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Thread: Sugar

  1. #1 Sugar 
    Moderator Moderator AlexP's Avatar
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    On carbohydrates, Wikipedia says "Carbohydrates are chemical compounds that contain oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon atoms, and no other elements. They consist of monosaccharide sugars of varying chain lengths and that have the general chemical formula Cn(H2O)n or are derivatives of such." So carbohydrates consist of monosaccharide sugars, but then what is the definition of a sugar?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Bachelors Degree The P-manator's Avatar
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    Sugar is not the proper term for what you may be thinking of, sucrose, (C12H22O11). Sugar is the main term given to refined sugar cane.


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  4. #3  
    Moderator Moderator AlexP's Avatar
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    Dictionary.com says a sugar is "Any of a class of water-soluble crystalline carbohydrates, including sucrose and lactose, having a characteristically sweet taste and classified as monosaccharides, disaccharides, and trisaccharides." So, is it specifically sweetness that makes something a sugar?
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  5. #4  
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    I guess so.
    Pierre

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  6. #5  
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    Hi chemboy

    Let me start by saying that wikipedia entry is pretty poor and factually incorrect on a number of important points.

    I don't like the word sugar, I prefer the term carbohydrate, or even better, saccharide.

    The biochemical definition of a saccharide is a molecule with the general structure [C(H20)]n (where n = 3 or greater) but this is an oversimplification as amino, sulfate and phosphate groups can also be present on sugars. These are usually derivatives, ie [C(H2O)]n molecules which have been modified by enzymes; however, they are still considered saccharides.

    All monosaccharides are carbohydrates BUT not all carbohydrates are monosaccharides. These monomeric molecules can be polymerized to form disaccharides, trisaccharides etc al the way up to polysaccharides.

    The biochemical definition of a sugar is any simple carbohydrate (monosaccharide or small di-, tri- polymers). Anything larger is termed a polysaccharide.

    Finally, most but not all sugars are sweet!
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