18 September 2012

Wellness: Types of Sugar

Glucose
Aka dextrose.
This is the main blood sugar; your number one energy source.
Found in fruits, vegetable starches

Fructose
Good for controlled diabetics.
Found in fruits, juices, honey

Sucrose
Aka table sugar.
Most abundant sugar in plants, but when it is refined it contains no nutrients.

Maltose
Malt sugar.

Lactose
Milk sugar.

Raw Sugar
Partially refined sucrose, which means dirt and plant debris remain with some trace minerals.

Brown Sugar
Table sugar with a molasses coating.

Powdered Sugar
Table sugar turned in to fine crystals with a small amount of starch added to avoid caking.

Molasses
The result after crystals of sugar are removed from beet juice or sugar cane; contains a variety of sugars.
Blackstrap molasses contains measurable amounts of trace minerals, including calcium (14% of DRI*) and iron (28% of DRI), in one tablespoon.

Maple Sugar
Sucrose made from boiling maple sap.

Honey
Natural syrup made of fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose.
It can increase blood sugar levels higher than sucrose (table sugar) would.

Corn Syrup
Derived from corn starch; made up of glucose and maltose.

High Fructose Corn Syrup
Also made from corn starch, with fructose  content increased by enzymes; sweeter than sucrose; used in almost all regular soft drinks.

Sorbitol, Mannitol, and Xylitol
Synthetic products, sugar alcohols; more slowly absorbed than glucose and cause decreased insulin response than glucose and sucrose.
A laxative for sensitive people.
Cannot be used in great quantity.

All sugar:
Is 4 calories per gram.
Except for molasses (and maple sugar and honey to a lesser degree), they have no nutritional value.  Whatever was present naturally was lost in processing.
Negative effects are all the same regardless of which sugar you consume.

Molasses, honey, and maple syrup help keep food fresher longer, so they work well as a refined sugar substitute.


*DRI = Daily Recommended Intake

References
Gittleman, A. L. (2004). Super nutrition for women (Rev. ed.). New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books.

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