What is Sugar?
What is sugar?
- Sugar is found in the tissues of most plants, but sufficient quantities for commercial extraction are only found in sugarcane and sugar beet
- Sugarcane- species of giant grasses in the genus “saccharum”, cultivated in tropical climates
- Sugar beet – a cultivated variety of “beta vulgaris”, grown as a root crop in more moderate climates
- Consists of short-chain soluble carbohydrates (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen)
- Simple sugars are monosaccharides, and include glucose (dextrose), fructose and galactose
- Table sugar = sucrose (disaccharide)= made of a molecule of glucose and a molecule of fructose
- Other disaccharides include maltose and lactose.
- Sucrose is found in the stems of sugarcane and roots of sugar beet. Sucrose also occurs naturally in other fruits and some roots such as carrots.
- Fructose (fruit sugar) occurs naturally in fruits, some root vegetables, cane sugar and honey
- Fructose is the sweetest naturally occurring sugar
- Glucose (dextrose or grape sugar) is natural occurring in fruits and plant juices, and is the primary product of photosynthesis. Most ingested carbohydrates are converted into glucose during digestion. Dextrose can be manufactured from starch (most commonly corn) by the addition of enzymes or in the presence of acids.
- Honey is composed of fructose (approx. 38%) and glucose (approx. 31%)
- Sap from the maple tree is approx. 1-4% sucrose. Once boiled and reduced, the resulting maple syrup is a approx. 60% sucrose (with small amounts of fructose and glucose)
What is sweetness?
- Most common measure of sweetness is a comparative number relative to the sweetness of sucrose (table sugar).
- Many comparative charts set sucrose at 100, and then other sweeteners are compared against it.
| Relative Sweetness Scale
|High Fructose Corn Syrup||120-160|