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Sugar
Introduction
Sugar originated from the Arabic word "sharkara" and is derived from the sanskrit world "sharkara". Sugar is an important part of the daily diet and  forming a class of edible substances which includes  sucrose, lactose, and fructose. It provides the human body with requisite carbohydrates and is basically extracted from sugar cane and sugar beet.  Found in fruits, honey, sorghum, sugar maple and in several other sources, it is the main ingredient of candy which is loved by children the world over. Yet, it has been  blamed for causing tooth decay and excess consumption of sugar has been associated with a host of ailments like diabetes, obesity, weight gain, depression, joint pain, fatigue and insulin resistance and even cancer. Sugar is present in various forms in fruits, honey,

maple syrup and other natural sources. It is extracted by an intricate process, whereby the pulp is extracted first and then, the remaining is used for producing the sugar. Sugar has wide variety of uses and is used for baking, sweets, alcoholic beverages, and even in the soap we use. Further, it is also used as a food preservative and in confectionery items.

 

History

Sugar is said to have originated in India. During the Gupta dynasty in India, the extraction of sugar was clearly known to the Indians. Experts identify the Pacific region and certain parts of India like the North East as real locations where the sugar cultivation was practised. This was taken to the western hemisphere by the Arab traders who borrowed the techniques from India and subsequently, set up mills to commercially produce this highly useful agricultural product. The production of sugar spread to countries like Spain and the Portuguese took it to South America.

During the eighteenth century, sugar production became increasingly mechanized and sugar

market went through a phase of great boom. New technology was developed as sugar became a very popular item and specialized procedures were developed for the large scale processing of sugar. At first, the sugar was used mainly for tea and then, went into the making of  confectionery and chocolates. The Dutch took sugar to the Carribean Islands and today, this area is the largest source of sugar in the world. With the introduction of sugar plantations in the Carribean islands on a large scale, the price of sugar fell substantially and  in Britain, all classes of people took to  sugar and it has become a part of their routine. Earlier, it was relegated to the upper echelons of society, it, then, became a common commodity and became sufficiently cheaper. Maximum consumption of sugar has been recorded from Belgium  and the least consumption is from Ethopia with an amount of three kilos per year.
 
Sources of Sugar
Generally, sugar is produced from plants like sugarcane and sugar beet. The sugarcane plant is very thick with long grasses. A perennial crop, it is grown in the various tropical and subtropical areas. The stalks of the sugarcane is the exact location, from where the sweet sap is extracted. Sugar beet has the highest sugar content from among  the beetroot family and  this variety is specifically cultivated for high quality sugar production. In addition, sugar is produced from sweet sorghum, maple, honey, corn sugar, etc. Of a 180 countries of the world, around a 100 of them  make sugar from the  sugar beet and cane.
 
Types of sugar
Sugar is generally derived from the liquid of the sugar cane or sugar beet. It is not as sweet as the refined sugar. Molasses is one of the resulting byproducts of refining sugar and is much more nutritional than the table sugar. High in carbohydrates, it provides energy to the body. As part of simple carbohydrate, sugars include the monosaccharides, trisaccharides and oligosaccarides. Monosaccharides includes fructose and galactose. Disaccharides is usually available as sucrose, lactose, and maltose.

Raw sugars consist of varying shades of yellow to brown sugars and is processed by boiling till
it solidifies. From sugar beet juice, the raw beet sugars are extracted and are then used to fabricate white sugar. Raw sugars include demerera, muscovada and turbinado. These are available in crystalline and loaf forms, where the moulds are then allowed to dry up and the resulting product is called jaggery or gur.  Raw sugar is not so popular in South America. Mill white sugar is produced by exposing the sugar to sulfur dioxide but it retains the coloured impurities.

Blanco direct is a white sugar used much more in India and Asia and is less purer than the white sugar. It undergoes  the process of phosphation and is more devoid of impurities. White refined sugar, popular in the West, is processed  by dissolving the raw sugar and purifying it with phosphoric acid or by filtration strategies. White sugar is available in granulated form. Granulated sugar includes coarse grained sugars such as sanding sugars, caster sugar and superfine powdered sugar and they are divided on the basis of fineness of grades.

Brown sugars are formed when sugars form fine crystals with high molasses content or from coating white refined sugar with a cane molasses syrup. Colour and taste becomes stronger with increasing molasses content . On being exposed to air, they tend to harden and proper handling of this. Natural sugars are found in their natural form and covers the most unrefined sugars and includes the fruits, grains and vegetables. The World Health Organization has approved the natural sugars as carbohydrates for unrestricted consumption purposes.