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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Sweets By Other Names: Sugar is Hidden in Many Pet Foods

Jul 01, 2016 07:29PM ● By Mary Oquendo

With increasing rates of diabetes and obesity among pets in this country, it is important to be more aware of the amount of added sugar in their diet. This would be much easier to spot if manufacturer’s simply put the words “sugar” or “artificial sugar” on the label but – as with food labeled for human consumption – the pet food industry gets a bit tricky with the language it uses.

Adding sweetener can be a cheap way for the manufacturers to make food palatable. Because the manufacturers are often not using quality ingredients, pets are less likely to eat the food without added sugar. Since the sweeter food tastes good, the pet eats more.

Real sugar can be dangerous in excessive amounts, but artificial sugars can be even more dangerous. This leads us to why manufacturers hide sugar behind unfamiliar names. A large part of the reason may lie in not wanting consumers to see how much sugar really is in the product.

Here is a list of 50 commonly known “other” names of sugar commonly found in food for humans:

• Malts: malt, barley, malt syrup, maple or diastatic

• Sugars: Barbados, beet, brown, cane, confectioner’s, castor, date, demerara, free flowing brown, grape, golden, icing, invert, powdered or raw

• Syrups: buttered, high fructose corn (also known as HFCS), corn, corn syrup solids, carob or golden

• Juices: fruit, cane, dehydrated cane or fruit juice concentrate

• Other names: Caramel, Dextran, Dextrose, Diatase, Ethyl maltol, Fructose, Galactose, Glucose, Glucose solids, Honey, Lactose, Maltodextrin, Maltose, Mannitol, Molasses, Muscovado, Panocha

While it is unlikely for a pet manufacturer to add artificial sugar as the dangers are well documented, human product manufacturers do. Artificial sugars cause an unsafe drop in blood sugar in pets and even small amounts can be deadly. Human product manufacturers are not bound by pet safety protocol. So the foods they produce are designed for human consumption and are considered safe for people, but not necessarily for pets.

As many of us use human-grade products for our pets, the responsibility is on us to check labels. Dangerous sweeteners can be found in many over the counter medications that used to be safe for pets, such as children’s allergy medications and fiber products. Your veterinarian may not even be aware that artificial sugars have now been added to these over the counter products.

Artificial sugars have almost as many names as sugar does. These include: Acesulfame Potassium, Acesulfame K, Ace K or Ace, Advantame, Alitame or Aclame, Aspartame-acesulfate salt or Twinsweet, Cyclamate, calcium cyclamate, cyclamic acid, sodium cyclamate, Sucaryl or Colognan, Erythritol, erythrite, meso-erythritol, tetrahydroxybutane, Zsweet, Wholesome Sweeteners, Organic Zero, Zerose, Now Foods, NuNaturals or Swerve Natural Sweeteners *, Isomalt, isomaltitol, hydrogenated isomaltulose, DiabetiSweet, ClearCut or Decomalt *, Maltitol, D-maltitol, dried maltitol syrup, hydrogenated glucose syrup, hydrogenated high maltose-content glucose syrup, hydrogenated maltose, maltitol syrup powder, Lesys, Maltisweet or SweetPearl *, Lactitol, lactit, lactobiosit, lactositol or Lacty, Mannitol, mannite or d-mannitol, Neohesperidine dihydrochalcone, Neohesperidin DC or NHDC, Neotame, Saccharin, sodium saccharin, calcium saccharin, acid saccharin, potassium saccharin, Sweet’N Low, Nectasweet, Cologran, Heremesetas, Sucrayl, Sucron, Sugar twin or Sweet 10, Sorbitol, D-Glucitol, D-Glucitol syrup, Sorbit, D-sorbitol or Sorbol, Sucralose, 4,1’,6’-trichlorogalactosucrose, Splenda or Nevella, Xylitol
Ultimately, it is our responsibility as pet owners to check labels and ensure the products our pets ingest are safe and healthy.

Mary Oquendo is a Reiki master, advanced crystal master and certified master pet tech pet first aid instructor. She is the co-owner of Hands and Paws-Reiki for All. She can be reached at See ad, page 20.

*Naturally derived, but artificial sugars are commonly added to it