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Sugars, 12 different types

There are a dozen sugars that we usually consume. To distinguish them is not only the sweetness

The term 'sugar' is commonly associated with sucrose. Whether it is beet or cane sugar, more or less refined, it is always sucrose. But the sugars present in our foods are at least a dozen.

The sweetness of simple sugars

The sweet taste is typical of simple sugars, which unlike complex ones are quickly absorbed by the body. They are distinguished in

- monosaccharides, such as glucose and fructose,

- oligosaccharides, such as sucrose, lactose and maltose.

All simple sugars provide 4 kcal per gram. On the other hand, the sweetening power (greater or less than that of sucrose, to which the value 1 is attributed) and the glycemic index vary.

Sugars Sweetening power Average glycemic index
Glucose (dextrose) 0,6 100
Fructose 1,3 20
Sucrose 1 65
Lactose 0,2 45
Maltose 0,4 150

That sweet dozen

Unlike the sweeteners, classified as additives e so labeled, sugars are real foods. They therefore appear with their name in the ingredients list of foods, where they are entered as ingredients.

- most used sugars from the food industry are a dozen. Knowing its characteristics can help you understand the value of the product and make informed purchasing decisions. These include some products rarely offered on retail shelves, but often found in packaged foods. This is the case with HFCS corn syrup, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, indicated by some scientific researches as favoring obesity as well as object in the USA of a tough legal battle between the sugar industry and the corn industry.

Regarding the sweetening power, the sugars that come closest to the level of sucrose (refined white or cane sugar) are coconut sugar, agave syrup and apple sugar. On the other hand, fructose is much sweeter. The reason for this discrepancy is easily understood by crossing the two factors - the sugar composition and the purity in sugars, which also determine the caloric value of each sugar.

Sugar on the market Origin Sugar composition Purity in sugars Calories / g Sweetening power
Crystalline fructose Cereals Fructose 100 4 1,3
Refined sucrose Chard or cane Sucrose 100 4 1
Crude sucrose Cane Sucrose 98 4 1
Coconut sugar Coconut 90% sucrose,

10% fructose / dextrose

100 4 1
Agave syrup Agave Fructose from inulin 75 3 1
Apple sugar Apple Fructose, sucrose, dextrose, sorbitol 70 2,8 1
Honey Honey 90% dextrose / fructose, sucrose 80 3,2 0,8
HFCS (corn syrup) Cereals 45% glucose, 55% fructose 75 3 0,7
Molasses Cane 60% sucrose, 40% fructose / dextrose 75 3 0,7
Maple syrup Maple 95% sucrose, 5% fructose / dextrose 65 2,6 0,7
Crystalline dextrose Cereals Dextrose 100 4 0,6
Rice sugar Rice Dextrose, maltose 75 3 0,5

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Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".

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