Know the Different Types of Sugar

Know the different types of sugars and you will be better prepared to make healthier choices for your children.


Glucose and Fructose
Monosaccharides are simple carbohydrates, including glucose and fructose.

Glucose is the natural sugar produced in plants during photosynthesis. It is used in all living cells as an energy source. You can't live without it. The prefix "mono" means it is a simple structure that doesn't need to be further broken down to be digested. Glucose is found in many fruits and in honey.

Glucose that is produced through a chemical process commercially is called dextrose. If this conversion process is not complete what results is glucose syrup, called starch syrup or corn syrup. Corn syrup is used widely in producing candies, baked goods, canned fruits, and soft drinks as well as brewed drinks.
 
Fructose, also called levulose, is found in fruits and vegetables. The natural sweetness found in fruits like bananas and apples and grapes is used to sweeten foods. High fructose syrup is the form often listed on labels and may be a red flag for parents. A juice or food that claims to be pure and natural may still be sweetened with this unnatural sugar and should be regarded with suspicion.

Lactose and Maltose
Lactose is milk sugar. It is naturally found in milk products and is also used in making many medicines. This is a disaccharide because it is a carbohydrate structure which is more complex and must be broken down into simpler form before it can be used by the body. The energy obtained by eating the slower types of sugars starches and milk sugar are longer in the system and help sustain a steadier sugar level.

Maltose is starch. It is found in breads, rice, pastas, potatoes and other starchy foods. It is added to many packaged foods as both filler and sweetener. It is used in baby foods. This slow carbohydrate must first be converted by the body into glucose to be used for energy.  Slow carbohydrates help a person keep up energy level and avoid depression. They do not shoot through your body like monosaccharides or pure sugars, which can leave you feeling weak and rundown.

Help your child eat better by recognizing and helping him recognize all the sugars on a food label.

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