It's used as a sweetener, texturizer, stablizer, bulking agent and to help retain moisture.

Maltodextrin

Maltodextrin comes from corn, potato, wheat or rice starch that has been broken down using acids and enzymes to create a slightly sweet powder. In addition to adding mild sweetness, it’s often used as a thickener or as a stabilizer to extend the shelf life of certain foods.

Maltose

Maltose, also called ‘malt sugar,’ is a fermentable sugar formed by the breakdown of starch. It’s useful in baked goods that require raising and browning, and can be used as a sweetener when tolerance for lactose is limited.

Mannitol

Mannitol is a sugar alcohol that is 50-70% as sweet as table sugar. It's used as a sweetener, texturizer, stablizer, bulking agent and to help retain moisture in foods like ice cream, confections, chewing gum and chocolate-flavored coatings.

Maple sugar

Maple sugar is a granulated product made from crystallized maple syrup. It can be used the same way as table sugar and adds a touch of maple flavor.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup is made from the concentrated sap of a maple tree. It adds a rich flavor and sweetness to foods, and is commonly used in table syrups, confections and ice cream toppings.

Molasses

Molasses is the thick, dark brown syrup that's left over once sugar is crystallized out of cane or beet juice. It adds sweetness and flavor to foods like baked goods, candy and rum.

Muscovado

Muscovado, also known as Barbados sugar, is a type of cane sugar in which the molasses is not removed, giving it a moist texture and a strong flavor.

Nectars (i.e. peach nectar)

Nectars are essentially pureed fruits, which can be consumed on their own or added to other products for extra sweetness and flavor. Nectars are thicker and have more pulp than traditional fruit juice, and are often made less acidic with the addition of water and sugar.

Neotame

Neotame is an artificial, zero-calorie sweetener that is 7,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than table sugar. It’s approved for use in a variety of foods (except meat and poultry) and retains its sweetness even at high temperatures, making it a suitable sugar substitute in baked goods.

Oat Syrup

Oat syrup is derived from the natural sugars in oats and lends a caramel flavor with honey notes. It can be used as an alternative to other syrup sweeteners in foods like bars and cereals.

Oligofructose

Oligofructose is derived mostly from chicory root or cane sugar and used as a low-calorie replacement for table sugar. It also acts as a prebiotic and can be used in combination with artificial sweeteners to reduce their bitter aftertaste and to help retain moisture.

Palm sugar

Palm sugar is a moist brown sugar that comes from palm sap. It can be used as a replacement for table sugar for a lower effect on blood sugar and a caramel flavor.

Phenylalanine

Phenylalanine is one of two amino acids that make up the artificial sweetener aspartame, which is added to many diet foods and diet sodas.

Piloncillo

Also known as panela or panocha, piloncillo is made by boiling and evaporting sugar cane juice. It is typically poured into cone-shaped molds and sold in Hispanic markets.

Polyglycitol

Polyglycitol is a sugar alcohol that typically comes as a syrup. Apart from being used as a sweetener, it acts as a texturizer, stabilizer and bulking agent and helps retain moisture.

Powdered sugar

Powdered sugar, also known as confectioner's sugar, is table sugar that has been ground into a powder and mixed with a bit of cornstarch. The addition of cornstarch, an anti-caking agent, makes it a common choice for icings, confections and whipping cream.

Rice syrup

Rice syrup is a sweetener made from brown rice. It's lightly sweet and smooth, and used as an alternative to table sugar, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup or molasses.

Saccharin

Saccharin is a zero-calorie sweetener with 200-700 times the sweetening power of table sugar. It is used as a sugar substitute in beverages and processed foods, as well as for table use.

Sorbitol

Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol with about half the sweetness of table sugar. It is used as a lower-calorie sweetener and also as a candy softener, sugar crystallization inhibiter, emulsifier, thickener and anti-caking agent.

Sorghum syrup

Sorghum syrup comes from a type of grass called sorghum, and is made in much the same way as molasses is made from cane or beet sugar. It adds a heartier taste to food products that traditionally call for liquid sweetener, like honey or maple syrup.

Starch sweetener

Starch sweeteners are any sweeteners made from the breakdown of starch to produce a sweet substance, for example high-fructose corn syrup.

Stevia/Rebaudioside

Stevia extract comes from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, and is used as a very-low-calorie alternative to table sugar.

Sucanat

Sucanat is the least refined type of cane sugar. It's a granulated sugar that can be used as a subsitute for brown or white sugar, especially in baked goods, barbeque sauces and marinades.

Sucralose

Sucralose is a zero-calorie artificial sweetener that is 600 times sweeter than table sugar. It’s used as a general purpose sugar substitute, and can be found in a variety of foods including baked goods, beverages, chewing gum, gelatin and frozen dairy desserts.

Sucrose

Sucrose (the scientific name for table sugar or white sugar) occurs naturally in foods like sugar cane, sugar beets, maple sap, dates and honey. For commercial use, it's most commonly derived from sugar cane and sugar beets, and its quick-dissolving nature makes it an easy way to sweeten a wide variety of foods.

Sucrovert

Sucrovert is a type of liquid invert sugar, or sucrose that has been split into fructose and glucose, and is used as a stabilizer in candies and other sweets.

Sugar beet

Sugar beets are root crops that are around 18% sucrose. They’re used to make beet sugar, an alternative to cane sugar.

Sugar invert

Sugar invert (another way you might see ‘inverted sugar’ listed on a food label) is what you get when you break table sugar, or sucrose, into two separate sugar molecules called glucose and fructose. It’s sweeter than table sugar and is used in a variety of products to retain moisture and a smooth texture.

Table sugar

Table sugar (or sucrose) is another name for white, refined or granulated sugar. Table sugar is extracted from sugar cane and sugar beets, then purified to remove plant fibers and molasses. Its quick-dissolving nature makes it an easy way to sweeten a wide variety of foods.

Tagatose

Tagatose is a natural carbohydrate found in some fruits (like apples, oranges and pineapples) and sterilized milk. In addition to being used as a low-calorie sweeter in a wide range of foods, it is also used to improve texture and stability.

Tapioca Syrup

Tapioca syrup comes from the root vegetable cassava. It can be used in place of corn syrup to add sweetness, improve texture and help prevent crystallization in foods such as cereals, ice cream and candy.

Treacle

Treacle is a type of molasses blended with invert sugar and corn syrup. It has a distinctive bittersweet flavor that adds richness to both sweet and savory dishes.

Trehalose

Trehalose has nearly half the sweetness of sucrose and is found naturally in some plant and animal cells. It is used as a sweetener in beverages as well as dried, baked and processed foods to improve the taste, texture, shelf life and overall appeal.

Turbinado sugar

Turbinado sugar, also known as Demerara or raw cane sugar, retains more of the molasses from sugar cane than regular table sugar does. The resulting crystals are coarse and deeply flavored, and often used as table-top sweeteners.

Vegetable Glycerin

Vegetetable glycerin, sometimes called glycerol, is a sweet liquid that can be made from animal or vegetable fats or from propylene or sugar. In addition to being sweet, it's used as a softener and stablizer.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in certain fruits and vegetables and can also be produced commercially from birch bark and corn cobs. It has less calories but is similar in sweetness to table sugar, and is the preferred sweetener for sugar-free chewing gum, breath mints, mouthwash and tooth paste.

Yacón syrup

Yacón syrup is a sweetener extracted from the yacon plant. It can be used as a lower-calorie substitute for table sugar and has a lower impact on blood sugar.

Yellow sugar

Yellow sugar is a light brown sugar with hints of molasses flavor. It adds taste, color and body to foods like glazes, butterscotch and baked goods.

KIND's commitment

We believe that people don’t need to choose between health and taste when it comes to snacking. This means we’ll use as little sugar as possible without sacrificing the flavor and quality of our products. We don’t use high fructose corn syrup and you’ll never find artificial sweeteners or added sugar alcohols in our snacks, since they go against our philosophy of using premium, better-for-you ingredients that are KIND® to your body. The first and predominant ingredient in all of our snacks will always be a nutrient-dense food like nuts, whole grains or fruit.