Glucose and sucrose and fructose

You have probably heard the terms fructose, glucose, and sucrose before, and you may know that they are all types of sugar. But do you know how they differ from each other or if some are better for you than others? Keep reading our article to inform yourself and end all your doubts.

Glucose
Fructuosa
Saccharose
DefinitionIt is the main source of energy your body uses and all cells depend on it to function. When we talk about blood sugar, we mean blood glucoseIt is a simple sugar found naturally in fruit, honey, sucrose, and high fructose corn syrup.It is crystallized white sugar produced by the sugar cane plant and can be found in homes and food all over the world.
GuyMonosaccharideMonosaccharideDisaccharides
Also known asGrape sugarFruit sugarTable sugar
Amount of carbons6 carbons6 carbons12 carbons
Where it can be foundIt can be found in plant sap and in the human bloodstreamIt can be found in places like fruit and honeyIt can be found in a home or originally in a sugar cane
IG valueHas a GI value of 100Your GI value is on average around 19It has a GI value of 65

What are complex and simple carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are classified into two basic groups, complex and simple .

Complex carbohydrates are made up of multiple simple sugars, linked by chemical bonds . The more chains and branches of simple sugars, the more complex a carbohydrate is, and in turn, the longer it takes the body to break it down and the less impact it has on blood sugar levels. Examples of complex carbohydrates include whole grains like oats, brown rice, spelled, rye, and barley.

Simple carbohydrates are monosaccharides (one sugar molecule) or disaccharides (two sugar molecules). They digest quickly and release sugars into the bloodstream. The two main monosaccharides are glucose and fructose. The two main disaccharides are sucrose (made up of glucose and fructose) and lactose (which is made up of galactose and glucose).

Differences Between Glucose, Sucrose, and Fluctose

What is glucose

Glucose is the main source of energy your body uses and all cells depend on it to function. When we talk about blood sugar, we are referring to blood glucose. When we eat carbohydrates, our body breaks them down into glucose units. When blood glucose levels rise, the cells of the pancreas release insulin, which signals the cells to absorb glucose from the blood . As cells absorb sugar from the blood, the levels begin to drop.

The nutritional profile of glucose

The glycemic index is a rating of how quickly food raises blood sugar levels after you eat it. High GI foods break down very easily into glucose. Glucose is the defining standard and has a GI value of 100 . Glucose alone does not taste particularly sweet compared to fructose and sucrose.

How Glucose Affects Your Body

Research suggests that because glucose stimulates the release of insulin from the pancreas , it also causes the release of two other hormones, leptin and ghrelin . Leptin is known as an appetite suppressant and ghrelin as an appetite enhancer. Lower GI foods (such as whole grains, protein, and those that are low in glucose) are thought to suppress ghrelin, thereby regulating satiety .

What is fructose

Fructose, or fruit sugar, is a simple sugar found naturally in fruit, honey, sucrose, and high-fructose corn syrup. This is very sweet , about one and a half times sweeter than sucrose (white sugar). Due to the global increase in the consumption of sweeteners, in soft drinks and foods containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), fructose intake has quadrupled since the early 1900s.

The nutritional profile of fructose

Fructose is absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion and has no impact on insulin production or blood glucose levels . Consequently, their GI value is much lower, on average around 19 . This was once thought to make it a good substitute for table sugar, but now there is a growing body of research to question this.

Sweeteners like HFCS have a higher GI value due to the presence of glucose. It has been suggested that it is the glucose content of these sweeteners that may have contributed to the increase in cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes .

How Fructose Affects Your Body

Fructose is handled by the body differently from glucose, as it is metabolized in the liver . As a result, blood sugar (glucose) levels do not rise as rapidly after fructose consumption compared to other simple sugars. When you consume too much fructose, the liver cannot process it fast enough and instead begins to produce fats that are carried in the blood and stored as triglycerides, the body’s main form of fat. Studies have shown that consuming large amounts of fructose can lead to increased appetite by affecting the body’s ability to use insulin and suppressing circulating ghrelin (the appetite-stimulating hormone).

While most diabetics cannot tolerate sucrose, most can tolerate moderate amounts of fruit and fructose without losing blood sugar control. Research has not yet shown any detrimental health effects of moderate fructose consumption as part of a balanced diet. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that consuming too much HFCS and other sweeteners can contribute to elevated blood sugar, blood fat, and subsequent weight gain .

What is sucrose

Sucrose is crystallized white sugar produced by the sugar cane plant and can be found in homes and food around the world. Sucrose is a disaccharide made up of 50% glucose and 50% fructose, and it quickly breaks down into its constituent parts.

The nutritional profile of sucrose

Due to its glucose content, sucrose has a GI value of 65 . As it is composed of glucose and fructose, the latter is metabolized in the liver and has the same problems as those mentioned above for fructose. Due to its glucose content, sucrose leads to an elevation in blood glucose. Therefore, diabetics should be aware of foods that contain sucrose.

What is lactose

Lactose is a sugar found in milk . It is a disaccharide made up of glucose and galactose units. It is broken down into two parts by an enzyme called lactase . Once broken down, simple sugars can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

The nutritional profile of lactose

Whole milk has a GI value of 41 and is considered a low GI food. It breaks down slowly and helps increase the absorption of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Some people experience lactose intolerance, an inability to produce the enzyme lactase that breaks down milk. Lactose intolerance can lead to diarrhea, bloating, and other gastrointestinal symptoms .

Sugar: the end result

There are two types of sugar: natural sugar like lactose in milk and added sugar , which includes table sugar (sucrose) and concentrated sources like fruit juice.

Current recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) are that only 5% of your daily calorie intake should consist of added or “free” sugars . This equates to about seven teaspoons (30 g) for an adult. To put this in perspective, a can of soda can hold seven teaspoons or more, so it’s easy to hit the recommended daily allowance, especially when you consider added sugar to foods you don’t see.

Virtually all the fiber, phytochemical, vitamin and mineral content has been removed from the white sugar (sucrose). Eating too many carbohydrates, especially simple sugars, can be detrimental to blood sugar control, especially if you are insulin resistant, have reactive hypoglycemia, or are diabetic. Eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain , increasing your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes .

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