When it comes to the health implications of sugar, most of what you hear about is naturally-occurring versus added sugars. But what are natural sugars and what are added sugars? This sugar glossary identifies and helps explain the difference between some common natural and added sugars.
A so-called “simple” sugar naturally found in all foods that have carbohydrate. Starch (e.g., in potatoes, pasta) is many glucose molecules linked together.
Another simple sugar, fructose is often called “fruit sugar” because it’s the main type of natural sugar in fruits (and honey).
A natural “complex” sugar that’s about half glucose, half fructose (two “simple sugars”); it’s extracted from sugar cane and sugar-beet plants and refined to make “table sugar.”
A syrup used mostly in baking that’s virtually all glucose; it’s made by extracting and breaking down starch from corn into separate glucose molecules.
First available in 1967 and used by commercial food manufacturers, it’s made by converting some of corn syrup’s glucose into fructose. High-fructose corn syrup is high in fructose only in relation to plain corn syrup; chemically, it’s very similar to sucrose: about 50/50 glucose and fructose.