What is Sugar: Definition and 78 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. H

    Boiling Sugar: How to Avoid Unwanted Goo

    I boil water to sterilize it, then add granulated sugar. Sometimes the sugar partially fails to dissolve, even though sitting in very hot cooling water for an hour or so. It forms a sort of goo instead. ?
  2. H

    Sugar content in chopped fruit to un-chopped fruit

    I was looking online for dried organic apricots. I noticed that the chopped version had higher stated sugar content of the carbohydrates (no added sugars). An enquiry to the companies contact informed me that the chopped per 100gm was denser than the un-chopped. This seems odd to me as the...
  3. T

    What waste products are formed from sugar rocket fuel?

    Hello, forums! So I recently have been getting into chemistry stuff. my latest endeavor is the "sugar rocket fuel" thing where you mix potassium nitrate (stump remover) and sugar (granulated) together to make something that when lit on fire, burns very quickly while releasing tons of hot...
  4. 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.
  5. J

    How do I find the refractive index in sugar solutions?

    For class I conducted a experiment where I made sugar solutions, poured them into a glass prism container and used a laser pointer to find the refractive index. However, while typing in my results I realized I found the angle of deviation instead of the minimum angle of deviation since I didn't...
  6. NTL2009

    Hydrogen Peroxide cleaned burnt sugar from my pan

    I did something really stupid, and walked away from a sugar solution I was heating on the stove (4 parts water, 1 part table sugar for humming bird feeders). I got distracted, and the sugar was burnt onto the pan, carbonized, really bad. Some came off in chunks, but a thick layer adhered to the...
  7. coolul007

    Removing sugar from a solution

    I have a food product, 3 bean salad, that has too sweet of a taste. Is there a way to neutralize the sugar through a chemical reaction. It would need a way to extract the result.
  8. ISamson

    Salt vs Sugar: Which is More Harmful to the Human Body?

    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...
  9. T

    Medical All Things Sweet May Not Necessarily Be Sweet to You

    Ran across this report by researchers at the Univ. Calif. San Francisco. http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.2003460 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2003460 Short versions at...
  10. bohm2

    How the sugar industry shifted blame to fat

  11. R

    Can probiotic be made just from sugar and water solution

    If I have a starter culture, i.e dry yeast powder and mixed, that in a solution of water and sugar. Would it produce a healthy probiotic drink. That is the probiotic that was present in the yeast powder multiplied in the sugar solution. Generally such a probiotic drink is made from fruit...
  12. .Scott

    Is Sugar's Metabolism Linked to Depression Risk in Men?

    According to this study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-05649-7 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...
  13. R

    Refractive index as a function of the concentration of a sugar solution

    We recently performed an experiment with the idea to find refractive index of medium (water) as a function of wavelength of light. We then added some sugar to see how the refractive index changes with concentration of sugar solution. We got the following graphs. Are the relationships actually...
  14. M

    Mass Flow Rate of Flue Gas in Sugar Industry

    Hello, I want to find the mass flow rate of flue gas, i have only the diameter of pipe and ID fan speed which are 1.48Meter and 980 RPM respectively
  15. Dr. Courtney

    "Fake Science News" The Sugar Conspiracy - notable example

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/apr/07/the-sugar-conspiracy-robert-lustig-john-yudkin Lots of important lessons here, for scientists, teachers, and the general public who consumes and often makes personal decisions based on science news.
  16. Hilmy atha

    Why plant distributes sugar in the form of sucrose?

    Few months back, in the final rounds of biology olympiad for Highschool students, i was asked, "Plants distributes sugar in the phloem as sucrose molecules, why did plant do this, and is there any advantages? Why not other form of sugar like glucose?"Can anyone help me? :3 Also i was wondering...
  17. .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...
  18. R

    Solving the Sugar Content in Potato Flour Puzzle with Chemistry

    Homework Statement Hi everyone, i have a problem. My brain is short-circuited, and it seems like i can't find out the simplest chemistry in the world :D We made this experiment where we should determine the sugar content in potato flour. We added amylases to break down the starch to glucose...
  19. Stephanus

    Producing Methane from Sugar - PF Forum

    Dear PF Forum, Can anyone help me? I'd like to know what is the reaction that produces methane from sugar? I believe it's reduction. This is sugar oxydation: C6H12O6 + 6O2 -> 6CO2 + 6H2O What is the reaction to produce methane from glucose? C6H12O6 + ? -> CH4 + ? And please if you would be so...
  20. 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...
  21. CuriousGyorgy

    Can high molasses content in brown sugar lead to mold growth?

    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...
  22. 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...
  23. L

    Untreated diabetic + ketosis = even higher blood sugar?

    Since most normal body cells do need insulin to take up glucose, do type 1 diabetics instead have to run off of ketone bodies when insulin is not present? *If this is the case, wouldn't weight loss in untreated type 1 diabetics actually make their blood sugar go even higher but also be...
  24. L

    Does sugar truly cause heart disease? Evidence and explanations behind the link

    Recently I viewed a short video that recommended reducing sugar in our diets because new research suggests that sugar causes heart disease. What is the status of this research? How convincing is the evidence?
  25. L

    Does so2 dissolve in sugarcane solution while refining sugar?

    does so2 dissolve in sugarcane solution while refining sugar??does it make sugarcane solution acidic?
  26. mrspeedybob

    Uncovering the Mysteries of Sauteing Onions in Boiling Sugar

    I have a recipe that begins with sauteing onions in boiling sugar. It occurred to be today that I don't know what the vapor is that the sugar is giving off when it boils. There is no water in the pan at that point (other then what is in the onions). Are the bubbles that I'm seeing actually...
  27. K

    Why does candyfloss absorb more moisture faster than grain sugar?

    Does it have to do with sucrose decompose into glucose and fructose or surface area? Caramelization occurs when sugar start to melt, so does it have to do with caramelization?
  28. L

    Sugar content of ripening fruit

    I noticed my plantains get sweeter as they get more ripe. When they're green, they're not sweet at all. When they're black, they're pretty sweet. So what's happening? Are some molecules being converted to sugar? Like, for example, complex carbs being converted to simple carbs? If so, does that...
  29. Greg Bernhardt

    Is sugar a dangerous drug? This guy thinks so.

    Sugar, the most dangerous drug of this time Some analysis/commentary http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/10314705/Sugar-is-addictive-and-the-most-dangerous-drug-of-the-times.html Original statement...
  30. C

    Calculating Sugar Poured in Tea: A Fun High School Math Problem

    So in advance I know that this has little practical application, but it was a fun math problem for a high school student. Earlier today I was bored and made myself a cup of tea. I poured some sugar in and thought to myself, "Given the height of the sugar glass (with a circular hole) from the...
  31. M

    Preservation of Sugar Feedstock for Bioethanol/Animal Feed

    Hi, I've been doing some research on how to preserve sugar based feedstock such as sap, syrup, juice, etc to be used later for bioethanol production or animal feed. Sugar feedstock derived from sugar crops spoil very quickly due to presence of airborne yeast and bacteria. We have looked at...
  32. M

    Using ethelyne gas to convert starch to sugar

    It is commonly known in the fruit industry that ethylene gas is widely used to boost a fruit's ripeness. i.e. fruits are harvested when they are still unripened, but prior to selling them on the market, they are exposed to a dose of ethylene gas, which are fruit's hormones to convert its...
  33. dkotschessaa

    Atkins diet, blood sugar, and weight loss

    I have and as I said, I am on some version of the diet myself, though not for weight loss purposes. In rankings of Diets *generally* Atkins rates very low. The weight loss effects from Atkins are mostly due to the fact that carb restriction is a good way to lower calories. So it amounts to a...
  34. Z

    Troubleshooting Sugar Silo Bridges: An Apprentice's Project Experience

    Hi I'm an apprentice at a food company in my second year. I have to do a project at college and I've found a problems that we've had for a long time. The sugar silos bridge. My understanding of when sugar bridges is that because of the weight of the sugar is constantly pushing downwards...
  35. J

    Why is Wine a Solvent but Sugar is Not?

    Why is wine a solvent but sugar is not?
  36. Q_Goest

    Why doesn't sugar grow mold in dry form?

    Ok, here's a quick question (or maybe not so quick). I was making coffee this morning and brought supplies into work, one of which is sugar. The last bag of sugar is almost gone and has been sitting here for quite a few months now, but it's still just as clean and pure as the day I brought it...
  37. K

    A 137 g rat enters a kitchen and eats 5 sugar (sucrose) cubes each

    A 137 g rat enters a kitchen and eats 5 sugar (sucrose) cubes each weighing 2.5 g. The sugar is rapidly metabolized aerobically to CO2 and H20. Assuming the only weight loss for the rat is the loss of CO2 gas (water is retained) how many grams does the rat weigh once the sugar is metabolized...
  38. M

    Remove sugar from industrial wastewater

    Good evening everyone! I am new to this forum, nice to know any member in this forum ^^ I have a question here which I can't figure out how to solve a problem. Recently, I have been asked about the water filtration system in a factory which produce sweets. The sugar can't be removed from the...
  39. Phrak

    Sugar Mixture: Eutectic Potential and Effects

    Does a mixture of sugars have a Eutectic?
  40. B

    How much H.P for a sugar cane crusher?

    Hi there I'm new to this form Want to ask that , how much power in H.P will be sufficient to crush medium size (1 inch in dia) sugar cane stalk by the miniature sugar cane crusher for home use.The roller of the crusher will have a size of 6 inch in length and 3 inch in dia. the rollers will be...
  41. T

    What will sugar dissolve in besides water?

    Well, the tittle says it all. Other than water, what will dissolve ordinary white crystalized table sugar. Specifically something that would evaporate and leave behind the sugar as a residue. Also something that is reasonably safe to handle.
  42. Z

    Is it important that I use crystal sugar from the same source in my experiment?

    Is it at all possible for the crystal sugar from one package to be qualitatively different from crystal sugar from another package (brand, etc.)? In other words, if I need sucrose for an experiment, could it affect the results if I use crystal sugar from different packages or of different...
  43. C

    How Does Optical Activity Help Measure Sugar Concentration?

    Homework Statement The sugar concentration in a solution (e.g., in a urine specimen) can be measured conveniently by using the optical activity of sugar and other asymmetric molecules. In general, an optically active molecule, like sugar, will rotate the plane of polarization through an angle...
  44. E

    How big should sugar crystals get?

    Should it grow indefinitely ?(assuming you have a permanently super-saturated solution) Or does it stop growing when it reaches a certain mass or something ? If so why ? Also, has anyone had success in growing huge sugar/sucrose crystals (if yes, then would you please post up some...
  45. K

    Polarization of light through a sugar solution

    Homework Statement A glass vessel is placed between a pair of crossed HN-50 linear polarizers, and 50% of the natural light incident on the first polarizer is transmitted through the second polarizer. By how much did the sugar solution in the cell rotate the light passed by the first...
  46. Siv

    Medical Rise of Cancer: Examining the Role of Sugar and Refined Carbs

    I think evidence is increasingly suggesting that an explosion of sugar, HFCS and refined carb consumption has led to the huge increase in incidence of cancer in the past few decades.
  47. L

    Begining Linear Algebra Fruit and sugar problem

    Homework Statement Pablo is a nutritionist who knows that oranges always have twice as much sugar as apples. When considering the sugar intake of schoolchildren eating a barrel of fruit, he represents the barrel like so: sugar fruit (s; f) There is a graph that has a 3/2 slope start from...
  48. H

    Differential Equations mixing sugar and water

    Homework Statement A tank contains 2860 L of pure water. A solution that contains 0.04 kg of sugar per liter enters a tank at the rate 5 L/min The solution is mixed and drains from the tank at the same rate. Find the amount of sugar in the tank after t minutes. Homework Equations...
  49. T

    Why is too much sugar bad for us?

    These days there's a lot of hype about cutting down on sugar in your diet, and there's all those GDAs and advice about how to reduce your sugar intake, etc, but I can't really find much information about why sugar is bad for you. It seems, from what I've found online, that pretty much the only...