Table sugar

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Sugar is a sweet ingredient added to foods such as cookies, cakes, and pastries. In temperate climates it is usually extracted from beets, and in tropical climates typically comes from sugarcane.

Labeling on foods now includes the amount of added sugar, which is thought to be particularly harmful to one's health.

Sugar is sweet because it consists almost entirely of sucrose (C12H22O11), which is a solid white disaccharide that alters the flavor of foods. Sucrose is a simple carbohydrate.[1] It is broken down by the body into glucose and fructose. When digested, sugar provides approximately 110 calories per ounce (4 calories per gram).[2]

Many processed food products such as Twinkies, children's breakfast cereals, and candy bars contain large amounts of sugar. When consumed in large quantities, sugar is unhealthy, and may lead to tooth decay, obesity, or diabetes.

Until the 1990s, it was generally believed that consuming sugary foods caused hyperactivity in children. This notion was never tested scientifically until a study was done in 1999.[3] The study found that sugar consumption was associated with children moving around a lot but was not the cause. For example, kids get excited a lot at birthday parties, where they also eat cake and ice cream. But it's actually the party atmosphere that prompts the extra activity.

Sugar plays an important role in the commerce of many countries, including Jamaica, Guatemala, and Bolivia.


  1. Carbohydrates
  2. Sugar, The Natural Sweetener
  3. CNN - Busting the sugar-hyperactivity myth - November 22, 1999