sugar with sugarcane
What is
sugar?

Sugar is…

…a crystal form of the sweet juice produced in the stalks of the sugarcane plant (for more see how is sugar made?).

Sugar comes in a variety of forms, depending on the size and colour of the crystal. For example, icing or confectioner’s sugar is white with very fine crystals in a powder whereas demerara sugar has large crystals and a caramel colour.

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate and its chemical name is sucrose.

Sucrose is made from one glucose unit or molecule attached to one fructose molecule.

Sucrose is therefore a disaccharide which means it is made from two monosaccharides – glucose and fructose.

Maltose and lactose are also disaccharides found commonly in our food.  Maltose or malt sugar is found in bread and beer and is made from two glucose molecules joined together.

Lactose or milk sugar is found in cow’s milk and is made from a glucose molecule attached to a galactose molecule.

More complex carbohydrates like the starch in potatoes involve three or more ‘saccharide’ units and are known chemically as polysaccharides.