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**Etymology and History:**
– Sanskrit term for sugar led to Persian and Arabic words.
– Arabs introduced sugar into Europe through Sicily and Spain.
– References to sugarcane in Chinese manuscripts date back to the 8th century BCE.
Sugar production in the Indian subcontinent since ancient times.
– Crusaders brought sugar to Europe after campaigns in the Holy Land.
– Venice became a chief sugar refining and distribution center in Europe in the 15th century.

**Health Impact and Consumption:**
– Excessive sugar consumption linked to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and tooth decay.
– World Health Organization recommends reducing free sugar intake to less than 10% of total energy.
– Average person consumes about 24 kilograms of sugar annually.
– North and South Americans consume up to 50kg of sugar per year.
– Africans consume under 20kg of sugar per year.

**Production and Types of Sugar:**
– Global production of sugarcane and sugar beet around two billion tonnes in 2016.
– Lactose is the only sugar found in milk and some dairy products.
– Simple sugars include glucose, fructose, and galactose.
– Compound sugars include sucrose, lactose, and maltose.
– White sugar is refined sucrose.

**Chemistry and Modern History:**
– Glucose is a crucial monosaccharide with the formula C6H12O6.
– Enzymes break glycosidic bonds in disaccharides and polysaccharides for metabolism.
– Christopher Columbus introduced sugar cane to the New World in 1492.
Sugar mills were established in Cuba, Jamaica, and Brazil by the early 16th century.
– The discovery of beet sugar in Germany led to the modern sugar industry.

**Culinary Uses and Impact on Society:**
Sugar sculptures were popular decorations at grand feasts in medieval times.
Sugar rationing occurred during World War I and II.
– Demand for sugar led to the colonization of tropical regions.
Sugar influenced major economic and social changes.
Sugar played a role in shaping the ethnic mix of various nations.

Sugar (Wikipedia)

Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. Simple sugars, also called monosaccharides, include glucose, fructose, and galactose. Compound sugars, also called disaccharides or double sugars, are molecules made of two bonded monosaccharides; common examples are sucrose (glucose + fructose), lactose (glucose + galactose), and maltose (two molecules of glucose). White sugar is a refined form of sucrose. In the body, compound sugars are hydrolysed into simple sugars.

Sugars (clockwise from top-left): white refined, unrefined, unprocessed cane, brown
German sugar sculpture, 1880

Longer chains of monosaccharides (>2) are not regarded as sugars and are called oligosaccharides or polysaccharides. Starch is a glucose polymer found in plants, the most abundant source of energy in human food. Some other chemical substances, such as ethylene glycol, glycerol and sugar alcohols, may have a sweet taste but are not classified as sugar.

Sugars are found in the tissues of most plants. Honey and fruits are abundant natural sources of simple sugars. Sucrose is especially concentrated in sugarcane and sugar beet, making them ideal for efficient commercial extraction to make refined sugar. In 2016, the combined world production of those two crops was about two billion tonnes. Maltose may be produced by malting grain. Lactose is the only sugar that cannot be extracted from plants. It can only be found in milk, including human breast milk, and in some dairy products. A cheap source of sugar is corn syrup, industrially produced by converting corn starch into sugars, such as maltose, fructose and glucose.

Sucrose is used in prepared foods (e.g. cookies and cakes), is sometimes added to commercially available ultra-processed food and beverages, and may be used by people as a sweetener for foods (e.g. toast and cereal) and beverages (e.g. coffee and tea). The average person consumes about 24 kilograms (53 pounds) of sugar each year, with North and South Americans consuming up to 50 kg (110 lb) and Africans consuming under 20 kg (44 lb).

As free sugar consumption grew in the latter part of the 20th century, researchers began to examine whether a diet high in free sugar, especially refined sugar, was damaging to human health. Excessive consumption of free sugar is associated with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and tooth decay. In 2015, the World Health Organization strongly recommended that adults and children reduce their intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake, and encouraged a reduction to below 5%.

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