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Archive for Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Here’s a breakdown on sugar

November 3, 2004

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What is fructose?


Fructose is a monosaccharide, or single sugar, that has the same chemical formula as glucose but a different molecular structure. Sometimes called fruit sugar, fructose is found in fruit, some vegetables, honey and other plants.
Glucose is the main source of energy for the body because most complex sugars and carbohydrates break down into glucose during digestion. Starches contain many single sugar units linked together.
The various sugars perform different functions in the body, but they are all carbohydrates, an important source of energy.

What is sucrose?

Sucrose is a disaccharide (two monosaccharides linked together) that contains equal parts of glucose and fructose. Known as table or white sugar, sucrose is found naturally in sugar cane and sugar beets.

What is high fructose corn syrup?

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a liquid sweetener used in the manufacture of foods and beverages. In the late 1960s scientists developed an enzymatic process that transforms dextrose (glucose) from corn meal into a mixture of fructose and glucose. The most common form (70 percent in food supply) is HFCS-55, which contains 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose.

Does sugar cause obesity?

Excess body fat results when people do not balance their energy (caloric) input with energy output. Extra calories may come from any caloric nutrient -- proteins, fats, alcohol and carbohydrates including starches and sugars.

What are considered "added sugars"?

Added sugars are sugars and syrups added to foods in processing or preparation, not the naturally occurring sugars in foods like fruit or milk. The body cannot tell the difference between naturally occurring and added sugars because they are identical chemically.
Foods containing added sugars provide calories, but may have few vitamins and minerals.
In the United States, the No. 1 source of added sugars is nondiet soft drinks. Other major sources of added sugars in the United States are: cakes, cookies, pies; fruitades and drinks such as fruit punch and lemonade; dairy desserts such as ice cream; and candy.
Some foods with added sugars also may be high in vitamins and minerals. However, these foods may provide extra calories along with the nutrients.
When shopping, you may want to consider a lower sugar alternative. For example, applesauce with added sugar contains 22 grams of sugar, but unsweetened applesauce contains half that amount.
Added sugars made up 11 percent of calories in American diets in the late 1970s, they now are 16 percent overall and 20 percent for teenagers.

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