Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Fructose, also called levulose, has exactly the same chemical formula as glucose, but the atoms are arranged in a different structure. Like glucose, fructose is found in fruits and honey, and certain corn syrups are treated with enzymes to convert their glucose into fructose. It’s also sold in pure crystalline form. Fructose is the sweetest of the common sugars, the most soluble in water (4 parts will dissolve in 1 part room-temperature water), and absorbs and retains water most effectively. Our bodies metabolize fructose more slowly than glucose and sucrose, so it causes a slower rise in blood glucose levels, a quality that makes it preferable to other sugars for diabetics. Fructose melts and begins to caramelize at a much lower temperature than the other sugars do, just above the boiling point of water at 220°F/105°C.