Sugar Definition and 8 Discussions

Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. Table sugar, granulated sugar, or regular sugar, refers to sucrose, a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose.
Simple sugars, also called monosaccharides, include glucose, fructose, and galactose. Compound sugars, also called disaccharides or double sugars, are molecules composed of two monosaccharides joined by a glycosidic bond. Common examples are sucrose (table sugar) (glucose + fructose), lactose (glucose + galactose), and maltose (two molecules of glucose). In the body, compound sugars are hydrolysed into simple sugars.
Longer chains of monosaccharides are not regarded as sugars, and are called oligosaccharides or polysaccharides. Starch is a glucose polymer found in plants, and is the most abundant source of energy in human food. Some other chemical substances, such as glycerol and sugar alcohols, may have a sweet taste, but are not classified as sugar.
Sugars are found in the tissues of most plants. Honey and fruit are abundant natural sources of unbounded simple sugars. Sucrose is especially concentrated in sugarcane and sugar beet, making them ideal for efficient commercial extraction to make refined sugar. In 2016, the combined world production of those two crops was about two billion tonnes. Maltose may be produced by malting grain. Lactose is the only sugar that cannot be extracted from plants. It can only be found in milk, including human breast milk, and in some dairy products. A cheap source of sugar is corn syrup, industrially produced by converting corn starch into sugars, such as maltose, fructose and glucose.

Sucrose is used in prepared foods (e.g. cookies and cakes), is sometimes added to commercially available processed food and beverages, and may be used by people as a sweetener for foods (e.g. toast and cereal) and beverages (e.g. coffee and tea). The average person consumes about 24 kilograms (53 lb) of sugar each year, with North and South Americans consuming up to 50 kilograms (110 lb) and Africans consuming under 20 kilograms (44 lb). As sugar consumption grew in the latter part of the 20th century, researchers began to examine whether a diet high in sugar, especially refined sugar, was damaging to human health. Excessive consumption of sugar has been implicated in the onset of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and tooth decay. Numerous studies have tried to clarify those implications, but with varying results, mainly because of the difficulty of finding populations for use as controls that consume little or no sugar. In 2015, the World Health Organization recommended that adults and children reduce their intake of free sugars to less than 10%, and encouraged a reduction to below 5%, of their total energy intake.

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  1. A

    Is the molecular formula for sugar correct?

    Is the following molecular formula for Sugar can be written as H22C12O11 or O11C12H22 or O11H22C12 or C12O11H22 or H22O11C12 instead of C12H22O11? Logically they can be written as mentioned above? If Not, Why? There can be many more examples similar to above.
  2. ISamson

    Salt or Sugar?

    During these days, I have asked my mother: What is better/worse for the human body: salt or sugar? Both of these substances are quite dangerous in high amounts, but which one is worse? Salt was used in food preservation, with its abilities (Which abilities? I have never understood this...) and...
  3. T

    Medical All Things Sweet May Not Necessarily Be Sweet to You

    Ran across this report by researchers at the Univ. Calif. San Francisco. Short versions at...
  4. .Scott

    Sugar's Depressing for Men

    According to this study: What I find interesting is that the authors did not list the byproducts produced when fructose is metabolized as a possible vehicle for what they found. In fact, in one news article a scientist commenting on the study...
  5. .Scott

    Medical Accepted medical opinion regarding fructose

    I am asking about what is the accepted medical opinion regarding fructose - and specifically whether there are common conditions when it should be avoided? My interest started about a year ago when my doctor said that I was glucose-intolerant and that I should avoid foods with a high glycemic...
  6. C

    Design of experimental device for sugar monocrystallisation

    Hello, I will be conducting an experiment to create a sugar monocrystal, the device I will be using (apologies, English is not my primary language therefore I do not know all the proper terms) will be modeled and influenced by the one described in the paper "Soft-sensor for industrial sugar...
  7. CuriousGyorgy

    Can brown sugar grow mold?

    Hi folks, I saw a previous (closed) thread stipulating that mold can't grow on sugar. I have an old package of dark Muscovado sugar from Mauritius stored in the original plastic bag; it has small area of white here and there on the clumps of sugar which looks like mold. Water and nutrients are...
  8. S

    Coffee + Sugar = Extra Calories?

    I am a big physics enthusiast, and I apply my learning as much as possible. Today, my literature teacher introduced this idea that when coffee and sugar are combined, new calories are born. For instance, coffee (0 kcal) + sugar (100 kcal) = 150 kcal? Unfortunately, I only pursued physics and...