When people refer to “sugar” they often think about our white table sugar. However, table sugar is only one of several types of sugar, the sucrose. 

Sucrose is a molecule composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (C12H22O11). Sucrose and other compounds made from these three elements are also called carbohydrates and it’s found naturally in most plants. Carbohydrates, together with fat and protein, is our dietary “macronutrients” – necessary to fuel our physical activity and metabolic needs. Sugars and carbohydrates are important as fuel for our body but there are also different types of sugar. 

Sucrose, as an example, is actually two simpler sugars stuck together: fructose and glucose. The behaviour of these three sugar types are all different;

  • Sucrose, table sugar, is typically a white powder used in baking as a sweetener.
  • Glucose will not add much of sweetness but will prevent crystallization of sucrose, a less desirable effect when heating. In the body, glucose is known as blood sugar because it is essential for brain function and physical energy
  • Fructose will add much more sweetness, compared to sucrose or glucose. It’s simply more efficient when signalling sweetness to our brains 

The effect of these three different sugar types are quite different in both physics and taste. In addition, there are also other types of sugar with different characteristics. One example is lactose, commonly found in breast milk and dairy food, and another is maltose which is derived from malt starch.

The possibility to measure and control different sugar types in a food processing or food industry is highly desirable since it will affect both the final product as well as the efficiency of the process. OPSIS Liquid Monitoring is developing equipment and applications that allow detailed analysis of sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose and other sugar components in the food, confectionary and beverages production. Keep an eye on our recent developments!

About the Author

Olle Lundström

Olle Lundström
Director – Liquid Monitoring Division

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