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Pour some Sugar on me Baby...

Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. Simple sugars, also called monosaccharides, include glucose, fructose, and galactose. Compound sugars, also called disaccharides or double sugars, are molecules made of two bonded monosaccharides; common examples are sucrose (glucose + fructose), lactose (glucose + galactose), and maltose (two molecules of glucose). White sugar is a refined form of sucrose. In the body, compound sugars are hydrolysed into simple sugars.

1. Granulated Sugar

Granulated sugar is a highly refined, multi-purpose sugar. It’s also sometimes called refined, table, or white sugar. When people talk about “sugar,” this is usually what they’re talking about.

 Granulated sugar is made from sugarcane and sugar beets. It’s also the most common type of sugar used in baking and cooking.

2. Caster Sugar

Caster sugar is superfine granulated white sugar. Because the crystals are so fine, they dissolve much quicker than standard granulated white sugar, which makes it ideal for making meringues, syrups, and cocktails.

3. Confectioners Sugar

Also referred to as powdered sugar and 10x sugar, this is a type of white sugar that has been ground into a fine powder. To prevent clumping, a small amount of cornstarch is typically blended in. Confectioners sugar easily dissolves in liquid, and is ideal for making icing and frosting, as well as decorating baked goods.

4. Pearl Sugar

Sometimes called nib sugar or hail sugar, pearl sugar is a variety of white sugar that has a coarse, hard texture and an opaque color. It also holds its shape, and doesn’t melt when exposed to high temperatures. Pearl sugar is commonly used in Scandinavian baking to decorate pastries, cookies, and buns.

5. Sanding Sugar

Sanding sugar is used mainly for decorating. It has large crystals, which are fairly resistant to heat and add extra texture and crunch to cookies and other baked goods. You can find sanding sugar in a rainbow of colors.

6. Cane Sugar

Unlike granulated sugar, which comes from sugarcane or sugar beets, cane sugar is produced solely from sugarcane and is minimally processed. It also has a slightly larger grain, darker color, and higher price tag. Use cane sugar the same way you would granulated sugar.

7. Demerara Sugar

Demerara sugar is a variety of raw cane sugar that is minimally refined. It has large grains with an amber color and a natural, subtle molasses flavor. Use it to sweeten coffee or tea, or as a topping on baked goods, like muffins, scones, cookies, and cakes.

8. Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado is another type of minimally refined raw cane sugar. This sugar variety has large, medium-brown crystals, and is often mistaken for standard brown sugar because of its color, although it’s not the same thing. Turbinado sugar has a delicate caramel flavor and is commonly used to sweeten beverages and can also be used in baking.

9. Muscovado Sugar

Also referred to as Barbados sugar, muscovado sugar is a variety of unrefined cane sugar in which the molasses isn’t removed. It comes in dark and light varieties, and has a sticky, wet, sandy texture with a rich, complex flavor. While muscovado sugar can be used as a substitute for brown sugar, its flavor is much stronger. It’s especially wonderful in barbecue sauce, marinades, and savory dishes.

Light & Dark Brown Sugar

Like its lighter counterpart, dark brown sugar is refined white sugar with molasses added in. It contains more molasses than light brown sugar, which gives it a stronger, more intense flavor. Light and dark brown sugar can be used interchangeably.

Most people consume many different types of sugars from a variety of foods and beverages in their diet. A high intake of sugar is linked to an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. But whether some sugars are healthier (or worse) than others remains a question of interest to many.

Sugar basics

Sugar provides energy that our cells need to survive. Sugar is a type of carbohydrate, a macronutrient that provides energy (in the form of calories) from foods and beverages we consume. Carbohydrates are classified into two subtypes of sugar: monosaccharides, or "simple sugars" (consisting of one molecule),` and disaccharides (two molecules). The monosaccharides include glucose, fructose, and galactose. The major disaccharides include sucrose (one glucose molecule and one fructose molecule), lactose (one glucose molecule and one galactose molecule), and maltose (two glucose molecules).

Fructose, glucose, and sucrose are found naturally in fruit and some vegetables, while lactose is found in dairy and maltose is found in germinating grains. Fructose and glucose are also found naturally in honey, as well as in common table sugar.

Are all added sugars created equal?

Added sugars come from a variety of sources and go by many different names, yet they are all a source of extra calories and are metabolized by the body the same way. A common misconception exists that some added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are unhealthy, while others such as agave nectar (from the succulent plant) are healthy.

The reality is that most added sugars are composed of glucose and fructose in varying ratios. For example, sucrose (common table sugar) is 50% glucose and 50% fructose; the most common form of HFCS (which is produced from corn starch through industrial processing) contains 45% glucose and 55% fructose; and some types of agave nectar contain up to 90% fructose and 10% glucose.

Whether an added sugar contains more or less fructose versus glucose has little impact on health. Some types of added sugar — honey, for example — may also contain micronutrients or other bioactive compounds. But these properties have little benefit when it comes to metabolic health.

In short, it's best to limit all sources of added sugar to within the recommended intake level. For most people, one type of sugar isn't better than another.

Well, that's it Sugar...I think I will follow up with a post on alternatives to sugar, as this is a big part of how I produce my pastry & baked goods.

Cheers, and have a happy hump day!

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