Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How To Understand Sucrose, Glucose and Fructose - February 6th, 2013

Although they are all sweet, not all sugars are created equally. The body can tell the difference between sugars such as sucrose, glucose and fructose, and one sugar is not as healthy for the body as the others, according to "Time" magazine. Sucrose is the common form of table sugar and is the most abundant pure organic compound. It is harvested from sugar cane or sugar beets. Glucose is the breakdown product of ingested carbohydrates and the form of sugar that the body uses for energy. Fructose is the type of sugar naturally found in fruits and is the sweetest of the naturally occurring sugars.

Step 1

Understand the structure of sugars. Sucrose is a disaccharide, meaning it contains two simple sugars, composed of one molecule of glucose bound to one molecule of fructose linked together in a long chain at a ratio of 1:1, according to Glucose is a monosaccharide, or simple sugar, which the cells of the body use for energy. Fructose, also a monosaccharide, is an isomer of glucose, meaning it has the same chemical formula, but in a different structure.

Step 2

Learn where sucrose, glucose and fructose are found. Sucrose is table sugar and is sold as raw sugar, granulated sugar, confectioner's sugar, brown sugar and turbinado sugar, which is an unrefined sugar made from sugar cane juice, according to MedlinePlus. Glucose, also known as dextrose, is a component of complex carbohydrates, or starches, which break down into glucose during digestion. Fructose does not often occur alone in nature, but is typically found in combination with glucose or sucrose in fruits and vegetables, including honey, oranges, berries, sweet potatoes and onions, according to EUFIC.

Step 3

Understand the health effects of sugars. Sugar provides calories, but has no inherent nutritional value. Glucose is considered the healthiest sugar because it is what the body uses for fuel, but glucose by itself is not used as a sweetener in processed foods. It is generally used attached to sucrose, or more often attached to fructose to form high-fructose corn syrup. Ingesting large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup has been shown to lead to an increased risk of becoming obese and developing heart disease and diabetes, according to the "Journal of Clinical Investigation."

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