What is Sugar?

“Sugar is a carbohydrate and it is present in fruit, vegetables, sugarcane and sugar beet plants”

Sugar is pure, it has no additives nor preservatives.

Sugar is a source of energy and is converted into glucose just as sugar from fruit and vegetables is turned into glucose.

The sugar found in your sugar bowl is known as table sugar and in South Africa this is extracted from sugarcane. The more scientific terminology for sugar is sucrose. Sucrose is made up of glucose and fructose which is also found in fruit and vegetables.

There are many different types of sugars such as lactose which is found in milk and dairy products and maltose found in malted drinks and beer.

South Africa produces high quality sugar, and you may find many types on your supermarket shelf. You may be most familiar with white and brown sugar.

Many people may believe that brown sugar is healthier, however nutritionally speaking, brown sugar and white sugar are not much different. Brown and white sugar may taste a little different but they are both sucrose. Both have an energy content of 16.8kJ (4 calories) per gram and are processed in the body in the same way to become glucose.

Once sugarcane is harvested, raw sugar is extracted and then refined first to brown sugar and then white sugar.

Brown sugar gets its distinctive colour from the presence of molasses which is removed during the production of white sugar. Because of its molasses content, brown sugar does contain certain trace minerals, most notably calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium. White sugar contains none of these. As these minerals are present in only minute quantities, there is no real health benefit to using brown sugar over white. The real differences between the two are taste and the effects on baked goods. The type of sugar you use should be based on taste preference.

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