Glucose

Glucose (also called dextrose) is a simple sugar that is found in fruit and vegetables. It is about 75% as sweet as ordinary sugar. It is important in human biology as it is the main fuel used by the body.

It has a very high glycemic index (100) and raises blood sugar quickly if ingested. Because of this it forms the standard for testing for diabetes and insulin resistance. It is not suitable for diabetics in it's refined form. However it does not appear to have the same problems associated with fructose and in fact it seems to have the effect of reducing appetite and calorie intake.

The body needs to maintain a steady level of this sugar in the blood and it has regulating mechanisms to achieve this. Foods that are high in carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes and rice contain plenty of glucose.

However these exist as starch, and this is made up of long chains of glucose molecules bound together as complex carbohydrates. These are broken down during digestion, but this takes time to do, and allows for a more steady rise in sugar levels in the bloodstream.

If a large quantity is ingested it can cause a spike in the blood sugar level putting a strain on the body's regulating mechanism. Complex carbohydrates, particularly whole grains, brown rice and potatoes etc are a safer source of energy.

Uses:
It is used in the food industry as a sweetener and to provide texture to food. It is used in energy drinks and bars. Dextrose tablets are recommended for people suffering from hypoglycemia. It is also used in intravenous drips for certain patients in hospital. It also has industrial uses, and is a raw material in the production of vitamin c and Sorbital.

Benefits:
Provides energy quickly. Excellent during exercise or sport. It is a natural product and is safe to consume in moderation. Does not appear to have the problems associated with fructose, and in this regard is probably safer than ordinary sugar.

It has medicinal uses and is commonly used in a drip for ill patients in hospital.

Concerns:
Not suitable for diabetics. Quickly raises blood sugar level. Harmful to teeth. It is the fuel the body uses, so it is perfectly natural, but large quantities should not be ingested unless during exercise.

Safety Guidelines:
The World Health Organization recommend no more than 50gm refined sugar per day (about 12 small teaspoons) for an average adult and are considering reducing this to 25gm. This would apply to all sugars including dextrose.

WHO guideline for a healthy diet.

CSPI (US) Recommendation

The recommendation issued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (US) for this substance is - CUT BACK

Production:
It is available in a wide variety of plants and can be produces in many ways. The cheapest and most economic method is to produced it from starch using enzymes.

Sold As:
It is a generic product. Sold as dextrose tablets.

How Expensive?
It's cheaper than cane sugar at about 60% of the price, but it is less sweet, so per unit of sweetness it is comparable.

Market Share:
It's very difficult to narrow down an exact production quantity as most data includes various starches and sugars together. It probably represents about 20% of the sweetener market in various forms.

Interesting facts:
It is the main sugar in grapes and is also found in honey. It is, like fructose a monosaccharide meaning that it consists of just one molecule made up of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. The molecular formula is C6H12O6

Approval:
Does not require approval.



  

Conclusions for Glucose

It is a natural sweetener and an important part of the human diet. However very refined forms rarely exist in nature (honey is an exception). The body is not used to large quantities being consumed over a short period of time.

Unless exercising or engaged in sport activity, glucose drinks and dextrose tablets are best avoided. Note: mental exercise also uses this sugar, it is the fuel the brain uses. A few dextrose tablets or sweets can help delay mental fatigue during exams or intensive study.

Name Calories / Gram Sweetness Index Glycemic Index Calories / Spoon-Equiv
Glucose 4 0.75 100 21

Taste: -------- Good
Aftertaste: ---- No
Concerns: ----- Some




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