Sugars are classified into three groups: monosaccharides, disaccharides, and trisaccharides. The simplest molecules of sugars are the monosaccharides, which include galactose, fructose and glucose, the only monosaccharides absorbed by humans. Disaccharides (including lactose, maltose and sucrose) and trisaccharides (including raffinose, found in cottonseed and sugar beets), are derived from the union of monosaccharides. All of these sugars provide approximately 4 cal/g.
Household 'sugar', or 'table sugar', is extracted mainly from sugar cane or beet. This sugar is a disaccharide composed of 50% glucose and 50% fructose linked by a-1,4 glycosidic bonds (Pancoast and Junk, 1980). Glucose, also known as dextrose or corn syrup, is produced from corn starch. Fructose is the sweetest of the simple sugars and is found as the monosaccharide, along with glucose and sucrose, in fruits and vegetables (Park and Yetley, 1993). It is generally present in honey and fruits and vegetables in similar amounts to glucose with the exception that it is found in much higher quantities than glucose in apples and pears. Sucrose is found in smaller quantities (NDL, 2006).
HFCS is a nutritive liquid sweetener containing the monosaccharides fructose and glucose, in varying proportions. The most common forms of HFCS are HFCS 55% and 42%. HFCS 55% is composed of 55% fructose and 45% glucose and is primarily used in sweetened soft drinks. In contrast, HFCS 42% is composed of 42% fructose and 58% glucose and is primarily used in solid foods such as jams, jellies, baked goods, canned goods and dairy products (Hanover and White, 1993).
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