Some of the confusion comes from the fact that the word sugar has several different meanings. For the non-sciency types, sugar usually refers to the stuff labeled “sugar” at the grocery store, which is also commonly referred to as table sugar or sucrose. To add even more confusion, table sugar comes in several different varieties with names that change depending on how finely it is ground and/or whether certain things have been added or removed. The most common varieties of sugar are:

 

• Grocery Store Sugar: also known as table sugar or sucrose

• Brown Sugar: table sugar with molasses added

• Powdered Sugar: finely ground table sugar

 

 

sucrose.pngOkay, now that we know that table sugar is the same thing as sucrose, where do all these other names come in?

 

To start with, table sugar (sucrose) is comprised of two separate parts that are “holding hands” (bonded). Each of these separate parts is referred to as a monosaccharide and when two monosaccharaides are bonded together they are referred to as a disaccharide (di- means two). Table sugar (sucrose) is a disaccharide comprised of the two monosaccharaides, called glucose and fructose that have been bonded together.

glucose-frutose-sucrose.png

 

Your body does not have the ability to directly absorb table sugar (sucrose) into the bloodstream, so it must first break the sucrose molecule in half thereby destroying the sucrose molecule and creating one glucose (also known as dextrose) molecule and one fructose molecule. 

sucrose-glucose-fructose.png 

 

It is the presence and absorption of glucose that causes an increase in blood sugar and insulin levels, which we will discuss in more detail next time.


Next Time: Blood Sugar, Carbohydrates, Insulin and Diabetes.