Sugar

Sugar

Overview

Sugar is a class of edible crystal
Crystal
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography...

line carbohydrate
Carbohydrate
A carbohydrate is an organic compound with the empirical formula ; that is, consists only of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, with a hydrogen:oxygen atom ratio of 2:1 . However, there are exceptions to this. One common example would be deoxyribose, a component of DNA, which has the empirical...

s, mainly sucrose
Sucrose
Sucrose is the organic compound commonly known as table sugar and sometimes called saccharose. A white, odorless, crystalline powder with a sweet taste, it is best known for its role in human nutrition. The molecule is a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose with the molecular formula...

, lactose
Lactose
Lactose is a disaccharide sugar that is found most notably in milk and is formed from galactose and glucose. Lactose makes up around 2~8% of milk , although the amount varies among species and individuals. It is extracted from sweet or sour whey. The name comes from or , the Latin word for milk,...

, and fructose
Fructose
Fructose, or fruit sugar, is a simple monosaccharide found in many plants. It is one of the three dietary monosaccharides, along with glucose and galactose, that are absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. Fructose was discovered by French chemist Augustin-Pierre Dubrunfaut in 1847...

, characterized by a sweet flavor
Flavor
Flavor or flavour is the sensory impression of a food or other substance, and is determined mainly by the chemical senses of taste and smell. The "trigeminal senses", which detect chemical irritants in the mouth and throat as well as temperature and texture, are also very important to the overall...

.

Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet
Sugar beet
Sugar beet, a cultivated plant of Beta vulgaris, is a plant whose tuber contains a high concentration of sucrose. It is grown commercially for sugar production. Sugar beets and other B...

. It and the other sugars are present in natural and refined forms in many foods, and the refined forms are also added to many food preparations.

Currently, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 has the highest per capita
Per capita
Per capita is a Latin prepositional phrase: per and capita . The phrase thus means "by heads" or "for each head", i.e. per individual or per person...

 production of sugar.

In food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

, "sugars" refer to all monosaccharides and disaccharides present in food, but excludes polyol
Polyol
A polyol is an alcohol containing multiple hydroxyl groups. In two technological disciplines the term "polyol" has a special meaning: food science and polymer chemistry.- Polyols in food science :...

s, while in its singular form, "sugar" normally refers to sucrose.
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Encyclopedia

Sugar is a class of edible crystal
Crystal
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography...

line carbohydrate
Carbohydrate
A carbohydrate is an organic compound with the empirical formula ; that is, consists only of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, with a hydrogen:oxygen atom ratio of 2:1 . However, there are exceptions to this. One common example would be deoxyribose, a component of DNA, which has the empirical...

s, mainly sucrose
Sucrose
Sucrose is the organic compound commonly known as table sugar and sometimes called saccharose. A white, odorless, crystalline powder with a sweet taste, it is best known for its role in human nutrition. The molecule is a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose with the molecular formula...

, lactose
Lactose
Lactose is a disaccharide sugar that is found most notably in milk and is formed from galactose and glucose. Lactose makes up around 2~8% of milk , although the amount varies among species and individuals. It is extracted from sweet or sour whey. The name comes from or , the Latin word for milk,...

, and fructose
Fructose
Fructose, or fruit sugar, is a simple monosaccharide found in many plants. It is one of the three dietary monosaccharides, along with glucose and galactose, that are absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. Fructose was discovered by French chemist Augustin-Pierre Dubrunfaut in 1847...

, characterized by a sweet flavor
Flavor
Flavor or flavour is the sensory impression of a food or other substance, and is determined mainly by the chemical senses of taste and smell. The "trigeminal senses", which detect chemical irritants in the mouth and throat as well as temperature and texture, are also very important to the overall...

.

Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet
Sugar beet
Sugar beet, a cultivated plant of Beta vulgaris, is a plant whose tuber contains a high concentration of sucrose. It is grown commercially for sugar production. Sugar beets and other B...

. It and the other sugars are present in natural and refined forms in many foods, and the refined forms are also added to many food preparations.

Currently, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 has the highest per capita
Per capita
Per capita is a Latin prepositional phrase: per and capita . The phrase thus means "by heads" or "for each head", i.e. per individual or per person...

 production of sugar.

In food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

, "sugars" refer to all monosaccharides and disaccharides present in food, but excludes polyol
Polyol
A polyol is an alcohol containing multiple hydroxyl groups. In two technological disciplines the term "polyol" has a special meaning: food science and polymer chemistry.- Polyols in food science :...

s, while in its singular form, "sugar" normally refers to sucrose. The other sugars are usually known by more specific names — glucose
Glucose
Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

, fructose
Fructose
Fructose, or fruit sugar, is a simple monosaccharide found in many plants. It is one of the three dietary monosaccharides, along with glucose and galactose, that are absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. Fructose was discovered by French chemist Augustin-Pierre Dubrunfaut in 1847...

 or fruit sugar, high fructose corn syrup
High fructose corn syrup
High-fructose corn syrup  — also called glucose-fructose syrup in the UK, glucose/fructose in Canada, and high-fructose maize syrup in other countries — comprises any of a group of corn syrups that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose to produce...

, etc.

History



Sugar has been produced in the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 since ancient times. It was not plentiful or cheap in early times—honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

 was more often used for sweetening in most parts of the world.

Originally, people chewed sugarcane raw to extract its sweetness. Sugarcane was a native of tropical South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

. Different species likely originated in different locations with Saccharum barberi originating in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and S. edule and S. officinarum coming from New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

.
Sugar remained relatively unimportant until the Indians discovered methods of turning sugarcane juice
Sugarcane juice
Sugarcane juice is the juice extracted from pressed sugarcane. It is consumed as a beverage worldwide, and especially in regions where sugarcane is commercially grown such as Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Latin America....

 into granulated crystals that were easier to store and to transport. Crystallized sugar was discovered by the time of the Imperial Guptas, around 5th century AD. Indian sailors, consumers of clarified butter and sugar, carried sugar by various trade routes. Traveling Buddhist monks brought sugar crystallization methods to China. During the reign of Harsha
Harsha
Harsha or Harsha Vardhana or Harshvardhan was an Indian emperor who ruled northern India from 606 to 647 AD. He was the son of Prabhakara Vardhana and younger brother of Rajya Vardhana, a king of Thanesar, Haryana...

 (r. 606–647) in North India
North India
North India, known natively as Uttar Bhārat or Shumālī Hindustān , is a loosely defined region in the northern part of India. The exact meaning of the term varies by usage...

, Indian envoys in Tang China
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 taught sugarcane cultivation methods after Emperor Taizong of Tang
Emperor Taizong of Tang
Emperor Taizong of Tang , personal name Lǐ Shìmín , was the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty of China, ruling from 626 to 649...

 (r. 626–649) made his interest in sugar known, and China soon established its first sugarcane
Sugarcane
Sugarcane refers to any of six to 37 species of tall perennial grasses of the genus Saccharum . Native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of South Asia, they have stout, jointed, fibrous stalks that are rich in sugar, and measure two to six metres tall...

 cultivation in the seventh century. Chinese documents confirm at least two missions to India, initiated in 647 AD, for obtaining technology for sugar-refining. In South Asia, the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, sugar became a staple of cooking and dessert
Dessert
In cultures around the world, dessert is a course that typically comes at the end of a meal, usually consisting of sweet food. The word comes from the French language as dessert and this from Old French desservir, "to clear the table" and "to serve." Common Western desserts include cakes, biscuits,...

s.

Crusaders
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 brought sugar home with them to Europe after their campaigns in the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

, where they encountered caravans carrying "sweet salt". Early in the 12th century, Venice acquired some villages near Tyre and set up estates to produce sugar for export to Europe, where it supplemented honey as the only other available sweetener.
Crusade chronicler William of Tyre
William of Tyre
William of Tyre was a medieval prelate and chronicler. As archbishop of Tyre, he is sometimes known as William II to distinguish him from a predecessor, William of Malines...

, writing in the late 12th century, described sugar as "very necessary for the use and health of mankind".

In August 1492, Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 stopped at La Gomera
La Gomera
La Gomera is one of Spain's Canary Islands, located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa. In area, it is the second-smallest of the seven main islands of this group.- Political organization :...

 in the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

, for wine and water, intending to stay only four days. He became romantically involved with the Governor of the island, Beatriz de Bobadilla y Ossorio, and stayed a month. When he finally sailed she gave him cuttings of sugarcane, which became the first to reach the New World.

In 1792, sugar rose to a high price in Great Britain. The East India Company were called upon to help lower the price of sugar. Lieutenant J. Paterson, of the Bengal establishment, reported that sugar-cane could be cultivated in British India with many advantages, and at less expense than in the West Indies. As a result, a number of sugar factories were established in Bihar in British India.

More recently it is manufactured in very large quantities in many countries, largely from sugarcane and sugar beet
Sugar beet
Sugar beet, a cultivated plant of Beta vulgaris, is a plant whose tuber contains a high concentration of sucrose. It is grown commercially for sugar production. Sugar beets and other B...

. In processed foods it has increasingly been supplanted by corn syrup
Corn syrup
Corn syrup is a food syrup, which is made from the starch of maize and contains varying amounts of maltose and higher oligosaccharides, depending on the grade. Corn syrup is used in foods to soften texture, add volume, prevent crystallization of sugar, and enhance flavor...

.

Etymology



The etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 reflects the spread of the commodity. The English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 word "sugar" originates from the Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 word سكر sukkar,
itself derived from Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 शर्करा sharkara. It most probably came to England by way of Italian merchants. The contemporary Italian word is zucchero, whereas the Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 and Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 words, azúcar and açúcar respectively, have kept a trace of the Arabic definite article. The Old French word is zuchre - contemporary French sucre. The earliest Greek word attested is σάκχαρη [sákχari]. A satisfactory pedigree explaining the spread of the word has yet to be done. Note that the English word jaggery
Jaggery
Jaggery is a traditional unrefined non-centrifugal whole cane sugar consumed in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. It is a concentrated product of cane juice without separation of the molasses and crystals, and can vary from golden brown to dark brown in color...

(meaning "coarse brown Indian sugar") has similar ultimate etymological origins (presumably in Sanskrit).

Human health effects


Some studies involving the health impact of sugars are effectively inconclusive. The WHO and FAO meta studies have shown directly contrasting impacts of sugar in refined and unrefined forms and since most studies do not use a population who are not consuming any "free sugar
Free sugar
Free sugar is defined by the World Health Organization and the US Food and Agriculture Organization in multiple reports as "all monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices"...

s" at all, the baseline is effectively flawed (or as the report puts it, the studies are "limited"). Hence there are articles such as Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports is an American magazine published monthly by Consumers Union since 1936. It publishes reviews and comparisons of consumer products and services based on reporting and results from its in-house testing laboratory. It also publishes cleaning and general buying guides...

 on Health
that said in 2008, "Some of the supposed dietary dangers of sugar have been overblown. Many studies have debunked the idea that it causes hyperactivity, for example." though the article does continue to discuss other health impacts of sugar. Other articles and studies refer to the increasing evidence supporting the links to hyperactivity. The WHO FAO meta-study suggests that such results are expected when some studies do not effectively segregating or controlling for free sugars as opposed to sugars still in their natural form (entirely unrefined) while others do.

Blood glucose levels


Sugar, because of its simpler chemical structure, may raise blood glucose levels more quickly than starch
Starch
Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

. This finding suggests that this basic differentiation between starch and sugar is insufficient reason to segregate these two substances for controlling blood glucose levels in diabetics, the idea behind carbohydrate counting. A more effective distinction could use that suggested by multiple meta-studies between free sugars and naturally-occurring sugars which do suggest different impacts on health.

Obesity and diabetes


Studies appear to conflict with some suggesting eating excessive amounts of sugar does not increase the risk of diabetes
Diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced...

, although the extra calories from consuming large amounts of sugar can lead to obesity
Obesity
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems...

, which may increase the risk of diabetes, while others show links between refined sugar (free sugar) consumption and the onset of diabetes, and negative correlation with the consumption of fibre including a 2010 meta-analysis of eleven studies involving 310,819 participants and 15,043 cases of type 2 diabetes that found that "SSBs [sugar-sweetened beverages] may increase the risk of [metabolic syndrome] and type 2 diabetes not only through obesity but also by increasing dietary glycemic load, leading to insulin resistance, β-cell dysfunction, and inflammation.". As an overview to consumption related to chronic disease and obesity, the World Health Organization's independent meta-studies specifically distinguish free sugars ("all monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices") from sugars naturally present in food. The reports prior to 2000 set the limits for free sugars at a maximum of 10% of carbohydrate intake, measured by energy, rather than mass, and since 2002 have aimed for a level across the entire population at less than 10%. The consultation committee recognised that this goal is "controversial. However, the Consultation considered that the studies showing no effect of free sugars on excess weight have limitations." (p57).

Cardiovascular Disease


A number of studies in animals have suggested that chronic consumption of refined sugars can contribute to metabolic and cardiovascular dysregulation. Some experts have suggested that refined fructose is more damaging than refined glucose is more damaging in terms of cardiovascular risk. Cardiac performance has been shown to be impaired by switching from a carbohydrate diet including fibre to a high-carbohydrate diet.

Switching saturated fatty acids for carbohydrates with high glycaemic index values shows a statistically significant positive association with the risk of myocardial infarction.

Other studies have found links between high fat and high glycaemic index carbohydrates accelerates the development of cardiac pathology and pump dysfunction in hypertension despite no signs of diabetes and only a modest level of obesity, suggesting that the link between obesity and coronary heart disease should be shifted towards macronutrients and the high glycaemic load typical of the "junk-food" diet.

The consumption of added sugars has been positively associated with multiple measures known to increase cardiovascular disease risk amongst adolescents as well as adults.

Studies are suggesting the impact of refined carbohydrates or high glycaemic load carbohydrates are more significant that the impact of saturated fatty acids on cardiovascular disease.

High level of sugar (in this case, sucrose or disaccharide) consumption can substantially increase the risk for heart- and vascular diseases. According to a new Swedish study from Lund University
Lund University
Lund University , located in the city of Lund in the province of Scania, Sweden, is one of northern Europe's most prestigious universities and one of Scandinavia's largest institutions for education and research, frequently ranked among the world's top 100 universities...

 and Malmö University College
Malmö University College
Malmö University College is a university college located in Malmö, Sweden. Malmö University College was founded in 1998, and it is Sweden’s ninth largest undergraduate-graduate level academic institution Malmö University College is a university college (högskola, separate from the Swedish...

 of , sugar was associated with higher levels of bad blood fat with a high level of small and medium LDL and reduced HDL blood fat. However the amount of fat intake didn't affect the blood fats. As a side note, moderate quantities of alcohol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 and protein were linked to the good HDL blood fat.

Alzheimer Disease


Since Alzheimer Disease has been linked with type 2 diabetes mellitus, one group of experimenters compared a normal rodent diet (19% protein, 5% fat and 60% complex carbohydrate) with free water access against the same diet but with free access to a 10% sucrose solution. Their data underscore the potential role of dietary sugar in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer Disease and suggest that controlling the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages may be an effective way to curtail the risk of developing Alzheimer Disease.

Macular Degeneration


There are links between free sugar consumption and macular degeneration
Macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is a medical condition which usually affects older adults and results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field because of damage to the retina. It occurs in “dry” and “wet” forms. It is a major cause of blindness and visual impairment in older adults...

 in older age.

Tooth decay


In regard to contributions to tooth decay
Dental caries
Dental caries, also known as tooth decay or a cavity, is an irreversible infection usually bacterial in origin that causes demineralization of the hard tissues and destruction of the organic matter of the tooth, usually by production of acid by hydrolysis of the food debris accumulated on the...

, the role of free sugars is also recommended to be below an absolute maximum of 10% of energy intake, with a minimum of zero. There is "convincing evidence from human intervention studies, epidemiological studies, animal studies and experimental studies, for an association between the amount and frequency of free sugars intake and dental caries" while other sugars (complex carbohydrate) consumption is normally associated with a lower rate of dental caries. Lower rates of tooth decay have been seen in individuals with hereditary fructose intolerance.

Popular


The term sugar usually refers to sucrose
Sucrose
Sucrose is the organic compound commonly known as table sugar and sometimes called saccharose. A white, odorless, crystalline powder with a sweet taste, it is best known for its role in human nutrition. The molecule is a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose with the molecular formula...

, which is also called "table sugar" or "saccharose." Sucrose is a white crystal
Crystal
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography...

line disaccharide
Disaccharide
A disaccharide or biose is the carbohydrate formed when two monosaccharides undergo a condensation reaction which involves the elimination of a small molecule, such as water, from the functional groups only. Like monosaccharides, disaccharides form an aqueous solution when dissolved in water...

. It is often obtained from sugar cane or sugar beet. Sucrose is the most popular of the various sugars for flavor
Flavor
Flavor or flavour is the sensory impression of a food or other substance, and is determined mainly by the chemical senses of taste and smell. The "trigeminal senses", which detect chemical irritants in the mouth and throat as well as temperature and texture, are also very important to the overall...

ing, as well as properties (such as mouthfeel
Mouthfeel
Mouthfeel is a product's physical and chemical interaction in the mouth, an aspect of food rheology. It is a concept used in many areas related to the testing and evaluating of foodstuffs, such as wine-tasting and rheology. It is evaluated from initial perception on the palate, to first bite,...

, preservation, and texture) of beverages and food.

Chemical


"Sugar" can also be used to refer to water-soluble crystalline carbohydrates with varying sweetness. Sugars include monosaccharide
Monosaccharide
Monosaccharides are the most basic units of biologically important carbohydrates. They are the simplest form of sugar and are usually colorless, water-soluble, crystalline solids. Some monosaccharides have a sweet taste. Examples of monosaccharides include glucose , fructose , galactose, xylose...

s (e.g., glucose
Glucose
Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

, fructose
Fructose
Fructose, or fruit sugar, is a simple monosaccharide found in many plants. It is one of the three dietary monosaccharides, along with glucose and galactose, that are absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. Fructose was discovered by French chemist Augustin-Pierre Dubrunfaut in 1847...

, galactose
Galactose
Galactose , sometimes abbreviated Gal, is a type of sugar that is less sweet than glucose. It is a C-4 epimer of glucose....

), disaccharides (e.g., sucrose, lactose
Lactose
Lactose is a disaccharide sugar that is found most notably in milk and is formed from galactose and glucose. Lactose makes up around 2~8% of milk , although the amount varies among species and individuals. It is extracted from sweet or sour whey. The name comes from or , the Latin word for milk,...

, maltose
Maltose
Maltose , or malt sugar, is a disaccharide formed from two units of glucose joined with an αbond, formed from a condensation reaction. The isomer "isomaltose" has two glucose molecules linked through an α bond. Maltose is the second member of an important biochemical series of glucose chains....

), trisaccharides, and oligosaccharide
Oligosaccharide
An oligosaccharide is a saccharide polymer containing a small number of component sugars, also known as simple sugars...

s, in contrast to complex carbohydrates such as polysaccharide
Polysaccharide
Polysaccharides are long carbohydrate molecules, of repeated monomer units joined together by glycosidic bonds. They range in structure from linear to highly branched. Polysaccharides are often quite heterogeneous, containing slight modifications of the repeating unit. Depending on the structure,...

s. Corn syrup
Corn syrup
Corn syrup is a food syrup, which is made from the starch of maize and contains varying amounts of maltose and higher oligosaccharides, depending on the grade. Corn syrup is used in foods to soften texture, add volume, prevent crystallization of sugar, and enhance flavor...

, dextrose, crystalline fructose
Crystalline fructose
Crystalline fructose is a processed sweetener derived from corn that is almost entirely fructose. It consists of at least 98% pure fructose, any remainder being water and trace minerals. It is used as a sweetener in the likes of beverages and yogurts, where it substitutes for high-fructose corn...

, and maltose
Maltose
Maltose , or malt sugar, is a disaccharide formed from two units of glucose joined with an αbond, formed from a condensation reaction. The isomer "isomaltose" has two glucose molecules linked through an α bond. Maltose is the second member of an important biochemical series of glucose chains....

, for example, are used in manufacturing and preparing food.

Baking weight/mass volume relationship



Different culinary sugars have different densities due to differences in particle size and inclusion of moisture.

The Domino Sugar Company has established the following volume to weight conversions:
  • Brown sugar 1 cup = 48 teaspoons ~ 195 g = 6.88 oz
  • Granular sugar 1 cup = 48 teaspoons ~ 200 g = 7.06 oz
  • Powdered sugar 1 cup = 48 teaspoons ~ 120 g = 4.23 oz


Bulk density
  • Dextrose sugar 0.62 g/mL
  • Granulated sugar 0.70 g/mL
  • Powdered sugar 0.56 g/mL
  • Beet sugar 0.80 g/mL

Purity standards


The International Commission for Uniform Methods of Sugar Analysis
International Commission for Uniform Methods of Sugar Analysis
The International Commission for Uniform Methods of Sugar Analysis is an international standards body, founded in 1897, that publishes detailed laboratory procedures for the analysis of sugar....

 sets standards for the measurement of the purity of refined sugar, known as ICUMSA numbers; lower numbers indicate a higher level of purity in the refined sugar.

Chemistry




Scientifically, sugar loosely refers to a number of carbohydrates, such as monosaccharide
Monosaccharide
Monosaccharides are the most basic units of biologically important carbohydrates. They are the simplest form of sugar and are usually colorless, water-soluble, crystalline solids. Some monosaccharides have a sweet taste. Examples of monosaccharides include glucose , fructose , galactose, xylose...

s, disaccharide
Disaccharide
A disaccharide or biose is the carbohydrate formed when two monosaccharides undergo a condensation reaction which involves the elimination of a small molecule, such as water, from the functional groups only. Like monosaccharides, disaccharides form an aqueous solution when dissolved in water...

s, or oligosaccharides. Monosaccharides are also called "simple sugars," the most important being glucose
Glucose
Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

. Almost all sugars have the formula (n is between 3 and 7). Glucose
Glucose
Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

 has the molecular formula . The names of typical sugars end with "-ose," as in "glucose", "dextrose", and "fructose". Sometimes such words may also refer to any types of carbohydrates soluble in water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

. The acyclic mono- and disaccharides contain either aldehyde
Aldehyde
An aldehyde is an organic compound containing a formyl group. This functional group, with the structure R-CHO, consists of a carbonyl center bonded to hydrogen and an R group....

 groups or ketone
Ketone
In organic chemistry, a ketone is an organic compound with the structure RCR', where R and R' can be a variety of atoms and groups of atoms. It features a carbonyl group bonded to two other carbon atoms. Many ketones are known and many are of great importance in industry and in biology...

 groups. These carbon-oxygen
Carbonyl
In organic chemistry, a carbonyl group is a functional group composed of a carbon atom double-bonded to an oxygen atom: C=O. It is common to several classes of organic compounds, as part of many larger functional groups....

 double bonds (C=O) are the reactive centers. All saccharides with more than one ring in their structure result from two or more monosaccharides joined by glycosidic bond
Glycosidic bond
In chemistry, a glycosidic bond is a type of covalent bond that joins a carbohydrate molecule to another group, which may or may not be another carbohydrate....

s with the resultant loss of a molecule of water (H2O) per bond.

Monosaccharides in a closed-chain form can form glycosidic bonds with other monosaccharides, creating disaccharides (such as sucrose) and polysaccharides (such as starch). Enzymes must hydrolyse
Hydrolysis
Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction during which molecules of water are split into hydrogen cations and hydroxide anions in the process of a chemical mechanism. It is the type of reaction that is used to break down certain polymers, especially those made by condensation polymerization...

 or otherwise break these glycosidic bonds before such compounds become metabolised
Metabolism
Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in the cells of living organisms to sustain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories...

. After digestion and absorption. the principal monosaccharides present in the blood and internal tissues include glucose, fructose, and galactose. Many pentoses and hexoses can form ring structures. In these closed-chain forms, the aldehyde or ketone group remains unfree, so many of the reactions typical of these groups cannot occur. Glucose in solution exists mostly in the ring form at equilibrium
Chemical equilibrium
In a chemical reaction, chemical equilibrium is the state in which the concentrations of the reactants and products have not yet changed with time. It occurs only in reversible reactions, and not in irreversible reactions. Usually, this state results when the forward reaction proceeds at the same...

, with less than 0.1% of the molecules in the open-chain form.

Natural polymers of sugars


Biopolymer
Biopolymer
Biopolymers are polymers produced by living organisms. Since they are polymers, Biopolymers contain monomeric units that are covalently bonded to form larger structures. There are three main classes of biopolymers based on the differing monomeric units used and the structure of the biopolymer formed...

s of sugars are common in nature. Through photosynthesis
Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is a chemical process that converts carbon dioxide into organic compounds, especially sugars, using the energy from sunlight. Photosynthesis occurs in plants, algae, and many species of bacteria, but not in archaea. Photosynthetic organisms are called photoautotrophs, since they can...

 plants produce glucose
Glucose
Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

, which has the formula , and convert it for storage as an energy reserve in the form of other carbohydrates such as starch
Starch
Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

, or (as in cane and beet) as sucrose
Sucrose
Sucrose is the organic compound commonly known as table sugar and sometimes called saccharose. A white, odorless, crystalline powder with a sweet taste, it is best known for its role in human nutrition. The molecule is a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose with the molecular formula...

 (table sugar). Sucrose has the chemical formula . Starch, consisting of two different polymers of glucose, is a readily degradable chemical energy
Potential energy
In physics, potential energy is the energy stored in a body or in a system due to its position in a force field or due to its configuration. The SI unit of measure for energy and work is the Joule...

 stored by cells
Cell (biology)
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

, convertible to other types of energy.

Cellulose is a polymer of glucose used by plants as structural component.

DNA and RNA are built up of the sugars ribose
Ribose
Ribose is an organic compound with the formula C5H10O5; specifically, a monosaccharide with linear form H––4–H, which has all the hydroxyl groups on the same side in the Fischer projection....

 and deoxyribose
Deoxyribose
Deoxyribose, more, precisely 2-deoxyribose, is a monosaccharide with idealized formula H---3-H. Its name indicates that it is a deoxy sugar, meaning that it is derived from the sugar ribose by loss of an oxygen atom...

.
The sugar in DNA is deoxyribose, and has the formula C5H10O4.

See also


  • Barley sugar
    Barley sugar
    Barley sugar is a traditional variety of British boiled sweet, or hard candy, yellow or orange in colour with an extract of barley added as flavouring...

  • Biobutanol
  • Brown sugar
    Brown sugar
    Brown sugar is a sucrose sugar product with a distinctive brown color due to the presence of molasses. It is either an unrefined or partially refined soft sugar consisting of sugar crystals with some residual molasses content, or it is produced by the addition of molasses to refined white...

  • Caramel
    Caramel
    Caramel is a beige to dark-brown confection made by heating any of a variety of sugars. It is used as a flavoring in puddings and desserts, as a filling in bonbons, and as a topping for ice cream, custard and coffee....

  • Glycomics
    Glycomics
    Glycomics is the comprehensive study of glycomes , including genetic, physiologic, pathologic, and other aspects. Glycomics "is the systematic study of all glycan structures of a given cell type or organism" and is a subset of glycobiology...

  • Holing cane
    Holing cane
    Holing cane was a process by which slave labor gangs planted sugar cane on plantations.Field slaves were generally divided into three gangs based on their ability to work...

  • List of unrefined sweeteners
  • Saccharophilic pathogen
  • Sugar alcohol
    Sugar alcohol
    A sugar alcohol is a hydrogenated form of carbohydrate, whose carbonyl group has been reduced to a primary or secondary hydroxyl group . Sugar alcohols have the general formula Hn+1H, whereas sugars have HnHCO...

  • Sugarloaf
    Sugarloaf
    A sugarloaf was the traditional form in which refined sugar was produced and sold until the late 19th century when granulated and cube sugars were introduced. A tall cone with a rounded top was the end product of a process that saw the dark molasses-rich raw sugar, which had been imported from...

  • Sugar plantations in the Caribbean
    Sugar plantations in the Caribbean
    The sugar cane plant was the main crop produced on the numerous plantations throughout the Caribbean through the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, as almost every island was covered with sugar plantations and mills for refining the cane for its sweet properties. The main source of labor was African...

  • Sugar substitute
    Sugar substitute
    A sugar substitute is a food additive that duplicates the effect of sugar in taste, usually with less food energy. Some sugar substitutes are natural and some are synthetic. Those that are not natural are, in general, called artificial sweeteners....



Further reading

  • A C Hannah, The International Sugar Trade, Cambridge: Woodhead, 1996. ISBN 1-85573-069-3

External links