Yes, just like all sugar, invert sugar can be bad for you. It’s an incredibly sweet, syrup-like substance that’s used in pastries, candies and more. Unfortunately, there is no established acceptable daily intake (ADI) for invert sugar—but over-consumption can lead to dental problems, diabetes, and obesity.
Invert or inverted sugar is made from a combination of glucose and fructose. It’s formed by splitting sucrose into these two components, which gives it a sweeter taste. Its unique production also makes it more apt to retain moisture, which makes it great for baking. Invert sugar is also less likely to crystallize, meaning it's perfect for food processing and prolonging the product’s shelf life.
But does invert sugar offer any health benefits? Or could it be bad for you?
Invert sugar is just that: sugar. So it comes with all of the same concerns as regular sugar, including tooth decay, diabetes, and obesity. And of course, obesity leads to more serious health problems like hypertension and heart disease.
However, invert sugar differs from other types of sugar in that there aren’t a lot of clear guidelines regarding how much you can safely consume. There’s currently no acceptable daily intake (ADI) set for invert sugar, so it’s difficult to gauge what your exact limit should be.
Most nutritionists recommend invert sugar be counted as part of the daily intake of refined sugar. According to the World Health Organization, refined sugar should account for no more than 10 percent of your daily calories, which works out to be a maximum of about 12 teaspoons. But when it comes to invert sugar specifically, it’s better to tread lightly: the fructose within invert sugar is unbound, which means it could be slightly more detrimental to health. It’s very similar to High Fructose Corn Syrup, but it’s made from beets or cane.
So how can you avoid invert sugar? The easiest way is to steer clear of sweet, overly processed products. Invert sugar is typically found in syrup, honey, candy, chocolate, and liqueur. It’s even used in some cigarettes as a casing. If you’re not sure whether or not invert sugar is used in a product, check the label. It’s sometimes called “inverted sugar” or “invert sugar syrup.”
If you can’t avoid invert sugar, you should still strive to limit your intake. But keep in mind that the guidelines set forth by the World Health Organization are just that: guidelines. Talk to your physician about the amount of invert or refined sugar that is safe to consume for your specific diet.
Possible long-term side effects
- tooth decay
- heart disease
- weight gain, obesity
- non-alcoholic fatty liver
Commonly found in
Ingredients to be aware of
- tastes sweeter than sucrose
- provides ideal consistency for baking
- prolongs product shelf life