Sucrose is an organic compound formed by the remains of two monosaccharides: glucose and fructose. It is found in chlorophyll-bearing plants, sugarcane, beets, and maize. Let us consider in more detail what it is.
Sucrose is formed by the detachment of a water molecule from glycosidic residues of simple saccharides (under the influence of enzymes).
The structural formula of the compound is С12Н22О11.
The disaccharide is soluble in ethanol, water, methanol, insoluble in diethyl ether. Heating the compound above the melting point (160 degrees) leads to caramelization of the melt (decomposition and staining). Interestingly, under intense lighting or cooling (with liquid air), the substance exhibits phosphorescent properties.
Sucrose does not react with solutions of Benedict, Feling, Tollens and does not exhibit ketone and aldehyde properties. However, when interacting with copper hydroxide, the carbohydrate “behaves” like a polyhydric alcohol, forming bright blue metal sugars. This reaction is used in the food industry (in sugar factories) to isolate and purify “sweet” substances from impurities.
When an aqueous solution of sucrose is heated in an acidic environment, in the presence of an invertase enzyme or strong acids, the compound is hydrolyzed. The result is a mixture of glucose and fructose, called inert sugar. The hydrolysis of the disaccharide is accompanied by a change in the sign of rotation of the solution: from positive to negative (inversion).
The resulting liquid is used to sweeten foods, obtain artificial honey, prevent the crystallization of carbohydrates, create caramelized molasses, and produce polyhydric alcohols.
The main isomers of an organic compound with a similar molecular formula are maltose and lactose.
The body of mammals, including humans, is not adapted for the assimilation of sucrose in its pure form. Therefore, when a substance enters the oral cavity, under the influence of saliva amylase, hydrolysis starts.
The main cycle of sucrose digestion occurs in the small intestine, where, in the presence of the enzyme sucrose, glucose and fructose are released. After this, monosaccharides, with the help of carrier proteins (translocases) activated by insulin, are delivered to the cells of the intestinal tract by facilitated diffusion. Along with this, glucose penetrates the mucous membrane of the organ through active transport (due to the concentration gradient of sodium ions). Interestingly, the mechanism of its delivery to the small intestine depends on the concentration of the substance in the lumen. With a significant content of the compound in the organ, the first “transportation” scheme “works”, and with a small content the second one.
The main monosaccharide from the intestines to the blood is glucose. After its absorption, half of the simple carbohydrates are transported through the portal vein to the liver, and the rest enters the bloodstream through the capillaries of intestinal villi, where it is subsequently extracted by cells of organs and tissues. After penetration, glucose is broken down into six carbon dioxide molecules, as a result of which a large number of energy molecules (ATP) are released. The remaining saccharides are absorbed in the intestine by facilitated diffusion.
Benefit and daily requirement
Sucrose metabolism is accompanied by the release of adenosine triphosphoric acid (ATP), which is the main “supplier” of energy to the body. It supports the normal blood cells, the vital activity of nerve cells and muscle fibers. In addition, the unclaimed portion of saccharide is used by the body to build glycogen, fat and protein – carbon structures. Interestingly, the planned breakdown of the stored polysaccharide provides a stable concentration of glucose in the blood.
Given that sucrose is an “empty” carbohydrate, the daily dose should not exceed a tenth of the consumed kilocalories.
To maintain health, nutritionists recommend limiting the intake of sweets to the following safe norms per day:
- for babies from 1 to 3 years – 10 – 15 grams;
- for children under 6 years – 15 – 25 grams;
- for adults 30 – 40 grams per day.
Remember, “norm” refers not only to sucrose in its pure form, but also “hidden” sugar contained in drinks, vegetables, berries, fruits, confectionery, pastries. Therefore, for children under one and a half years old, it is better to exclude the product from the diet.
The energy value of 5 grams of sucrose (1 teaspoon) is 20 kilocalories.
Signs of a lack of compound in the body:
- depressive state;
- cognitive decline;
- hair loss;
- nervous exhaustion.
The need for disaccharide increases with:
- intense brain activity (due to the expenditure of energy to maintain the passage of an impulse along the nerve fiber axon – dendrite);
- toxic load on the body (sucrose performs a barrier function, protecting liver cells with paired glucuronic and sulfuric acids).
Remember, it is important to be careful with increasing the daily rate of sucrose, since excess substances in the body are fraught with functional disorders of the pancreas, pathologies of the cardiovascular organs, and the appearance of caries.
In the process of hydrolysis of sucrose, in addition to glucose and fructose, free radicals are formed that block the action of protective antibodies. Molecular ions “paralyze” the human immune system, as a result of which the body becomes vulnerable to the invasion of foreign “agents”. This phenomenon underlies hormonal imbalance and the development of functional disorders.
Negative effects of sucrose on the body:
- causes a violation of mineral metabolism;
- “Bombards” the insular apparatus of the pancreas, causing organ pathologies (diabetes, prediabetes, metabolic syndrome);
- reduces the functional activity of enzymes;
- displaces copper, chromium and B vitamins from the body, increasing the risk of developing sclerosis, thrombosis, heart attack, and blood vessel pathologies;
- reduces resistance to infections;
- acidifies the body, provoking the occurrence of acidosis;
- disrupts the absorption of calcium and magnesium in the digestive tract;
- increases the acidity of gastric juice;
- increases the risk of ulcerative colitis;
- potentiates obesity, the development of parasitic infestations, the appearance of hemorrhoids, pulmonary emphysema;
- increases the level of adrenaline (in children);
- provokes exacerbation of gastric ulcer, 12 – duodenal ulcer, chronic appendicitis, asthma attacks
- increases the risk of heart ischemia, osteoporosis;
- potentiates the occurrence of caries, periodontal disease;
- causes drowsiness (in children);
- increases systolic pressure;
- causes headache (due to the formation of uric acid salts);
- “Pollutes” the body, provoking the occurrence of food allergies;
- violates the structure of protein, and sometimes genetic structures;
- causes toxicosis in pregnant women;
- changes the collagen molecule, potentiating the appearance of early gray hair;
- worsens the functional state of the skin, hair, nails.
If the concentration of sucrose in the blood is greater than the body needs, the excess glucose is converted to glycogen, which is deposited in the muscles and liver. At the same time, an excess of substances in the organs potentiates the formation of a “depot” and leads to the transformation of the polysaccharide into fatty compounds.
How to minimize the harm of sucrose?
Given that sucrose potentiates the synthesis of the hormone of joy (serotonin), the intake of sweet foods leads to the normalization of the psycho-emotional balance of a person.
In this case, it is important to know how to neutralize the harmful properties of the polysaccharide.
- Replace white sugar with natural sweets (dried fruits, honey), maple syrup, natural stevia.
- Exclude high glucose foods from your daily menu (cakes, sweets, cakes, cookies, juices, shop drinks, white chocolate).
- Make sure that the products purchased do not contain white sugar, starch syrup.
- Use antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and prevent collagen damage by complex sugars. Natural antioxidants include cranberries, blackberries, sauerkraut, citrus fruits, and herbs. Among the inhibitors of the vitamin series, there are: beta – carotene, tocopherol, calcium, L – ascorbic acid, biflavanoids.
- Eat two almonds after a sweet meal (to reduce the rate of sucrose absorption in the blood).
- Drink one and a half liters of clean water daily.
- Rinse your mouth after each meal.
- Go in for sports. Physical activity stimulates the release of the natural hormone of joy, as a result of which the mood rises and the craving for sweet foods decreases.
To minimize the harmful effects of white sugar on the human body, it is recommended to give preference to sweeteners.
These substances, depending on the origin, are divided into two groups:
- natural (stevia, xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol, erythritol);
- artificial (aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium, cyclamate).
When choosing sweeteners, it is better to give preference to the first group of substances, since the benefits of the second are not fully understood. At the same time, it is important to remember that the abuse of sugar alcohols (xylitol, mannitol, sorbitol) is fraught with the occurrence of diarrhea.
Natural sources of “pure” sucrose are sugarcane stalks, sugar beet root crops, coconut palm juice, Canadian maple, and birch.
In addition, the seed germ of some cereals (maize, sugar sorghum, wheat) is rich in the compound.
Consider which foods contain a “sweet” polysaccharide.
Table No. 1 “Sources of sucrose”
|product Name||Sucrose content per 100 grams of food raw material, grams|
|White sugar (beet)||99,9|
|Brown sugar (cane, maple)||85|
|Gingerbread cookies, marmalade||71-76|
|Dates, apple pastille||70|
|Prunes, raisins (raisins)||66|
|Grapes (muscat, raisins)||61|
|Corn (sweet, frozen, white)||8,5|
|Tangerines, clementines, pineapples (sweet varieties)||6|
|Apricots, Cashews (Raw)||5,8|
|Green peas (fresh)||5|
|Nectarines, peaches, plums||4,7|
|Bananas, turmeric (spice)||2,3|
|Apples, pears (sweet varieties)||2|
|Walnuts, onions (fresh)||1|
|Gooseberries, pumpkin, potatoes, cherries||0,6|
In addition, sucrose in small amounts (less than 0,4 grams per 100 grams of product) is found in all chlorophyll-bearing plants (herbs, berries, fruits, vegetables).
To extract this carbohydrate on an industrial scale, physical and mechanical methods of exposure are used.
Consider how beet sucrose (white sugar) is made
- Refined sugar beets are ground in mechanical beet slicers.
- Chopped raw materials are placed in diffusers, and then hot water is passed through them. As a result, 90 – 95% sucrose is washed out from the beets.
- The resulting solution is treated with milk of lime (to precipitate impurities). During the reaction of calcium hydroxide with organic acids contained in the solution, poorly soluble calcium salts are formed, and when interacting with sucrose, soluble calcium sugar is formed.
- To precipitate calcium hydroxide, carbon dioxide is passed through a “sweet” solution.
- After that it is filtered, and then evaporated in vacuums – apparatus. Isolated sugar – raw has a yellow tint, since it contains coloring substances.
- To remove impurities, sucrose is redissolved in water, and then the solution is passed through activated carbon.
- The “pure” mixture is re-evaporated in vacuum devices. The result is refined (white) sugar.
- The resulting product is subjected to crystallization by centrifugation or splitting of compact “sugar heads” into small pieces.
A brown solution (molasses), which remains after the sucrose is extracted, is used to produce citric acid.
- Food industry. Disaccharide is used as an independent food product (sugar), preservative (in high concentrations), a component of culinary products, alcoholic beverages, sauces. In addition, artificial honey is obtained from sucrose.
- Biochemistry. The polysaccharide is used as a substrate in the preparation (fermentation) of glycerol, ethanol, butanol, dextran, levulinic and citric acids.
- Pharmacology. Sucrose (from sugarcane) is used in the manufacture of powders, medicines, syrups, including for newborns (to give a sweet taste or preservation).
In addition, sucrose in combination with fatty acids is used as non-ionic detergents (substances that improve solubility in aqueous media) in agriculture, cosmetology, and in the creation of detergents.
Sucrose is a “sweet” carbohydrate formed in the fruits, stems and seeds of plants during photosynthesis.
Upon entry into the human body, the disaccharide breaks down into glucose and fructose, releasing a large amount of energy resource.
The leaders in sucrose are sugarcane, Canadian maple juice, and sugar beets.
In moderate amounts (20 – 40 grams per day), the substance is useful for the human body, since it activates the brain, supplies cells with energy, and protects the liver from toxins. However, the abuse of sucrose, especially in childhood, leads to the appearance of functional disorders, hormonal failure, obesity, tooth decay, periodontal disease, prediabetic state, parasitic infestations. Therefore, before taking the product, including the introduction of sweets in infant formulas, it is advisable to evaluate what its benefits and harms.
To minimize damage to health, white sugar is replaced with stevia, unrefined sugar – raw, honey, fructose (fruit sugar), dried fruits.