Sugar is a common food ingredient. It comes in many different forms and varieties, including granulated, powdered, brown, raw, crystallized, liquid (see section below). Sugar is often considered a staple.
Sugar and healthEdit
Many people debate the health effects of sugar. Most of the time when we discuss "sugar", we're referring to refined sugar. This is the sugar that's added to foods rather than the sugar naturally occurring in food. Your body needs sugar; cells use it for energy. But, your body can turn other forms of carbohydrates and complex sugars into the energy it needs, and many people think that is healthier than consuming simple sugars. Articles on the Internet often make claims without any reputable references.
There are 4 calories in a gram of sugar, 15 in a teaspoon, 45 in a tablespoon or 774 in a cup of sugar.
Kinds of sugarEdit
Refined sugar comes in a variety of formats:
- table sugar
- white, granulated (refined from beets or cane)
- castor sugar, superfine sugar, ultra fine and bar sugar ("extra",more finely or smaller granulated)
- brown, turbinado, demerara, sugar in the raw or raw (sugar with some of the molasses left in or added back, light or dark, depending on how much molasses is left in; demerara is also a larger or coarser granual; really raw sugar can have bacteria and some other contaminants, so it's not legal in some places)
- confectioners' sugar, icing sugar, powdered (white) - granulated sugar mixed with a small amount of cornstarch and crushed into a powder
- beet sugar
- cane sugar
- evaporated cane juice
- decorating, sanding or coarse sugar - granulated, larger granuals, sometimes with a bit of food coloring
- fructose - as it sounds, the sugar found primarily in fruits, the sweetest form of sugar
- high fructose corn syrup
- fruit juice concentrate
- corn sweetener
- corn sugar
- grape sugar
- invert sugar
- maltose - sugar from malt (two forms: diastatic, and non diastatic)
- lactose - sugar from milk, the least sweet sugar
Some of these are common household ingredients; while others will primarily be found as ingredients in commercially prepared foods. Sugar-rich ingredients used primarily to sweeten include honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, treacle, molasses, karo syrup, sorghum syrup and Stevia.
Then there are other, artificial substances, that are used instead of sugar to sweeten foods. Some people experience side effects from the substitutes. In some places and times, use of some of the substitutes have been banned or restricted. Common substitutes include saccharine, aspartame, sucralose.
Licorice is also a natural sweetener that adds no calories.
In baking, sugar is usually treated as a liquid. It will melt into a liquid at hotter temperatures. In most recipes, sugar is mixed into the other liquids rather than the "dry" ingredients. And then the dry ingredients are gradually added to the liquids.
A phrase much coined from the Walt Disney movie Mary Poppins: "a spoon of sugar helps the medicine go down" is an expression of using sugar to counteract the taste of bitterness found in some medicine. "Sugar-coated" also indicates an emphasis on the sweet or good side of something, and perhaps ignoring the underlying reality. Another old folk phrase is “What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice, and everything nice, that's what little girls are made of”.
- What Are The Different Kinds Of Sugar? on eNotes
- How to Help the Medicine Go Down on eHow.
- Wikipedia's article on sugar
- Different Kinds of Sugars for Cooking and Baking on HubPages
- NaturalNews.com's collection of articles (some with references, others are opinion articles) on sugar
- WebMD on The Truth About Sugar: Can you get addicted to sugar? Do you need to quit it cold turkey? Here are expert answers. by Katherine Kam, WebMD Feature, reviewed by Jonathan L Gelfand, MD