Sugars are carbohydrates that provide an important source of the energy we all need to go about our daily lives. The most common sugar in the body is glucose, which your brain, major organs and muscles need to function properly.
Some sugars are found naturally in foods while others are used during food processing and cooking. These are the most common sugars you may come across:
- Sucrose: Often called table sugar, sucrose is a natural ingredient that has been part of our diet for thousands of years. Made up from glucose and fructose, it is extracted from sugar cane or sugar beet and is also naturally present in most fruits and vegetables.
- Fructose and glucose: Found in fruits, vegetables and honey.
- Lactose: Commonly called milk sugar because it is found in milk and dairy products.
- Maltose: Made from grains, it is found in malted drinks and beer.
The body does not distinguish between the different types of sugars and breaks them down in the same way. For example, the sucrose in an apple is broken down in exactly the same way as the sucrose in your sugar bowl.
Apart from fibre, sugar has no more calories than any other ingredient on a gram-for-gram basis. Sugar has four calories per gram, which compares to four calories for protein, nine calories for fat, and seven calories for alcohol.
To find out more information on the role sugar can play as part of a healthy balanced diet, why not take a look at Making Sense of Sugar. This website aims to help educate people about sugar, based on robust science and facts. You can learn more about the different types of sugars and how they are used, access simple guidance and tips on how to identify sugars within foodstuffs, and much more