Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates.

Simple sugars, also called monosaccharides, include glucose, fructose, and galactose. 

Compound sugars, also called disaccharides or double sugars, are molecules made of two monosaccharides joined by a glycosidic bond. 

Sucrose (glucose + fructose), 

Lactose (glucose + galactose), 

Maltose (two molecules of glucose). 

Table sugar, granulated sugar, and regular sugar refer to sucrose, a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose. 

In the body, compound sugars are hydrolysed into simple sugars.

Sugars: white refined, unrefined, unprocessed cane, and brown.

Longer chains of monosaccharides (>2) 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. 

Sugars are found in the tissues of most plants. 

Honey and fruit are abundant natural sources of simple sugars. 

Sucrose is especially concentrated in sugarcane and sugar beet, making them ideal for efficient commercial extraction to make refined sugar. 

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that belongs to a class of chemically related sweet-tasting substances.

The three main types of sugar are sucrose, lactose, and fructose.

Even though cells need glucose to survive, consuming too much can cause health problems.

Added sugars contribute zero nutrients and are empty calories that can lead to extra pounds, or even obesity, thereby reducing heart health.

WHO guidelines recommending that adults and children reduce their intake of added sugars to less than 10 percent of their total energy intake. 

A further reduction to below 5 percent is associated with additional health benefits.

Maltose may be produced by malting grain. 

Lactose is the only sugar that cannot be extracted from plants. 

Lactose can only be found in milk, including human breast milk, and in some dairy products. 

An inexpensive source of sugar is corn syrup, produced by converting corn starch into sugars, such as maltose, fructose and glucose.

Sucrose is used in prepared foods, cookies and cakes, is added to commercially available processed food and beverages, and may be used by people as a sweetener for foods and beverages.

 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).

Excessive consumption of sugar has associated with the onset of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and tooth decay. 

World Health Organization recommends 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.

Sugar loosely refers to a number of carbohydrates, such as monosaccharides, disaccharides, or oligosaccharides. 

Monosaccharides are simple sugars, the most important being glucose. 

The names of typical sugars end with -ose: glucose and fructose.

Monosaccharides can form glycosidic bonds with other monosaccharides, creating disaccharides, such as sucrose and polysaccharides, such as starch.

Enzymes must hydrolyze/break these glycosidic bonds before such compounds become metabolized. 

After digestion and absorption the principal monosaccharides present in the blood and internal tissues include glucose, fructose, and galactose. 

Monosaccharides may be further converted into structural polysaccharides such as cellulose and pectin for cell wall construction or into energy reserves in the form of storage polysaccharides such as starch or inulin.

Starch, consisting of two different polymers of glucose, is a readily degradable form of chemical energy stored by cells, and can be converted to other types of energy.

Cellulose is another polymer of glucose, which is a linear chain composed of several hundred or thousand glucose units. 

It is used by plants as a structural component in their cell walls. 

People can digest cellulose only to a very limited extent.

DNA and RNA are built up of the monosaccharides deoxyribose and ribose, respectively. 

Sucrose is the most common free sugar.

Sugars burn easily when exposed to flame, the handling of sugars risks dust explosion. 

Exposing sugar to heat causes caramelization. 

As the process occurs, volatile chemicals such as diacetyl are released, producing the characteristic caramel flavor.

Fructose, galactose, and glucose are all simple sugars, monosaccharides, with the general formula C6H12O6. 

Simple sugars have five hydroxyl groups (−OH) and a carbonyl group (C=O) and are cyclic when dissolved in water. 

Simple sugars each exist as several isomers with dextro- and laevo-rotatory forms that cause polarized light to diverge to the right or the left.

Fructose, or fruit sugar, occurs naturally in fruits, some root vegetables, cane sugar and honey and is the sweetest of the sugars. 

It is one of the components of sucrose or table sugar. 

It is used as a high-fructose syrup, which is manufactured from hydrolyzed corn starch that has been processed to yield corn syrup, with enzymes then added to convert part of the glucose into fructose.

Galactose generally does not occur in the free state.

Galactose is a constituent with glucose of the disaccharide lactose or milk sugar. 

It is less sweet than glucose. 

Galactose IS  a component of the antigens found on the surface of red blood cells that determine blood groups.

Glucose occurs naturally in fruits and plant juices and is the primary product of photosynthesis. 

Starch is converted into glucose during digestion, and glucose is the form of sugar that is transported around the body in the bloodstream. 

Naturally occurring glucose is D-glucose, called dextrose, or grape sugar because drying grape juice produces crystals of dextrose that can be sieved from the other components.

Glucose syrup is a liquid form of glucose that is widely used in the manufacture of foodstuffs. 

Glucose syrup can be manufactured from starch by enzymatic hydrolysis.

Corn syrup, which is produced commercially by breaking down maize starch, is one common source of purified dextrose.

However, dextrose is naturally present in many unprocessed, whole foods, including honey and fruits such as grapes.

Lactose, maltose, and sucrose are all compound sugars, disaccharides, with the general formula.

Disaccharides are formed by the combination of two monosaccharide molecules with the exclusion of a molecule of water.

Lactose is the naturally occurring sugar found in milk. 

A molecule of lactose is formed by the combination of a molecule of galactose with a molecule of glucose. 

It is broken down when consumed into its constituent parts by the enzyme lactase during digestion. 

Children have this enzyme but some adults no longer form it and they are unable to digest lactose.

Maltose is formed during the germination of certain grains, the most notable being barley, which is converted into malt, the source of the sugar’s name. 

A molecule of maltose is formed by the combination of two molecules of glucose. 

It is less sweet than glucose, fructose or sucrose.

Maltose is formed in the body during the digestion of starch by the enzyme amylase and is itself broken down during digestion by the enzyme maltase.

Sucrose is found in the stems of sugarcane and roots of sugar beet. 

It also occurs naturally alongside fructose and glucose in other plants, in particular fruits and some roots such as carrots. 

The different proportions of sugars found in these foods determines the range of sweetness experienced when eating them.

A molecule of sucrose is formed by the combination of a molecule of glucose with a molecule of fructose. 

After being eaten, sucrose is split into its constituent parts during digestion by a number of enzymes known as sucrases.

The fructose to fructose plus glucose ratio is calculated by including the fructose and glucose coming from the sucrose.

Men should eat no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day and women no more than 6.

Chocolate bars, sweet cereals, and soda often contain high levels of added sugar.

Fruits contain natural sugars that are less harmful than the sugar found in processed food.

Regularly consuming too much sugar increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

It is estimated that the average person in the United States consumes around 19.5 teaspoons, or 82 grams (g) of sugar, per day. 

That is over double the amount recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA), which is 9 teaspoons per day for men and 6 teaspoons for women.

The three main types of sugar are sucrose, lactose, and fructose.

The AHA says that added sugars contribute zero nutrients and are empty calories.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults and children reduce their intake of added sugars to less than 10 percent of their total energy intake, and a reduction to below 5 percentTrusted Source is associated with additional health benefits.

Free sugars refers to any glucose, fructose, and sucrose added to foods and drinks, as well as the sugars that occur naturally in syrups, honey, and fruit juice. 

Free sugar terminology does not apply to the natural sugars found in fresh fruit, vegetables, or milk because there is no evidence linking these sugars to health problems.

A single teaspoon of sugar is around 4 g. 

The AHA recommendation for daily added sugar intake, 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men, is equal to 24 g and 36 g of added sugar, respectively.

Sugar content of fruits:

Mangos: 2.77 teaspoons of sugar.

Bananas: 2.48 teaspoons of sugar.

Apples: 2.11 teaspoons of sugar.

Pineapples: 2 teaspoons of sugar.

Grapes: 3.14 teaspoons of sugar.

Lemons: 0.5 teaspoons of sugar.

Kiwi fruit: 1.82 teaspoons of sugar.

Apricots: 1.87 teaspoons of sugar.

Chocolate bars

Snickers bar (57 g): 5.83 teaspoons of sugar

Milky Way bar (58 g): 7.02 teaspoons of sugar

3 Musketeers bar (60 g): 8.14 teaspoons of sugar

Butterfinger bar (60 g): 5.58 teaspoons of sugar

Dove chocolate bar (37 g): 4.16 teaspoons of sugar

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar (43 g): 4.87 teaspoons of sugar

Twix bar (57 g): 5.68 teaspoons of sugar

Milk chocolate M&M’s packet (42 g): 5.68 teaspoons of sugar

Soft drinks

Drinking fizzy, sugary beverages can end up contributing most of  daily sugar intake.

Coca-Cola (one can, 330 ml): 7.25 teaspoons of sugar

Red Bull (one can): 5.35 teaspoons of sugar

Sprite (one can): 7.61 teaspoons of sugar

Old Jamaica Ginger Beer (one can): 10.18 teaspoons of sugar

Sugar cane crop is harvested and the juice extracted with water or extracted by diffusion.

The juice is heated and the resulting thin syrup is concentrated in a

supersaturated solution seeded with sugar crystals, facilitating crystal formation and drying.

Molasses is a by-product of the process and the fiber from the stems, bagasse, is burned to provide energy for the sugar extraction process. 

The crystals of raw sugar have a sticky brown coating and either can be used as they are, can be bleached by sulfur dioxide, or can be treated in a carbonatation process to produce a whiter product.

About 660 US gal. of irrigation water is needed for every one kilogram of sugar produced.

The sugar beet is a biennial plant, whose tuberous root contains a high proportion of sucrose. 

Sugar is  extracted by diffusion, milk of lime is added to the raw juice with calcium carbonate, the water is evaporated, the syrup is cooled and seeded with sugar crystals.

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. 

Raw sugar can be consumed, the refining process removes unwanted tastes and results in refined sugar or white sugar.

Refined sugar is widely used for industrial needs for higher quality. 

Refined sugar is purer than raw sugar.

Coarse-grain sugar is composed of reflective crystals with grain size of about 1 to 3 mm, similar to kitchen salt,and is ued in baked products and candies, as it does not dissolve when subjected to heat and moisture.

Granulated sugar has 0.6 mm crystals, and is also known as table sugar or regular sugar, is used at the table, to sprinkle on foods and to sweeten hot drinks, in home baking to add sweetness and texture to baked products and desserts.

Granulated sugar is also used as a preservative to prevent micro-organisms from growing and perishable food from spoiling, as in candied fruits, jams, and marmalades.

Milled sugars, ground to a fine powder are used for dusting foods and in baking and confectionery.

Powdered sugar, also known as confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar, available in varying degrees of fineness.

Snow powder, a non-melting form of powdered sugar usually consisting of glucose, rather than sucrose.

Screened sugars are crystalline products separated according to the size of the grains, used for decorative table sugars, for blending in dry mixes and in baking and confectionery.

Sugar cubes are white or brown granulated sugars lightly steamed and pressed together in block shape, used to sweeten drinks.

Brown sugars are granulated sugars.

Brown sugars contain residual molasses, or with the grains deliberately coated with molasses to produce a light- or dark-colored sugar. 

Brown sugars are used in baked goods, confectionery, and toffees.

Brown sugar darkness is due to the amount of molasses they contain.

Honey, mainly contains unbound molecules of fructose and glucose, is a viscous liquid produced by bees by digesting floral nectar.

Syrups are thick, viscous liquids consisting primarily of a solution of sugar in water, and are used in the food processing of a wide range of products including beverages, hard candy, ice cream, and jams.

Syrups made by dissolving granulated sugar in water is  referred to as liquid sugar. 

A liquid sugar containing 50% sugar50% water is called simple syrup.

Syrups can also be made by reducing naturally sweet juices such as cane juice, or maple sap.

Corn syrup is made by converting corn starch to sugars of mainly maltose and glucose.

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), is produced by further processing corn syrup to convert some of its glucose into fructose.

Inverted sugar syrup, is a mixture of two simple sugars—glucose and fructose—that is made by heating granulated sugar in water. 

It is used in breads, cakes, and beverages for adjusting sweetness, aiding moisture retention and avoiding crystallization of sugars.

Molasses is obtained by removing sugar from sugarcane or sugar beet juice, as a byproduct of sugar production. 

It  may be blended with  syrups to enhance sweetness and used in a range of baked goods and confectionery including toffees and licorice.

In winemaking, fruit sugars are converted into alcohol by a fermentation process. 

In the production of sweet wines, fermentation may be halted before it has run its full course, leaving behind some residual sugar that gives the wine its sweet taste.

Low-calorie sweeteners are often made of maltodextrin with added sweeteners. 

Maltodextrin is a digestible synthetic polysaccharide consisting of short chains of three or more glucose molecules and is made by the partial hydrolysis of starch.

It is not classified as sugar as it contains more than two glucose molecules, although its structure is similar to maltose, a molecule composed of two joined glucose molecules.

Polyols are sugar alcohols and are used in chewing gums where a sweet flavor is required that lasts for a prolonged time in the mouth.

Several different kinds of zero-calorie artificial sweeteners may be also used as sugar substitutes.

Sugar is an important part of the human diet, making food more palatable and providing food energy. 

After cereals and vegetable oils, sugar derived from sugarcane and beet provided more kilocalories per capita per day on average than other food groups.

Sugar (sucrose), brown (with molasses)

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)


1,576 kJ (377 kcal)


97.33 g


96.21 g

Dietary fiber

0 g


0 g


0 g


Quantity %DV†

Thiamine (B1)

1% 0.008 mg

Riboflavin (B2)

1% 0.007 mg

Niacin (B3)

1% 0.082 mg

Vitamin B6

2% 0.026 mg

Folate (B9)

0% 1 μg


Quantity %DV†


9% 85 mg


15% 1.91 mg


8% 29 mg


3% 22 mg


3% 133 mg


3% 39 mg


2% 0.18 mg


1.77 g

Sugar (sucrose), granulated

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)


1,619 kJ (387 kcal)


99.98 g


99.91 g

Dietary fiber

0 g


0 g


0 g


Quantity %DV†

Riboflavin (B2)

2% 0.019 mg


Quantity %DV†


0% 1 mg


0% 0.01 mg


0% 2 mg



0.03 g

Brown and white granulated sugar are 97% to nearly 100% carbohydrates, respectively, with less than 2% water, and no dietary fiber, protein or fat.

Brown sugar contains a moderate amount of iron (15% of the Reference Daily Intake in a 100 gram amount) but a typical serving of 4 grams or one teaspoon, would provide 15 calories and a negligible amount of iron or any other nutrient.

Because brown sugar contains 5–10% molasses reintroduced during processing, its value to some consumers is a richer flavor than white sugar.

Evidence exists that high intake of sugary drinks, including fruit juice, increased the risk of obesity by adding to overall energy intake.

Sugar, by itself is not a factor causing obesity and metabolic syndrome, but when over-consumed it is a component of unhealthy dietary behavior.

Meta-analyses showed that excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome,  weight gain and obesity  in adults and children.

A meta-analysis found that sugar consumption does not improve mood, but can lower alertness and increase fatigue within an hour of consumption.

There is a suggestion of causality between high consumption of refined sugar and hyperactivity.

Studies of children consuming high amounts of energy drinks showed association with higher rates of unhealthy behaviors, including smoking and excessive alcohol use, and with hyperactivity and insomnia.

Sugar is  the most important dietary factor in the development of dental caries: the incidence of caries is lower when sugar intake is less than 10% of total energy consumed.

A diet high in added sugar will reduce consumption of foods that contain essential nutrients, such nutrient displacement occurs if sugar makes up more than 25% of daily energy intake.

The World Health Organization recommends that both adults and children reduce the intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake, and suggests a reduction to below 5%. 

Free sugars include monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods, and sugars found in fruit juice and concentrates, as well as in honey and syrups. 

World Health Organization guidance for added sugars guidance is that 100% DV should not be exceeded. 

100% DV is defined as 50 grams. 

For a person consuming 2000 calories a day, 50 grams is equal to 200 calories and thus 10% of total calories.

Most 355 mL (12 US fl oz) cans of soda contain 39 grams of sugar. 

For men and women aged 20 and older, the average total sugar intakes—naturally occurring in foods and added—were, respectively, 125 and 99 g/day.

Sugar measurements:

Beet sugar 0.80 g/mL

Dextrose sugar 0.62 g/mL ( = 620 kg/m^3)

Granulated sugar 0.70 g/mL

Powdered sugar 0.56 g/mL

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