Carbohydrates are essential for the functioning of the body. They play a vital role in energy production in the body. Carbohydrates are further classified into two types monosaccharide and disaccharide.
The two most common examples of monosaccharides are glucose and fructose. Both forms of monosaccharides seem similar but have distinct differences.
- Fructose is a sugar naturally found in fruits and vegetables, while sugar refers to refined cane or beet sugar.
- Fructose has a lower glycemic index than sugar, meaning it doesn’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, while sugar can cause blood sugar levels to spike quickly.
- Fructose is sweeter than sugar, so less is needed to achieve the same level of sweetness.
Fructose vs Sugar
The difference between fructose and sugar is that fructose does not increase the blood sugar or glucose level rapidly while sugar increases the blood sugar level rapidly. Fructose is considered harmful only in excess amounts, while sugar is considered harmful in minimum amounts also.
Fructose is derived from sugar cane, corn, sugar beets, and other fruits. Fructose is also known as fruit sugar. The most commercially produced fructose is high fructose corn syrup, shortened as HFCS.
The molecular formula of fructose is C6H12O6. Fructose is a cheap and sweeter flavouring agent and preservative.
On the other hand, sugar is a form of Carbohydrate. Sugar which is simple and unbounded, can be classified into two types monosaccharide and disaccharide. The most common form of sugar is table sugar which is consumed regularly.
Sugar plays a vital role in the production of glucose, which acts as fuel for the body. Excessive level of sugar is harmful to the body and can affect the other organs of the body.
|Parameters of Comparison||Fructose||Sugar|
|Source||Plants||Green plants, vegetables and from animals through milk|
|Type of carbohydrate||Monosaccharide||Monosaccharide or disaccharide|
|Uses||Fructose is mainly used in processed and packaged foods like energy drinks, flavoured water, and other low-calorie products and is used in adding volume or texture, coating, and flavouring in medicines.||It is also used in processed foods and acts as an antioxidant and preservative. It is also used in bakeries for the property of caramelization|
What is Fructose?
Fructose is also known as fruit sugar. It is a simple sugar that occurs in honey, fruits, corn syrup, and other products and their derivatives. Fructose is very sweet.
Due to its increased sweetness, it is widely used in soft drinks and other food which contains high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Fructose has the potential to be directly absorbed into the bloodstream during the digestion process.
Generally, fructose does not have any impact on the production of insulin and does not affect blood glucose levels. The GI value of fructose is lower, which is around 19.
Initially, fructose was considered as a good alternative to table sugar, but later researchers contradicted this consideration. Fructose is metabolized in the liver.
This helps the blood glucose or sugar level to remain constant after fructose consumption and not fluctuate rapidly.
After consumption of most of the other simple sugars, the blood sugar level rises, but not in the case of fructose.
But in excessive fructose consumption, the liver cannot process the heavy amount and converts it into fat, which is later carried in the blood and stored in triglycerides. Fructose is widely used in the food industry in crystalline form.
Various researches have proven that excessive fructose levels can increase the appetite and impair the body’s ability to use the insulin produced. This further suppresses the circulating ghrelin, which is the appetite-stimulating hormone in the body.
What is Sugar?
Sugar is the generic term given to soluble carbohydrates that taste sweet. Sugar can be simple sugar, known as monosaccharides, or compound sugar, known as disaccharides.
Longer chains of monosaccharides are known as oligosaccharides or polysaccharides. Such longer chains are not considered as sugar.
Common examples of monosaccharides are glucose, fructose, and galactose, while common examples of disaccharides are sucrose, lactose, and maltose. The most abundant natural sources of simple sugar are honey, fruits, and the tissues of plants.
Most of the simple unbounded sugars are made from plants, while lactose is the only sugar that is found in milk and dairy products and not in plants.
The cheapest source of sugar is corn sugar. The Indian subcontinent was the first to cultivate sugar on a large scale. Sugar cane was the native source of sugar in the Asian continent.
The word sugar is derived from the sun script word “Sarkaar” and the French word “Sucre”. The GI of sugar is 65, and the pH of sugar is 7. Though different types of sugar have different GI values, the value of 65 is for table sugar.
Starchy foods generally have a higher GI.
Sugar can turn hard and lumpy in moisture; therefore, storing it in a cool and dry place is always advised. Sugar is used as a sweetener. It is used widely in baking and confectionery for icing and other properties.
It is also used as a preservative and antioxidant in the food industry. It has a vital role in the pharmaceutical industry as it is used for coating, flavouring, and adding volume to medicines.
Main Differences Between Fructose and Sugar
- Fructose is a monosaccharide, while sugar is a large term and includes monosaccharides as well as disaccharides.
- Fructose is sweeter than sugar.
- Fructose does not cause a rapid increase in the blood sugar level, while sugar causes a rapid increase in the blood sugar level.
- High fructose level increases appetite and promotes obesity, while sugar in high quantity increases comparatively less appetite and obesity.
- Fructose is derived from plants, while sugar is obtained from plants as well as animals.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.