What exactly is sugar?
We hear about the dangers of sugar and the harms it can do to our body almost daily in the media, but what is sugar?
In its basic form sugar is a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates can be broken down into single carbohydrates (monosaccharides) dual carbohydrates (disaccharides) and starches (polysaccharides)
The basic building blocks for carbohydrates may sound familiar - these are the monosaccharides glucose (dextrose), fructose (levulose), and galactose (milk sugar). These sugars can be combined to make the disaccharides - sucrose (glucose+fructose), Lactose (glucose + galactose), and maltose (glucose + glucose). Any combination of these with ten or more monosaccharides is considered a starch.
Plants make sucrose through photosynthesis from combining sunlight and water. All plants have some level of sucrose, but the two with the most are sugar cane and sugar beets.
As early as 800 BCE we have seen the domestication of sugar cane - it was chewed raw Through the years we see evidence of domesticated sugar used in the medical record, and later through refinement. Processing, or refining results in pure sucrose.
The sugar beet is harvested - washed/soaked/sliced to remove the juices - the juice
is then cleaned to remove impurities and crystallized - the crystals are spun to remove any remaining liquid - once dry it is packaged as we know it and shipped!
The process is slightly different for sugar cane
The sugar cane is harvested - crushed/soaked/squeezed to removed the juices - the juice is then boiled before spinning - this results in a raw sugar
The raw sugar is then taken to a refinery where it is melted - filtered - crystallized - packaged and shipped!
This refined sugar can then be added to water, mixed with molasses, or ground into powder to make the variety of sugars we know today!
This post is intended for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice