The Nature of Sugars

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Ordinary sugar is one member of a group of many chemicals, all of which are given the general name sugars. All sugars are made from just three kinds of atoms, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, with the carbon atoms providing a kind of backbone to which the other atoms are attached. Some sugars are simple molecules, while others are made from two or more simple sugars joined together. Glucose and fructose are simple monosaccharides, while table sugar, or sucrose, is a disaccharide made up of one glucose and one fructose joined together.