For other uses, see Sugar (disambiguation).For common table sugar, see Sucrose."White sugar" redirects here. For the Joanne Shaw Taylor album, see White Sugar (album).
Sugar, granulated Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) Energy 1,619 kJ (387 kcal) Carbohydrates 99.98 g - Sugars 99.91 g - Dietary fiber 0 g Fat 0 g Protein 0 g Water 0.03 g Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.019 mg (2%) Calcium 1 mg (0%) Iron 0.01 mg (0%) Potassium 2 mg (0%) Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Sugars, brown Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) Energy 1,576 kJ (377 kcal) Carbohydrates 97.33 g - Sugars 96.21 g - Dietary fiber 0 g Fat 0 g Protein 0 g Water 1.77 g Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.008 mg (1%) Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.007 mg (1%) Niacin (vit. B3) 0.082 mg (1%) Vitamin B6 0.026 mg (2%) Folate (vit. B9) 1 μg (0%) Calcium 85 mg (9%) Iron 1.91 mg (15%) Magnesium 29 mg (8%) Phosphorus 22 mg (3%) Potassium 346 mg (7%) Sodium 39 mg (3%) Zinc 0.18 mg (2%) Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Sugar is a term for a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor. In food, sugars refer to all monosaccharides and disaccharides present in food, but excludes polyols, while in its singular form, sugar normally refers to sucrose, which in its fully refined (or free sugar) form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet, though is present in natural form in many carbohydrates. Other free sugars are used in industrial food preparation, but are usually known by more specific names—glucose, fructose or fruit sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc.
Currently, Brazil has the highest per capita production of sugar.
- 1 History
- 2 Etymology
- 3 Human health effects
- 4 Terminology
- 5 Chemistry
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
HistoryMain article: History of sugar
Sugar has been produced in the Indian subcontinent since ancient times. It was not plentiful or cheap in early times—honey 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 and Southeast Asia. Different species likely originated in different locations with Saccharum barberi originating in India and S. edule and S. officinarum coming from New Guinea.
Sugar remained relatively unimportant until the Indians discovered methods of turning sugarcane juice 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 (r. 606–647) in North India, Indian envoys in Tang China taught sugarcane cultivation methods after Emperor Taizong of Tang (r. 626–649) made his interest in sugar known, and China soon established its first sugarcane 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 and China, sugar became a staple of cooking and desserts.
Crusaders brought sugar home with them to Europe after their campaigns in the Holy Land, 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, writing in the late 12th century, described sugar as "very necessary for the use and health of mankind".
In August 1492, Christopher Columbus stopped at La Gomera in the Canary Islands, 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. In processed foods it has increasingly been supplanted by corn syrup.
The etymology reflects the spread of the commodity. The English word "sugar" originates from the Arabic word سكر sukkar, itself derived from Sanskrit शर्करा sharkara. It most probably came to England by way of Italian merchants. The contemporary Italian word is zucchero, whereas the Spanish and Portuguese 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 (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 sugars" 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 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. 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, although the extra calories from consuming large amounts of sugar can lead to obesity, 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).
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 and Malmö University College of 4301 persons, 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 and protein were linked to the good HDL blood fat.
There are links between free sugar consumption and macular degeneration in older age.
In regard to contributions to tooth decay, 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.
The term sugar usually refers to sucrose, which is also called "table sugar" or "saccharose." Sucrose is a white crystalline disaccharide. It is often obtained from sugar cane or sugar beet. Sucrose is the most popular of the various sugars for flavoring, as well as properties (such as mouthfeel, preservation, and texture) of beverages and food.
"Sugar" can also be used to refer to water-soluble crystalline carbohydrates with varying sweetness. Sugars include monosaccharides (e.g., glucose, fructose, galactose), disaccharides (e.g., sucrose, lactose, maltose), trisaccharides, and oligosaccharides, in contrast to complex carbohydrates such as polysaccharides. Corn syrup, dextrose, crystalline fructose, and maltose, 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
- Dextrose sugar 0.62 g/mL
- Granulated sugar 0.70 g/mL
- Powdered sugar 0.56 g/mL
- Beet sugar 0.80 g/mL
The International Commission for Uniform Methods of Sugar Analysis 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.
ChemistryMain article: Carbohydrate
Scientifically, sugar loosely refers to a number of carbohydrates, such as monosaccharides, disaccharides, or oligosaccharides. Monosaccharides are also called "simple sugars," the most important being glucose. Almost all sugars have the formula CnH2nOn (n is between 3 and 7). Glucose has the molecular formula C6H12O6. 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. The acyclic mono- and disaccharides contain either aldehyde groups or ketone groups. These carbon-oxygen 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 bonds 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 or otherwise break these glycosidic bonds before such compounds become metabolised. 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, with less than 0.1% of the molecules in the open-chain form.
Natural polymers of sugars
Biopolymers of sugars are common in nature. Through photosynthesis plants produce glucose, which has the formula C6H12O6, and convert it for storage as an energy reserve in the form of other carbohydrates such as starch, or (as in cane and beet) as sucrose (table sugar). Sucrose has the chemical formula C12H22O11. Starch, consisting of two different polymers of glucose, is a readily degradable chemical energy stored by cells, 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 and deoxyribose. The sugar in DNA is deoxyribose, and has the formula C5H10O4.
- Barley sugar
- Brown sugar
- Holing cane
- List of unrefined sweeteners
- Saccharophilic pathogen
- Sugar alcohol
- Sugar plantations in the Caribbean
- Sugar substitute
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Types of carbohydrates General: Geometry MonosaccharidesAldodiose (Glycolaldehyde)Ketotriose (Dihydroxyacetone) · Aldotriose (Glyceraldehyde)Ketotetrose (Erythrulose) · Aldotetroses (Erythrose, Threose)
Ketopentose (Ribulose, Xylulose)
Aldopentose (Ribose, Arabinose, Xylose, Lyxose)Deoxy sugar (Deoxyribose)Ketoheptose (Sedoheptulose, Mannoheptulose)>7
MultipleOther oligosaccharidesFructooligosaccharide (FOS) · Galactooligosaccharides (GOS) · Mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS)
Glucose/Glucan: Glycogen · Starch (Amylose, Amylopectin) · Cellulose · Dextrin/Dextran · Beta-glucan (Zymosan, Lentinan, Sizofiran) · Maltodextrin
Fructose/Fructan: Inulin · Levan beta 2→6N-Acetylglucosamine: Chitin
biochemical families: prot · nucl · carb (glpr, alco, glys) · lipd (fata/i, phld, strd, gllp, eico) · amac/i · ncbs/i · ttpy/i
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