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Sugar or Artificial Sweetener sample essay

Sugar is a carbohydrate which is mainly a source of energy. Granulated sugar has artificial value of 390 kilo calories of energy. Sugar is not only found in table sugar but also in honey, sorghum, fruit, sugar maple. It is the basic ingredient in candy. Most of the table sugar used in homes comes mainly from sugarcane or sugar beet. Sugar made form these plants undergoes various production procedures to become the brown raw sugars and then eventually white crystalline solid. The brown sugar is made into white sugar by boiling the syrup to make it clear and it is finally dried with heat.

Raw beet sugars are the products of processed sugar beet juice and also have to undergo juice and also have to undergo fruits processing to become white sugar. Sugar is made up of substances like sucrose, fructose and lactose. They exist in a crystalline form. Often, sugar is a term used to describe a disaccharide or monosaccharide. Monosaccharides also referred to as simple sugar include glucose molecules. These glucose molecules are the form in which chemical energy is stored by the cells in the body which is then converted to various forms of energy.

Most sugars ready exist only as simple glucose molecules, rather the glucose molecules are combined with other glucose molecules to form disaccharides, monosaccharide, trisaccharides, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. Monosaccharides contain on glucose unit, disaccharides contain two, while trisaccharides contain 3 glucose units with disaccharides containing four and more glucose units (Robyt, 1998). Polysaccharides have many units of glucose joined by glycosidic bonds to form a complex compound. Sugars have aldehyde group (-CHO) or may have ketone groups (C=O) containing double bonds between carbon and oxygen.

The simple sugars conform to the formula (CH2O)n. n is a number ranging from three to seven. Glucose has one ring in its structure and its formula is C6H12O6 as do other monosaccharide such as galactose, maltose and fructose. The difference between these monosaccharides is in the different arrangements of atoms. When a monosaccharide form closed chains with another monosaccharide water is lost as glycocidic bonds are formed which create disaccharides like maltose, sucrose and lactose. The formula for disaccharides is C12H22O11.

Maltose is a disaccharide formed by the joining together of two glucose molecules while sucrose is composed of one glucose molecule and a fructose molecule. Table sugar is sucrose. Sucrose is a disaccharide that occurs naturally in many plants. Some plants that have very high concentrations of sucrose include sugar cane and sugar beets. These are the major sources of the sugar that makes table sugar. Like the Monosaccharides, disaccharides have the same number of atoms but differ in arrangements of the atoms. Glucose molecules join up to form other complex sugars such as starch and cellulose.

The molecules of glucose join up to form a long chain which make the compounds formed stiffer. Starch is the major ingredient that forms pasta, potatoes and rice. Wood fibers are mainly made up of cellulose. Starch and cellulose though having a similar number of glucose molecules have different arrangements of the glucose molecules. Consequently, the two sugars have different characteristics. For instance, human beings do not have the ability to digest cellulose but can digest starch due to a lack of enzymes present in other ruminant animals.

http://www. worsleyschool. net/science/files/sugar/page. html Both the simple sugars and complex sugars can be broken down to simple glucose molecules by enzymes. The glycosidic bonds formed during the making of the disaccharides, trisaccharides and polysaccharides are hydrolyzed by enzymes in a process of metabolism. The end product of this hydrolysis is the unit molecules, glucose, fructose, and/or lactose (Robyt, 1998). When sucrose undergoes hydrolysis it is converted into a syrup of glucose and fructose.

The product of this process is invert sugar, a syrup used in the manufacture of confectioneries because it is sweeter than the original sucrose. The OH atom that sticks out on the sides of the sugar molecules is responsible for the sweetness of sugar. This atom reacts with the tongue’s taste buds. The number of O-H atoms is not the significant factor in determining sweetness. This sweetness is determined by the location of the O-H atoms as this will define whether they will bind well with the receptors for sweetness in the tongue.

This knowledge has been used in the manufacture of sweet substances like artificial sweeteners which have a sweet taste without being sugar. The complex carbohydrates do not have a sweet taste due to the absence of OH groups on the rides of the molecules. The great length of the molecules also contributes to their lack of sweetness (Robyt, 1998). Artificial sweetness are used as substitutes for sugar and often these substances have greater sweetness levels than table sugar. Consequently, the sweeteners required from these substances is much lower.

The sweeteners contain a mixture of substances because the sweetness sensation produced by replacing natural sugar may result in a different taste. For a most natural sensation to be obtained a bulking agent may be added to preserve the texture sensation. The most common intense sweet sugar substitutes include saccharin, aspartame, neotame, acesfulsame potassium and sucralose (Pizzorno et al, 2005). Artificial sweeteners are used in place of sugar for various reasons, but there have been controversies regarding their use with some people claiming that the artificial sweeteners have health risks associated with them.

The most common reason for use of artificial sweeteners is weight loss. Artificial sweeteners have replaced molecules of sugar to maintain a sweet taste but remove the calories associated with sugar remaining with few or no calories. Thus, people desiring to lose weight replace foods with natural sugar with sweetener so that they can eat foods that they would normally eat but decrease their caloric intake. When sugar is consumed excessively tooth decay, obesity and diabetes mellitus (type 2) are common health risks.

Tooth decay as a result of lactic acid accumulation is the most common health hazard associated with sugar intake Streptococcus mutans is an example of an oral bacteria that inhabits dental plaque. The bacteria metabolizes sugar to form lactic acid, which when in high concentration has an effect of demineralization on the tooth. Sugar-rich foods have the effect of increasing glucose levels in the body. This is a health-risk for the diabetes patient because frequent build up of glucose can result in damage to the body organs such as the kidneys, eyes, nerves, and the heart (Malik, Schulze and Hu, 2006).

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