According to the Canadian Sugar Institute (CSI), sucrose is a naturally occurring carbohydrate in nature. Sucrose is processed into table sugar and used in many foods because it is palatable, highly available, inexpensive and simple to process. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends limiting added sugar (sucrose) in the diet 3. Sugar is high in calories but offers few essential nutrients. Individuals who consume excessive amounts of sugar are at risk for weight gain, and children who eat a lot of sugar have a higher incidence of dental caries.
Fruits and Vegetables
Sucrose occurs naturally in all fruits and vegetables. Sugar cane and sugar beets have the highest concentrations of sucrose and are the most common sources of white table sugar. Canned fruits, some dried fruits, jams and jellies all contain sucrose.
Sucrose does not occur naturally in milk. It is, however, used to sweeten dairy products like ice cream, yogurt and sherbet.
Soda, artificially flavored juices and drinks, sweetened coffee and tea, flavored milk and alcoholic mixers all contain sucrose. The CSI says sugar is also used in the fermentation process for some alcohols, such as wine.
According to Colorado State University, sucrose can be processed into molasses, brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar. Sugar in food inhibits microbial growth, adds moisture, prevents foods from going stale, enhances texture and color and prevents ice crystals from forming in frozen foods. Sucrose is in many commercial grain products like breads, pastas, tortillas, cakes, pastries, cookies, crackers and other baked goods. Candy, chocolate, gelatin and many condiments all contain sucrose.
- American Diabetes Association: Carbohydrates
- “Journal of the American Dietetic Association”; Position of the American Dietetic Association: use of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners; American Dietetic Association; 2004
- United States Department of Agriculture: Dietary guidelines for Americans 2005
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images