SUGAR IS MORE COMPLEX THAN YOU THINK
In France, sugar beet boomed under Napoleon, which in 1812, gives the sugar industrialization to Benjamin Delessert, the founder of the first saving house.
With the multiplying of sugar factories in France, Germany and other European countries, in the nineteenth century, sugar beet replaces fast the sugarcane and towards the end of the century, sugar becomes a household. Sucrose, which is our tables sugar, consists of two simpler sugars: from a glucose molecule and a fructose one.
Different sugars, glucides or carbohydrates differ, depending on the complexity of their chemical structure. Presented in 1862 by Marcellin Berthelot, the glucose structure represents all simple sugars: on a carbon skeleton atoms are grafted chemical groups based on hydrogen and oxygen. In 1929, Sir Walter Norman Haworth presented the hexagonal structure of the glucose, that we know today. In 1937, the same Walter Norman Haworth was receiving the Nobel Prize for the synthesis of vitamin C.
Earlier I said that one molecule of glucose and one of fructose forms a complex glucide, a disaccharide which is sucrose or usual sugar. Two glucose molecules results in maltose, and milk lactose results from the union of a glucose molecule and one of galactose.
Glucides complexity can increase by the combining oa a high number of molecules of simple sugars. Following this principle, chains of glucides or carbohydrates may contain hundreds of glucose units.
Cereal and potato starch and cellulose, which are the skeleton of all vegetables, are examples of complex sugars structure.
Through a sweetener we understand a substance capable of sweetening, a molecule of sucrose substitute, with a sweet taste. ‘Sweetness’ allows quantification sweetening capacity of a molecule, in relation to the sucrose, whose sweetening power is considered to be 1. For example, fructose has sweetening power of 1.2, which means is 1.2 times sweeter than sucrose, reason why is used in many sweet drinks. Sugar, honey and most ripe fruits contain a mixture, approximately in equal parts of fructose and glucose.
There are sweetenings which are tens to thousands of times sweeter than ordinary sugar. Most sweetenings are total different chemical products, such as peptides consisting of two or three amino acids. Saccharin, accidentally discovered in 1879 by the american chemist Constantin Fahlberg, is the first sweetener summary. Its sweetening power is 500 times greater than that of sucrose.
Aspartame, a dipeptide with a sweetness power of 200 is the sweetener most commonly used today.
The thaumatin is the strongest, a natural tripeptide, extracted from an african plant, with a sweetness power of almost 2,000.
In the food industry, sweetness are elected by taste qualities after certain temperature stability and after content in calories.
Glucides are the main source of energy for all livings. In industrial countries, in the food of an adult are found daily 350 g of glucides. This amount is sufficient to cover the majority energy necessities, the rest being provided by fat. Many don’t know that abundant intake of glucides improves synthesis and protein in the body, reducing the need for exogenously contribution.
From bacteria to humans, glucose is an excellent fuel. Actually, is the only glucide that nerve cells are able to use it. All living cells can use glucose, thanks to a string of biochemical reactions that release energy from molecules.