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Sugar is the generalised name for a class of chemically-related sweet-flavored substances, most of which are used as food. They are carbohydrates, composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. There are various types of sugar derived from different sources. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose and galactose. The table or granulated sugar most customarily used as food is sucrose, a disaccharide (in the body, sucrose hydrolyses into fructose and glucose). Other disaccharides include maltose and lactose. Chemically-different substances may also have a sweet taste, but are not classified as sugars. Some are used as lower-calorie food substitutes for sugar described as artificial sweeteners.

Granulated sugars are used at the table to sprinkle on foods and to sweeten hot drinks and in home baking to add sweetness and texture to cooked products. They are also used as a preservative to prevent micro-organisms from growing and perishable food from spoiling as in jams, marmalades and candied fruits.

Milled sugars are ground to a fine powder. They are used as icing sugar, for dusting foods and in baking and confectionery.

Screened sugars are crystalline products separated according to the size of the grains. They are used for decorative table sugars, for blending in dry mixes and in baking and confectionery.

Brown sugars are granulated sugars with the grains coated in molasses to produce a light, dark or demerara sugar. They are used in baked goods, confectionery and toffees.

Sugar cubes are white or brown granulated sugars pressed together in block shape. They are used to sweeten drinks.

Liquid sugars are strong syrups consisting of 67% granulated sugar dissolved in water. They are used in the food processing of a wide range of products including beverages, ice cream and jams.

Invert sugars and syrups are blended to manufacturers specifications and are used in breads, cakes and beverages for adjusting sweetness, aiding moisture retention and avoiding crystallization of sugars.

Syrups and treacles are dissolved invert sugars heated to develop the characteristic flavors. Treacles have added molasses. They are used in a range of baked goods and confectionery including toffees and licorice.

Low calorie sugars and sweeteners are often made of maltodextrin with added sweeteners. Maltodextrin is an easily digestible synthetic polysaccharide consisting of short chains of glucose molecules and is made by the partial hydrolysis of starch. The added sweeteners are often aspartame, saccharin, stevia or sucralose.

Polyols are sugar alcohols and are used in chewing gums where a sweet flavor is required that lasts for a prolonged time in the mouth.

In winemaking, fruit sugars are converted into alcohol by a fermentation process. If the must( freshly pressed fruit juice (usually grape juice) that contains the skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit ) formed by pressing the fruit has a low sugar content, additional sugar may be added to raise the alcohol content of the wine in a process called chaptalization. In the production of sweet wines, fermentation may be halted before it has run its full course, leaving behind some residual sugar that gives the wine its sweet taste.

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