How Sugars are Made

How Sugars are Made

Sweet Smart satisfies the sweet tooth with a balanced blend of natural and rare sugars that deliver a well-rounded sweetness with no unpleasant aftertaste. It contains sugars typically found in fruits and vegetables, such as Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose, Maltose and Sorbitol (a sugar alcohol found in fruits). It also contains the rare sugar Allulose (aka Psicose), which occurs in many fruits. But how are these sugars created and what is their purpose in nature?

Plants use the sun’s energy to make various sugar molecules out of carbon dioxide and water in a process called Photosynthesis. This conversion of sunlight energy into chemical energy called sugar is made possible by the green pigment Chlorphyll.

A leaf of a plant may be viewed as a solar collector crammed full of photosynthetic cells. Water and carbon dioxide enter the leaf’s cells and photosynthesis converts them to sugars and oxygen. The oxygen is released into the air. Plants use some of the sugar as food and store any surplus as starch and fibers like cellulose that they use to grow.

Plant cells use cellular respiration to provide the energy they need to grow and repair themselves. This happens in the cell’s mitochondria with each cell having approximately 1,000 mitochondria. Oxygen and the sugar glucose enter the cell and head for the mitochondria, where they are combined in a reaction that releases chemical energy and produces the byproducts carbon dioxide and water that are excreted or recycled for photosynthesis.

All plants store sugar in their edible products. Sugar content of most fruits and vegetables is the disaccharide sucrose followed by the monosaccharides Fructose and Glucose. Some fruits, like apples and pears, contain more fructose. Sugar cane and sugar beets have a much higher sucrose content. Sucrose or ‘table sugar’ is made up of one molecule of fructose and one molecule of glucose.

The human body only absorbs three monosaccharides directly during digestion: fructose, glucose and galactose. These monosaccharides are typically a 5- or 6-carbon ring molecule (glucose is 6 and fructose is 5). A disaccharide sugar is two of these rings chemically bonded together. During digestion, the disaccharide sucrose is split into fructose and glucose by the enzyme sucrase before absorption into blood. Similarly, the disaccharide maltose, is converted by maltase into two molecules of glucose. Even proteins while going through the digestive process, release the sugar glucose in addition to nitrogen before assimilation or absorption in the small intestine.

Glucose is the most important energy source for all biological systems. Brain cells must have a constant supply of glucose and the liver or muscles use glucose for energy or store it as glycogen. Other sugars like fructose and galactose are first converted to glucose in the liver so they can be used by the body’s cells.

The rare sugar Allulose has the same chemical formula as fructose but differs in the spatial orientation of one hydroxyl group on a specific carbon atom. Therefore, Allulose and Fructose are Isomers of each other. Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Allulose is naturally found in small quantities in wheat, figs, raisins, jackfruit, brown sugar and molasses. It’s metabolized much slower than most sugars and therefore has fewer calories (about 10% the calories of sucrose). It does not increase blood glucose or insulin levels and doesn’t promote tooth decay.

The European Food Safety Authority has stated that fructose is preferable over glucose and sucrose in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages because of its lower effect on blood sugar levels after a meal. The fiber content of a meal also plays a role in slowing the absorption of sugars in the small intestine. Whether soluble (Glucans from oatmeal) or insoluble (e.g., bran fiber), fiber keeps the digestive process moving. Sweet Smart has 4 grams of soluble Inulin fiber from Chicory roots per tablespoon serving. Inulin passes through the small intestine undigested and maintains a healthy environment in the large intestine by helping beneficial bacteria to flourish and grow. These bacteria break down inulin and convert it to useful compounds for the large intestine.

Sweet Smart’s sugar content profile per Tablespoon serving (5 grams) is below:

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