Galactose is a simple sugar. It is one of three monosaccharides found in nature, the other two being Glucose and Fructose.
It forms the building block for the important sugar Lactose which is found in milk. Lactose is a disaccharide made up of one molecule of glucose and one molecule of galactose linked by a bond called a glycosidic linkage.
It is found in in small quantities in milk (apart from its presence in lactose) and is synthesized by the body. Also found in peas. It is very important in the production of lactose for mothers who are breastfeeding. But the body is able to produce it from glucose, so it is not essential in the diet. It is not really useful as a sweetener, as it is only one third as sweet as sugar. However it has a low glycemic index similar to Fructose, but none of the problems associated with that sugar. Thus it can be considered safe in moderate quantities for diabetics. It would likely be useful as an addition to sports drinks etc.
Low glycemic index. It is a simple sugar and so should be useful during exercise. It must be converted into glucose before it can provide energy in the bloodstream, and so it has a more gradual effect on blood sugar level. Unlike Fructose it is safe.
Not many uses at the moment. In fact most people are not even aware of this sugar. The food industry use it to produce gums as a food additive. Some body building sources recommend it as the carbohydrate of choice during exercise, but it is not yet widely available.
Can be harmful to teeth if consumed to excess. High doses can have a mildly laxative effect. Otherwise harmless.
Can be produced from Glucose.
Not usually sold on its own.
Not very water soluble, unlike most other sugars. Not suitable for cooking. Used in the cells of the body and brain but not required as an essential part of the diet. Lactose free milk is becoming widely available in supermarkets. The producers add the enzyme lactase which breaks down the lactose into glucose and galactose.
Does not require approval.
Conclusions and Summary:
It does not have any special value as a sweetener. However it has a low glycemic index and so may have some potential for diabetics and for use in sports drinks etc. It is one of the three simple sugars found in nature, but is not essential in the diet.
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