Sucrose: The sweetening agent

Sucrose (β-D-fructofuranosyl α-D-glucopyranoside) is a natural disaccharide that is by far the most available of all low molecular weight carbohydrates. It is produced from sugar beet or sugar cane on the industrial scale.

In plant materials, D-glucose and D-fructose occur as free sugars in sucrose, and in a range of oligosaccharides (galactosyl-sucrose oligosaccharides and fructo-oligosaccharides) and polysaccharides such as fructans (inulins), starch, 1,3:1,4-β-D-glucans and cellulose.

Ancient documents make clear reference to the use of honey as a sweeting agent. Sucrose became available only about a thousand years ago and has been the primary sweetener worldwide for most of the twentieth century.

Sucrose's most important properties are its water solubility and its sweetness. The latter is influenced by temperature, pH, etc, and is synergistic with other sweeteners.

The sucrose moiety is constituted by one molecule of glucose linked to one molecule of fructose. In the gut, sucrose is split into glucose and fructose before being absorbed into the portal blood. Fructose and glucose thereafter have a quite different metabolic fate.

Sucrose is the leading food additive and contributes sweetness, mouthfeel, texture, body, humectancy, and appearance to foods.

Sucrose is used in medicines to mask unpleasant tastes, in tablet formulations, and to promote wound healing. Sucrose derivatives are used in treating ulcers and as antitumor agents.

Recent technological advances in food producing have allowed for the invention of another sweetening agent – high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

The amount of HFCS consumed in the United States is now equal to sucrose and is found thoroughwort the food supply in products such as carbonated and noncarbonated beverages, dairy products, canned fruits , jammed and jellies, snack foods, desserts, breads and a host of other baked goods.
Sucrose: The sweetening agent

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