What is Sugar?
What is Sugar?
It depends on which form you are talking about. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia on the Internet defines the sugars as follows:
(1) Sugar is the generic name for sweet, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. There are various types of sugar derived from different sources. Simple sugars are called mono-saccharides and include glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose, and galactose. The "table sugar" or "granulated sugar" most customarily used as food is sucrose, a disaccharide of glucose and fructose. Sugar is used in prepared foods (e.g., cookies and cakes) and it is added to some foods and beverages (e.g., coffee and tea). In the body, sucrose is hydrolyzed into the simple sugars fructose and glucose. Other disaccharides include maltose from malted grain, and lactose from milk. Longer chains of sugars are called oligosaccharides or polysaccharides. Some other chemical substances, such as glycerol may also have a sweet taste, but are not classified as sugars. Diet food substitutes for sugar, include aspartame and sucralose, a chlorinated derivative of sucrose
(2) Sugars are found in the tissues of most plants and are present in sugarcane and sugar beet in sufficient concentrations for efficient commercial extraction. The world production of sugar in 2011 was about 168 million tons. The average person consumes about 24 kilograms (53 lb) of sugar each year (33.1 kg in developed countries), equivalent to over 260 food calories per person, per day. Since the latter part of the twentieth century, it has been questioned whether a diet high in sugars, especially refined sugars, is good for human health. Over-consumption of sugar has been implicated in the occurrence of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and tooth decay. Numerous studies have been undertaken to try to clarify the position, but with varying results, mainly because of the difficulty of finding populations for use as controls that do not consume or are largely free of any sugar consumption. (end of Wikipedia quote)
Number (1) as defined above includes denatured sugars/unnatural sugars. Number (2) partially defines the type of sugar as found in Nature, typically plants. Neither of the definitions make the distinction that one is natural and the other is unnatural, a point of view that is important and rarely made. (Lifestar comment)
See also: Sugar refinery
Refined sugar is made from raw sugar that has undergone a refining process to remove the molasses. Raw sugar is sucrose which is extracted from sugarcane or sugar beet. While raw sugar can be consumed, the refining process removes unwanted tastes and results in refined sugar or white sugar.
The sugar may be transported in bulk to the country where it will be used and the refining process often takes place there. The first stage is known as affination and involves immersing the sugar crystals in a concentrated syrup that softens and removes the sticky brown is achieved by using either a granular activated carbon or an ion-exchange resin.
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