In nutrition, sugar refers to simple carbohydrates consisting of one or two basic carbohydrate units such as glucose, fructose and galactose.
Consumers often use ‘sugar’ to describe simple carbohydrates that taste sweet, but not all sugars are sweet.
There are many different types of sugars we add to our baking or hot drinks such as white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar and honey.
But when we’re looking at a packaged product the ingredients list will have many more options still. Corn syrup, palm sugar, molasses, maple syrup and agave nectar are but a few.
Despite the large variety of sugars, they are very similar nutritionally.
They are comprised predominantly of glucose, fructose and sucrose, which are the basic forms of sugar. Glucose and fructose are slightly different in chemical structure, while sucrose is a sugar composed of one glucose and one fructose.
The factors that distinguish sugars are their sources (from sugarcane, beet, fruit, nectar, palm or coconut saps), flavour profiles, and the levels of processing.