Isn’t Sugar Sugar? What’s The Difference?

Sugar Primer

Beet sugar Sucrose produced from sugar beets
Brown sugar White sugar covered with a film of molasses
Coconut sugar A nutrient-dense, low-glycemic sugar made from the sap of coconut flowers
Corn syrup A sweetener made of glucose and water; produced by processing cornstarch to yield glucose.
Fructose Also called fruit sugar; found in fruit, some vegetables, honey, sugar cane, sugar beets, and other plants.
Glucose A sugar used by all living cells for energy
High-Fructose Corn Syrup A man-made liquid sweetener used in foods and beverages; produced by processing cornstarch to yield glucose, then processing that glucose to produce a high percentage of fructose.
Molasses An end product of sugar cane refining.
Raw sugar Also called turbinado sugar; a partially refined sugar extracted from cane juice; usually processed further to yield refined sugar (sucrose) and molasses.
Sucrose (table sugar) Commonly known as sugar and table sugar; a chemical combination of glucose and fructose, refined from sugarcane or sugar beets.

So what’s the bottom line? What does that all mean?

Stick to natural sugars. Avoid high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a sweetener dumped into many foods. Two articles published in a 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggest that HFCS and products containing it may contribute to America’s epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes. When scientists investigated our food consumption patterns over the past 35 years, they discovered that between 1970 and 1990, consumption of HFCS rose by 1,000 percent—a trend that parallels the rise in obesity. Another alarming piece of recent research has revealed that pancreatic tumor cells use fructose to divide and proliferate. That’s the latest word from a team of researchers at UCLA, who published their study in the journal Cancer Research.

The researchers grew pancreatic cancer cells in lab dishes and fed them both glucose and fructose, and the cells used fructose to proliferate. Although it’s found naturally in fruits, fructose is also a component of HFCS.

All of this makes the practice of reading food labels very important. Always check labels for added fructose as well as HFCS, which lurks in many processed foods—including ketchup and other condiments, sauces, salad dressing, jams, peanut butter, meat products, and commercially produced desserts.

2 thoughts on “Isn’t Sugar Sugar? What’s The Difference?

  • May 26, 2012 at 11:31 am

    High fructose corn syrup is more than what’s described above. Not only is it man made and processed from cornstarch and fructose, it also has added chemicals in it. Wait! It doesn’t stop there! Oh no. The food industry is trying to keep HFCs in everything by changing its name to corn sugar…. A lie because as you can see above, corn sugar is made from straight from corn. To add to the disturbing lies spewing out, they are actually campaigning FOR HFCs saying that the body doesn’t know the difference (any research into the matter and you will find it actually does a number of horrible things to your body ranging from messing with you body’s natural recognition and usage of insulin, all the way to poisoning your brain). They are saying its just like any other sugar and is OKAY in moderation!

  • May 26, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    They want to call HFCs corn sugar. All corn is grown with Roundup IN THE SEED. I personally have a big problem with that and would recommend against eating it and would ask the govt. not to let them change the name. If I eat “sugar” I eat raw oranic honey or organic maple syrup or organic blackstrap molasses. All three come with their nutrients, not having been stripped completely of any nutritional value like processed sugars, including cane and turbinado. Anyting without nutrients is like taking a drug that messes with your pancreas and your insulin levels in the body directly. Understanding sugar is really important. It’s the equivalent of heroin without the jail time. IMHO Great book written YEARS ago is called Sugar Blues. Highly recommend.


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