Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. The various types of sugar are derived from different sources. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose, and galactose. “Table sugar” or “granulated sugar” refers to sucrose, a disaccharide of glucose and fructose. In the body, sucrose is hydrolysed into fructose and glucose.
Sucrose is used in prepared foods (e.g. cookies and cakes), is sometimes added to commercially available beverages, and may be used by people as a sweetener for foods (e.g. toast and cereal) and beverages (e.g. coffee and tea). Other disaccharides include maltose (from malted grain) and lactose (from milk). Longer chains of sugars are called oligosaccharides or polysaccharides. Some other chemical substances, such as glycerol and sugar alcohols, may have a sweet taste, but are not classified as sugar.
Sugars are found in the tissues of most plants, but are especially concentrated in sugarcane and sugar beet, making them ideal for efficient commercial extraction to make refined sugar. In 2016, the combined world production of those two crops was about two billion tonnes.
The average person consumes about 24 kilograms (53 lb) of sugar each year, or 33.1 kilograms (73 lb) in developed countries, equivalent to over 260 food calories per day. As sugar consumption grew in the latter part of the 20th century, researchers began to examine whether a diet high in sugar, especially refined sugar, was damaging to human health. Excessive consumption of sugar has been implicated in the onset of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and tooth decay. Numerous studies have tried to clarify those implications, but with varying results, mainly because of the difficulty of finding populations for use as controls that consume little or no sugar. In 2015, the World Health Organization recommended that adults and children reduce their intake of free sugars to less than 10%, and encouraged a reduction to below 5%, of their total energy intake.
Ancient times and Middle Ages
Sugar has been produced in the Indian subcontinent since ancient times and its cultivation spread from there into modern-day Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass. It was not plentiful or cheap in early times, and in most parts of the world, honey was more often used for sweetening. Originally, people chewed raw sugarcane to extract its sweetness. Sugarcane was a native of tropical South Asia and Southeast Asia.
Different species seem to have originated from different locations with Saccharum barberi originating in India and S. edule and S. officinarum coming from New Guinea. One of the earliest historical references to sugarcane is in Chinese manuscripts dating to 8th century BCE, which state that the use of sugarcane originated in India.
In the tradition of Indian medicine (āyurveda), the sugarcane is known by the name Ikṣu and the sugarcane juice is known as Phāṇita. Its varieties, synonyms and characterics are defined in nighaṇṭus such as the Bhāvaprakāśa (1.6.23, group of sugarcanes).
The Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides in the 1st century CE described sugar in his medical treatise De Materia Medica, and Pliny the Elder, a 1st-century CE Roman, described sugar in his Natural History: “Sugar is made in Arabia as well, but Indian sugar is better. It is a kind of honey found in cane, white as gum, and it crunches between the teeth. It comes in lumps the size of a hazelnut. Sugar is used only for medical purposes.”
Sugar was found in Europe by the 1st century CE. Sugar remained relatively unimportant until the Indians discovered methods of turning sugarcane juice into granulated crystals that were easier to store and to transport. Crystallized sugar was discovered by the time of the Imperial Guptas, around the 5th century CE. In the local Indian language, these crystals were called khanda (Devanagari: खण्ड, Khaṇḍa), which is the source of the word candy. Indian sailors, who carried clarified butter and sugar as supplies, introduced knowledge of sugar along the various trade routes they travelled. Traveling Buddhist monks took sugar crystallization methods to China. During the reign of Harsha (r. 606–647) in North India, Indian envoys in Tang Chinataught methods of cultivating sugarcane after Emperor Taizong of Tang (r. 626–649) made known his interest in sugar. China established its first sugarcane plantations in the seventh century.Chinese documents confirm at least two missions to India, initiated in 647 CE, to obtain technology for sugar refining. In South Asia, the Middle East and China, sugar became a staple of cooking and desserts.
Crusaders brought sugar back to Europe after their campaigns in the Holy Land, where they encountered caravans carrying “sweet salt”. Early in the 12th century, Venice acquired some villages near Tyre and set up estates to produce sugar for export to Europe. It supplemented the use of honey, which had previously been the only available sweetener. Crusade chronicler William of Tyre, writing in the late 12th century, described sugar as “very necessary for the use and health of mankind”. In the 15th century, Venice was the chief sugar refining and distribution centre in Europe.. THANKS TO WIKIPEDIA.1122 Spring Cypress rd Spring TX 77373.