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Different Types of Sugars

Krista S

As any dietitian would agree, it is crucial to understand the different types of sugar available and their properties. Understanding the different types of sugar and their effects on our health can help us make informed choices about the types of food we consume. Here are the most common types of sugar and their properties:

  1. Sucrose: This is the most used type of sugar and is found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, and table sugar. It is composed of glucose and fructose and is easily metabolized by the body.
  2. Glucose: Also known as dextrose, glucose is the primary source of energy for the body. It is found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, and grains. It is quickly absorbed and used by the body, making it an excellent energy source.
  3. Fructose: This type of sugar is naturally found in fruits and is often used as a sweetener in processed foods. Unlike glucose, fructose is metabolized differently by the body and can lead to an increase in body fat if consumed in excess.
  4. Lactose: This is a type of sugar found in milk and dairy products. It is composed of glucose and galactose and is easily digested by those who are lactose intolerant.
  5. Maltose: This type of sugar is found in grains, such as barley and malt, and is often used in the production of beer and other fermented products. It is composed of two glucose molecules and is slowly metabolized by the body.

It’s important to remember that while sugar can provide a quick source of energy, it’s best to consume it in moderation. Excessive consumption of sugar can lead to health problems, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

When using sugar in cooking and baking, it’s important to keep in mind the specific properties of each type of sugar and how they will affect the outcome of the dish. Additionally, moderation is key when it comes to sugar consumption, regardless of the type used.

How the different sugars can be used

Here are some recommendations for using different types of sugar while cooking:

  1. Sucrose: Can be used in a variety of cooking applications, including baking, as a sweetener in drinks, and candy making.
  2. Glucose: Often used in baking as it provides a quick source of energy and helps retain moisture in baked goods.
  3. Fructose: Can be used in baking, but because it is sweeter than sucrose, less may be needed. Fructose is also commonly used as a sweetener in processed foods and drinks.
  4. Lactose: Can be used as a sweetener in dairy-based products, such as ice cream, and in baking.
  5. Maltose: Used in the production of beer and other fermented products, maltose can also be used as a sweetener in baking and cooking.


A sugar substitute that is recommended by many dietitians is Stevia. Stevia is a natural, plant-based sweetener that has been used for centuries and is much lower in calories and carbohydrates than traditional sugars. It has a minimal effect on blood sugar levels and is a safe option for people with diabetes.

Stevia can be used as a substitute for sugar in a variety of cooking and baking applications and can also be used to sweeten drinks. It is available in both liquid and powdered forms and can often be found in health food stores and online.

As with any dietary change, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before making a switch to ensure it is the right choice for your individual needs.

Here are 5 recipes you can try using the different types of sugar outlined above:

Sucrose – Simple Syrup Recipe:


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water.
  2. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  4. Store the syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Glucose – Glazed Carrots Recipe:


  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. glucose syrup
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the sliced carrots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the glucose syrup and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the carrots are tender and coated in the glaze.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Fructose – Fruity Smoothie Recipe:


  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. fructose


  1. Add the banana, frozen berries, almond milk, and fructose to a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Lactose – Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe:


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lactose
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, whole milk, sugar, lactose, vanilla extract, and salt until well combined.
  2. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 4 hours, until firm.

Maltose – Honey Glazed Ham Recipe:


  • 1 (8-10 lb.) bone-in ham
  • 1 cup maltose
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Place the ham in a roasting pan and bake for 1 hour.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the maltose, mustard, and apple cider vinegar.
  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is well combined and heated through.
  5. Brush the glaze over the ham and return to the oven.
  6. Bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the ham reaches 145°F. Serve and enjoy!

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