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Diverse Varieties of Sugars

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Sugars are classified into different types based on color (white, brown) and crystal size. To learn more about the types of sugar, read the article below.

Written by

Dr. K Anusha

Medically reviewed by

Sumiya Sulthana

Published At October 17, 2023
Reviewed AtOctober 17, 2023

Introduction

Cells in the body survive through the energy provided by sugars. Individuals who consume foods and beverages will get their energy from sugar, a type of carbohydrate that is a macronutrient. Sugar juice extracted from sugar beet or sugar cane plants helps to produce sugar. Different sugar varieties are produced from this sugar through slight adjustments in cleaning, drying, and crystallizing and little variations in the level of molasses.

Different foods and beverages are made with crystal-size sugar, providing unique functional characteristics. The amount of molasses on or added to the crystals is primarily determined by the color of sugar, which gives delightful flavors and alters moisture. Heating sugars also change color and flavor. Some sugars are not available in the supermarket but are used only by the food industry.

What Are the Different Types of Sugars?

Based on color, sugars are classified into two types, and they are,

A: Brown Sugars

1. Turbinado Sugars:

  • Turbinado sugar is the naturally occurring molasses retained more in partially processed sugar. It is also called raw cane sugar or demerara sugar.

  • Brown sugar used in baking is different from turbinado sugar because it has a light color, a mild brown sugar flavor, and a large crystal size.

  • Turbinado sugars are soft-made and have been just processed to eat.

  • Sugar in an individual pocket is known as raw cane sugar.

2. Free-Flowing Brown Sugars:

  • Like brown sugar, the regular powder is less moist than the other sugars. So it is also known as granulated brown sugar.

  • Free-flowing brown sugar is less moist and looks like white sugar because it does not clump and flows freely.

  • This sugar undergoes a unique process to make it less moist and give it the brown sugar taste in a free-flowing product.

  • Free-flowing brown sugar is great because it is used for topping cereals and oatmeal and is easy to measure and sprinkle.

3. Muscovado Sugar:

  • Molasses has not been removed from muscovado sugar, so it is a lump of unrefined cane sugar, also known as Barbados sugar.

  • It has a particularly strong molasses flavor and is very dark brown.

  • This sugar has a sandy texture because its crystals are slightly coarser and stickier than regular brown sugar.

4. Light and Dark Brown Sugars:

  • Brown sugar is made by directly boiling brown sugar syrup or mixing white sugar with molasses.

  • In sauces and most baked goods, light brown sugar is used.

  • The deeper color, and strong molasses flavor, are present in dark brown sugar than the light brown sugar.

  • Dark brown sugar makes gingerbread, baked beans, barbecuing, and other full-flavored foods.

  • Brown sugars allow baked goods to retain moisture well and be chewy because they contain more moisture which tends to clump easily.

B. White Sugars:

1. Fruit Sugar:

  • The crystal size of fruit sugar is smaller and more uniform than regular sugar.

  • In making gelatin, pudding desserts, or powdered drinks, fruit sugar is used as a dry mixer.

  • An essential quality in dry mixes is that the sugar crystals in the fruit sugar are settled at the bottom of the box and are prevented from spreading because of their uniform size.

2. Coarse Sugar:

  • The crystal size of coarse sugar is more significant than that of regular sugar.

  • Crystallization of molasses-rich sugar syrup, which is high in sucrose, produces coarse sugar.

  • Coarse sugar is essential in producing confections, liquor, and fondants.

  • It is highly resistant to color change or inversion at cooking and baking temperatures because of its large crystal size.

3. Sanding Sugar:

  • Both large or fine crystals constitute the sanding sugar.

  • The sparkling effect of the product occurs due to the reflection of the light from both types of crystals in the sanding sugar.

  • Sugar is sprinkled on the top of baked foods in baking and confectionary sanding.

4. Regular or White Granulated Sugar:

  • Sugar bowls usually consist of this type of granulated white sugar.

  • The most common sugar used in baking and cooking recipes is granulated sugar.

  • Small crystals are ideally used for bulk handling, and it is not susceptible to caking because regular sugar granules are fine.

5. Confectioners or Powdered Sugar:

  • Powdered sugar is a coarse substance grounded and sifted into a smooth powder.

  • To prevent caking, commercially available powdered sugar is mixed with a small amount of cornstarch.

  • Powdered sugar is often used in icings, confections, and whipping cream.

  • This process can be done at home by blending one cup of white sugar and one tablespoon of cornstarch to get one cup of powdered sugar.

6. Baker’s Special Sugar:

  • As the name implies, this type of sugar is especially developed in the baking industry.

  • In sugaring donuts and cookies, this type of sugar is used.

  • And it is also used to create a fine crumb texture in some cake recipes.

7.Superfine Sugar:

  • Superfine sugar has the smallest size of white granulated sugar, which is also known as a coaster or bar sugar.

  • Delicate or smooth desserts made with superfine sugar, like mousse or pudding, are generally used.

  • It dissolves easily, even in cool drinks, because the crystals in it are so fine.

What Are Liquid Sugar and Invert Sugar?

1. Invert Sugar:

  • Inverted sugar is produced by splitting the sugar component into glucose and fructose through an inversion process.

  • It is defined as liquid sugar with equal parts of glucose and fructose.

  • Inverted sugar is sweeter than white sugar because it has fructose, which is sweeter than glucose and sucrose.

  • In sugars, only half of the sucrose has been inverted, so 50 percent inverted sugar consists of ½ sucrose, 1/4th glucose, and 1/4th fructose.

2. Liquid Sugars:

  • White granulated sugar, which dissolves in water, is known as liquid sugar. Liquid sugar with a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water is simple syrup.

  • If people desire brown color, this amber liquid sugar is used because it is darker.

  • Most drinks often use liquid sugars.

Conclusion

An individual should reduce the intake of free sugars to less than 10 percent of total energy intake as recommended by WHO for both adults and children, and it is also suggested to reduce less than 5 percent. The relationship between free sugars intake, body weight, and dental caries evidence is based on the totality of available sugars recommended by the WHO (World Health Organization). Nowadays, people use different kinds of zero-calorie artificial sweeteners as sugar substitutes rather than natural sweeteners.

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Sumiya Sulthana
Sumiya Sulthana

Nutritionist

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