In baking, we sometimes limit ourselves into thinking that white and brown sugar are the only viable types of sugar. But the sweet tastes can vary, due to a wide variety of different sugars now available in super stores. With this in mind, which sugar is the sweetest?
Fructose, such as fructose found in high fructose corn syrup, is the sweetest sugar on the market. Although fructose is the sweetest sugar, the sugar substitute sucralose, is actually much sweeter than fructose or traditional sugars.
All sugars are sweet and contain large amounts of calories and carbohydrates, but some sugars are sweeter than others. In this guide, we will take a look at which sugar has the sweetest taste. We will explore this by looking at the differences between the sweetest naturally occurring sugar and synthetic sugars.
What is sugar?
Human beings have been eating sugar for more than 2,000 years, but many of us misunderstand its most basic characteristics.
We are all familiar with table sugar, and its sweet taste and granular texture. We know that some sugars can be incredibly sweet or just mildly sweet.
But sugar is also far beyond table sugar or simple sugar, it is also a naturally occurring substance known as fruit sugar.
There is also milk sugar, as well as sugar cane and sugar beets, which are plants and root vegetables packed with natural sugar.
Sugar is a sweet substance with the scientific name sucrose. Sucrose can be found in nearly all plants, and even complex organisms, like us, need small amounts of sugar to stabilise our blood sugar levels.
When plants absorb energy from the sun, water from the soil, and carbon dioxide from the air, they’re able to create sucrose through a process called photosynthesis.
Sucrose is the starting point for the starches and fibers found in plants.
So in essence, the table sugar in your sugar ball is the same type of sucrose found naturally in these fruits and vegetables.
Cane sugar, harvested from sugar cane, is just as much a type of sucrose as the refined table sugar we commonly use to sweeten foods and drinks.
Differences between naturally occurring sugar and processed sugar
Naturally occurring sugar is generally regarded as a type of pure sugar, which is at least some degree true.
But various chemical compounds and chemical substances are added to pure extracted sugar to create processed sugar, which has a longer shelf life than raw sugar.
Have you ever tasted sweet substances made with pure sugar? You may notice a more well-rounded, organic taste as opposed to processed sucrose.
This is even more noticeable with highly processed, heavily synthesised sucrose such as high fructose corn syrup.
Once sucrose is ready to be harvested from sugar cane or sugar beets, we remove the sucrose juice from the plants and then use common biological substances to refine and process the sugar.
Processed sucrose has other substances within it that help to preserve the sucrose and help it maintain the granular texture we have come to know it for.
There are no major differences between the sucrose in a peach and sugar sitting in your cabinet. Just the refinement process to create granular sucrose.
What makes sugar sweet?
As mentioned, fructose is the sweetest of all sugars, but there are no sugars that are not sweet.
Common white sugar is roughly 50% glucose and another 50% of fructose with fructose being far sweeter than glucose. The glycoside hydrolase enzymes in glucose are the primary components of what creates a sweet taste.
But the fructose component is a much more entrenched variation of glucose, which when you combine the two compounds, creates the sweetest thing to taste on the planet.
Top 5 sweetest sugars
Let’s have a look at the top 5 sweetest sugars on the market.
Jaggery is a natural sugar that was originally produced in India. Jaggery is made by taking sugar cane juice that is then boiled down into a solidified state.
There are practically no chemicals used in the process of creating jaggery. This is thought to be one of the primary reasons why it has such a sweet and robust taste.
We often use jaggery in our fudge recipes.
Brown sugar is essentially sucrose that has not undergone the refinement process that turns sugar white. It is not a special type of sugar, although it does tend to have a more organic taste than white sugar.
Like jaggery, the natural taste of brown sugar helps to bring out more of its robust sweet flavor.
Find out the difference between jaggery and brown sugar here.
There is also light brown sugar. Light brown sugar is brown sugar that is completely refined like white sugar, but is then mixed with molasses (residue from cane or beets).
This is what gives light brown sugar its light color.
Muscovado sugar is typically referred to as Barbados sugar. Muscovado has a deep, dark, and rich flavor, and its natural properties help to make it one of the sweetest sugars.
Muscovado has such a dark and bold taste due to the molasses added to the sugar during the refinement process. When molasses is added to sugar, the sweetness is amplified by a substantial margin.
White cane sugar is essentially white sugar that specifically comes from cane. It has a powerfully sweet taste and is the most common sugar on this list.
Why do I crave sugar in the morning?
It is completely natural to crave sugar upon waking. A large reason behind this, is the drop in blood sugar that occurs while we are sleeping.
The sweet taste of sugar is something that creates minor euphoria in our brains. So when you wake up in the morning, and you are feeling groggy and in need of a jolt to get the day started, the sweetness of sugar not only raises blood sugar, it also gives you a rush of euphoria.
Of course, when you add sugar to caffeine in tea or coffee, this euphoria rush is even more intense.
We are all creatures of habit, and this is also the main reason as to why you crave sugar upon waking up. Try not to go overboard on sugar early in the morning.]
Why does sugar hurt my teeth?
Sugar is supposed to be one of the best things in life, but there are numerous health concerns that come from eating too much sugar. Tooth problems are one of these concerns.
Sometimes when we bite into a sugary sweet, you may notice that your teeth register a painful, almost delicate-to-the-touch sensation.
This is known as dentin hypersensitivity. Some people are more prone to this condition than others, but it can eventually affect all of us as we age.
Dentin sensitivity is most commonly associated with sucrose, and the main reason for this is that the enzymes in sucrose can easily penetrate the tooth enamel and create sensitivity to the exposed nerves. This is even more likely if your enamel is eroding or has been completely wiped away from your teeth.
The sharp pain and uncomfortable sensation are caused by osmosis, which is the movement of your saliva with sucrose across a permeable membrane, which in this case, is the dentin on your teeth.
There is no cure for this, and if you are experiencing very painful dentin hypersensitivity, book an appointment with your dentist.
To conclude, fructose is the sweetest type of sugar on the planet. Fructose features a much stronger concentration of glucose, and any sugar substances made with fructose will be sweet enough to make your mouth pucker.
Various brown sugars, as well as jaggery and muscovado, are also incredibly sweet sugars and are all examples of more organic sugars that happen to feature the most sweetness in sugar types.
Find out about other fudge ingredients here: