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Does Sugar Spoil? And Is It Really "bad" for you?

Updated on November 19, 2013

Sugar sources and types

Sugar Cane Field
Sugar Cane Field | Source
Sweet Sorghum plants
Sweet Sorghum plants
sugar beets
sugar beets
Harvesting sugar beets
Harvesting sugar beets
Sugar Maple
Sugar Maple
date palm
date palm
Sugar plums
Sugar plums
Sugar cubes
Sugar cubes
Brown sugar crystals
Brown sugar crystals
Confectionery sugar
Confectionery sugar

Does Sugar Spoil? Some interesting facts about Sugar and Carbohydrates. Are there really any "bad" foods for us to eat?

Sugar, also called sucrose, is a sweet crystalline food and flavoring.

Its chemical composition is:

  • C/12...Carbon molecules
  • H/22...Hydrogen molecules
  • O/11...Oxygen molecules

Sucrose is a product of photosynthesis and makes up the main sugar in the sap of plants and is present in Honey, along with fructose and glucose.

Sucrose melts at 185 - 186 degrees Celsius to form barley sugar. When heated at 200 degrees Celsius it caramelizes.

The major sources of commercial sucrose are sugar cane and sugar beets.

The minor sources are maple trees, sugar palms (especially date palms), and sorghum (the sweet juices of the old world tropical grasses [similar to Indian corn] that are primarily in the stems of the plants).

Commercial grades of sugar range from large brown coffee crystals (popular in England and rarely found in the USA) to granulated sugar.

Powdered sugar (commonly known as icing sugar) is pulverized granules with an additive to prevent caking.

Cube Sugar is molded and pressed from granulated sugar, using sugar syrups for bonding the crystals.

Brown sugars (from light to dark in color) are merely white granulated sugars with varying degrees of molasses added to them.

An additional group of compounds belonging to the same group of Carbohydrates are termed "sugars" by chemists:

  • corn sugar (glucose,dextrose);
  • fruit sugar (fructose, levulose);
  • milk sugar (lactose);
  • and malt sugar (maltose).

Sugar cane, the major source of sugar, dates back to antiquity. It is a giant, thick, perennial grass, cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions world wide for its sweet sop (a major source of sugar and molasses).

Sugar is thought to have originated in New Guinea, then migrated to southeast Asia, India, and Polynesia.

Sugar beet is second to sugar cane as the major source of the world's sugar. It is grown in temperate or cold climates. The sugar is stored in the roots of the beets, instead of the stalks, as in sugar cane. Beet sugar is comparatively recent, while sugarcane dates back to antiquity. Sugar beet was grown as a vegetable, and for fodder, long before it was valued as a source of sugar. Sugar from beets was produced, as an experiment, in Germany in 1747 by the Chemist Andrea Marggraf, but the first beet sugar factory was built in 1802 in France.

Sugar does not spoil. While the sugar cane plant is susceptible to more than 60 diseases (none of them occur worldwide); varieties are bred to resist each type of disease. Extensive breeding programs have produced new varieties suitable to each of the major cane producing areas of the world. Asia produces the most of the world's sugar cane, followed by South America and then North America. It is a major commercial crop of Hawaii and is grown in the Southern U.S. (especially in Louisiana).

Although sugar will not spoil, it is susceptible to insects and caking and clumping if exposed to liquids, or high humidity. When stored in an air tight container in moderate temperatures it will last forever without losing any of its value.

The question of whether it is really "bad" for you is quite controversial, in that, it is a "natural" product and as with anything else we ingest as foods, moderation is key to their effects on our bodies and our health in general.

The song "...a teaspoon of sugar helps the medicine go down...", says it best. Everything we ingest is converted to carbohydrates (any of various neutral compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen - as sugars, starches and cellulose from the plant family) and is converted to glucose which is the main fuel our bodies run on.

"Bad" foods are only bad when eaten in excessive, or as an exclusive diet, rather than in conjunction with the varieties of foods we need to provide all the basic essentials for a healthy body.

And the main rule to always keep in mind is to never eat more than our exercise regime can "use up" in any 24 hour period. This will always ensure that we maintain a healthy body and happy life style. So, if anyone tells you that natural sugar is bad for you, you can tell them with confidence that that statement is not really correct.

by: d.william 02/17/13

A Spoonful of Sugar by Julie Andrews/from Mary Poppins Movie


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    • d.william profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      thanks for reading and commenting. Sugar is a natural product composed of carbon,hydrogen and oxygen. Everything we eat is converted to glucose, as is sugar. That glucose is the fuel we need to maintain healthy bodies.

      Nothing is good for us if we use it in excess. Of course there are also exceptions such as with diabetics who take in too much sugar when they cannot make insulin enough to convert the sugar.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I also am glad to hear sugar is good for me. The trick is to not eat too much. A moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips. Up and interesting.

    • d.william profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I rarely, if ever, eat any kind of ''processed'' foods, and now that genetically modified corn has been allowed to be sold in the US, i avoid anything that has any kind of corn products in them, and that includes eating animals that are fed corn for their diets. I won't even feed my pets anything with corn products in them. Ergo, i am now a vegetarian. I never thought about growing stevia, frankly i had never even heard of it before it went on the market as another sugar substitute.

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      Ah, the key point in your hub is that natural sugar is not bad for you. Sadly, most people never get anywhere near natural sugar.

      I grow organic stevia plants to provide my natural sweetener. If I lived in a climate where I could grow my own sugar cane, I'd use it. When I'm not using stevia, I use pure honey. I'm at that point where I like to feed my family foods in their natural form, not foods that rely on factories and processing.

      Interesting hub. Voted up!

    • d.william profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Thanks for your comments. You just reminded me of something i forgot to include in this hub. I forgot to add that the 'bad' thing about sugar, is not that sugar itself is 'bad' for you (unless you are diabetic of course), but that it is the addictiveness of that condition of having a "sweet tooth" that many of us suffer from.

      It gives such pleasurable tastes to otherwise, bitter, or unusual flavors, that it is certainly addictive in that respect. Children learn early that anything with this pleasantly 'sweet' taste is more pleasurable to eat than those foods that one must acquire a taste for. Therein lies the dilemma, it can be qualified as being "bad" for us on a psychological level rather than on a physiological level.

      So, awareness of this potential is certainly imperative to teach children who only want that sweet taste in their foods.

      Food manufacturers take advantage of this and put it in everything just to sell their wares, and have little or not concern for the health, and safety, benefits of their food additives.

      It really IS all about money and profits after all, isn't it? Sad.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I am thrilled to learn that sugar is good for me. I have a sweet tooth, and i do not overindulge...Thank you for sharing..


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