Interesting Facts about Sugar

Sugar is one of the most important substances for us humans. It’s in our blood, gives us energy, and penetrates every cell of our body. Without sugar, life as we know it wouldn’t exist. But did you know that sugar was once considered “white gold,” and there used to be an entire trade route built around it?

Following are some more cool facts about the sugar you probably didn’t know:

1. Sugar was used for Medicinal Purposes in the Past

Sugar was used for Medicinal Purposes in the Past 

Sugar has served a medicinal purpose for a long time in the early centuries. During the 9th century in Iraq, people mixed sugar powder with fruits and other spices to create medicinal mixtures, syrups, and other valuable infusions. 

This trend continued even after centuries as British doctors prescribed sugar to cure various diseases, including eye ailments and irritations. It is narrated by historical records that a physician in the 18th century instructed his patients to blow powdered sugar in the eyes for treating eye irritation. 

2. Sugar for the Elites Only

Sugar for the Elites Only

Back in the old days, sugar started as a luxury. Since it was only available with exotic other spices, such as ginger, saffron, and cinnamon, sugar was considered an item only available for wealthy people. It was when sugar was first introduced in England. The Silk Road trade routes through the Middle East made it possible for traders to bring in sugar with other high-end spices for the elites. 

3. Sugar is Highly Addictive 

Sugar is Highly Addictive 

Sugar is undoubtedly addictive, and it is proven by the fact that cutting down on sugar is hard, and you can also experience withdrawal symptoms, such as pain and nausea. It is believed that sugar instigates dopamine release in the brain, making us instantly happy and better. 

Most dopamine-releasing items are addictive as our bodies love the happy state and yearn for more. Thus, cutting down on sugar or controlling its intake is extremely difficult and similar to quitting any other addictive substance. [1]

4. Sugar was Initially Sold as a Spice 

Sugar was Initially Sold as a Spice 

We all know how sugar is the ultimate definition of sweetness. However, it was not the case back in the 12th century. When sugar was introduced in England by the Middle Eastern traders using the iconic Silk Route, it was grouped with other spices such as ginger and cinnamon. 

It is why sugar was considered a spice – and that too a luxurious one only afforded by affluent and wealthy. 

5. Sharkara is the Sanskrit Word for Sugar

Sharkara is the Sanskrit Word for Sugar

 

The word sugar originated from the Sanskrit language. Sharkara, in Sanskrit, implies something that is grounded finely. Since sugar is made from grounding “Jaggery,” an unrefined sugar, it is called Sharkara in Sanskrit [2]

6. We Crave Sugar Because of Our Ancestors

We Crave Sugar Because of Our Ancestors

The most interesting fact about sugar is how humans have loved it since birth. Have you ever wondered why all children love sugar and sweet things? It is because craving sugar is related to an intense ancient craving of having something sweet and high in fat before evolution. [3]

Sugar breaks down into glucose and fructose that help store fat in your body. During ancient times, when there was a widespread scarcity of food, humans only wanted to have something that could hold in fat for energy production. 

7. Sugar Intake Has Increased Drastically

Sugar Intake Has Increased Drastically

Data from the previous centuries reveal that every American, on average, could consume about 45 grams of sugar every five days back in 1822. It makes about 12 ounces of sodas these days. If you think that it was a lot, you are in for a shock. (4)

Today, Americans can consume about 765 grams of sugar on average in five days. The sugar intake levels have soared drastically. 

8. Sugar Addiction Might Be Genetic In Many People

Sugar Addiction Might Be Genetic In Many People

Clinical studies tell us that sugar addiction in parents might pass on to their off-springs by genetics. It implies that some people might be addicted to sugar because their genes are attuned in a way. A hormone called ghrelin might change slightly due to genetic changes, rendering those people more prone to cravings and consuming sugar. [5]

9. Apart From Producing Withdrawal Symptoms When Cut Down, Sugar Also Damages the Liver as Alcohol Does 

Apart From Producing Withdrawal Symptoms When Cut Down, Sugar Also Damages the Liver as Alcohol Does

If you thought sugar addiction might not be the same as alcohol or other substance addictions, you should know that sugar has the same toxic effect on your liver as alcohol consumption does. So, it is important to watch out for your sugar cravings and consumption along with other toxic substances. 

10. High Consumption of Sugar Might Be Lethal 

High Consumption of Sugar Might Be Lethal

Sugar addiction is very much real and harmful. It can be pretty lethal, as evaluated by a study conducted in 2013. The study highlights 180,000 obesity-related deaths worldwide – connected to the excessive consumption of sugary drinks. 

The study further elaborates that this figure also includes the deaths of 25,000 Americans due to similar obesity-related problems linked to the consumption of sugary drinks. [6]

11. Sugar Does Not Make You Feel Full; that is Why You Cannot Stop Eating It

Sugar Does Not Make You Feel Full; that is Why You Cannot Stop Eating It

Other foods have protein and fiber, which helps alarm the body that it is no longer hungry. It is a normal body process happening due to consuming other foods except sugar. Sugar does not contain protein or fiber. Hence, it is unable to create feelings of satiety in the body. As a result, we can keep consuming sugar without feeling full. [7]

12. Sugar is Not All Bad 

Sugar is Not All Bad

It is not ideal for cutting down sugar altogether as it is one of the main building blocks of the body cells. Our body comprises numerous kinds of molecules, such as organic molecules. Carbohydrates, an essential nutrient in sugar, are the main component of organic molecules in our bodies. Thus, it is not advised to cut off sugar altogether and never consume it in any way. 

It is crucial to regulate the amount of sugar we consume and find safer alternatives without going overboard. 

13. Americans Consume About 500 Calories of Added Sugar Daily

Americans Consume About 500 Calories of Added Sugar Daily 

There are many sources of sugar as many fruits and vegetables have fructose in them. It makes it easier for people to consume controlled amounts of sugar. However, high escalating obesity rates in America significantly relate to the consumption of added sugar, which accounts for about 500 additional calories per day. It is an alarming situation that needs to be handled effectively. [8]

500 calories are equivalent to eating ten bacon strips in a day. It is a leading cause of childhood and overall obesity and is significantly related to the increased consumption of sweetened energy drinks. 

14. Sugar is the Most Popular Additive in America 

Sugar is the Most Popular Additive in America 

On average, Americans consume ten times more sugar as an additive than other foods. Salt is the second topmost additive consumed by Americans. 

15. There are Different Forms of Sugar 

There are Different Forms of Sugar 

Of all the forms of sugar, sucrose is the most dangerous as it is an added item existing in the form of table sugar. Other forms of sugar include fructose, glucose, and lactose. Fructose is a healthy form of sugar present in fruits. Lactose, as the name indicates, is the dairy form of sugar found primarily in dairy products, such as milk and yogurt. [9]

16. Sugar is Consumed the Most By the Sugar-Producing Countries 

Sugar is Consumed the Most By the Sugar-Producing Countries 

Some of the top sugar-producing countries are India, China, Thailand, Brazil, the USA, Mexico, Pakistan, France, and Australia. These countries make up about 70% of the global sugar production. The statistics of sugar consumption show that it is consumed the most in India, China, the USA, Mexico, and Pakistan. [10

17. Brazil Produces the Most Sugarcane 

Brazil Produces the Most Sugarcane 

Sugar is made from sugar beet and sugarcane. Both of these crops have different natures and set of climate prerequisites. Sugar beet requires cold and wet weather for thriving, while sugarcane requires warm tropical weather. Since sugarcane is less demanding and easy to grow, it dominates the sugar production industry.

Brazil is the top sugarcane-producing country as it has the ideal weather for growing this kind of crop. It experiences large amounts of rainfall, providing favorable conditions for the sugarcane crop. 

18. Sugar Production from Sugarcane Was Discovered After a Long Time As People Used to Enjoy Eating Sugarcane Raw 

Sugar Production from Sugarcane Was Discovered After a Long Time As People Used to Enjoy Eating Sugarcane Raw 

Before humans stumbled across sugarcane processing into sugar, local people loved eating raw sugarcane. It is extremely sweet, and the juice of sugarcane is very delicious. Once people discovered the sweetness of sugarcane, they enjoyed chewing it raw. It is healthier than consuming refined sugar. [11]

19. Sugar Sculptures Were Popular in Europe during the 13th Century 

Sugar Sculptures Were Popular in Europe during the 13th Century 

Sugar sculptures were the most common and fad things in Europe during the 13th century. Sugar was utilized to make art pieces displayed at various halls and banquets. These sculptures were called subtleties often found in the high society feasts or important congregations. [12]

20. Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen Molecules Make Up Sugar 

Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen Molecules Make Up Sugar 

The scientific composition of sugar includes three main atoms, namely carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Though this is the basic composition of all the carbohydrate molecules, a particular arrangement of these atoms results in the sugar molecule. 

One sugar molecule entails 12 carbon atoms, 22 hydrogen atoms, and 11 oxygen atoms.  

21. Fructose is Present in Fruits and Honey 

Fructose is Present in Fruits and Honey 

Fructose is the sugar found in fruits and honey, and it is way sweeter than table sugar. Fructose is also the least unhealthy form of sugar. Table sugar, or sucrose, is the crystallized version of fructose. 

Conclusion

Sugar may be common, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting to learn about. You discover facts about sugar every day, and finding the newest ones is always a treat for everyone. There are so many facts about it online, and below is just a small list of some of the most interesting facts out of all the others.

References 

  1. https://www.addictioncenter.com/drugs/sugar-addiction/#:~:text=Some%20studies%20have%20suggested%20that,a%20risk%20of%20sugar%20overindulgence
  2. https://sanskritdictionary.org/sarkara
  3. https://www.businessinsider.com/evolutionary-reason-we-love-sugar-2014-4
  4. https://health.ucsd.edu/news/features/pages/2017-10-27-listicle-mary-poppins-was-an-enabler.aspx 
  5. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/crave-sugar-maybe-its-in-your-genes/#:~:text=Neural%20feedback%20loops%2C%20sensory%20pleasures,to%20crave%20such%20sweet%20sustenance.
  6. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/roughly-180000-deaths-worldwide-linked-to-sugary-drink-consumption/#:~:text=sugary%20drink%20consumption-,Roughly%20180%2C000%20deaths%20worldwide%20linked%20to%20sugary%20drink%20consumption,the%20consumption%20of%20sugary%20drinks.
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4179169/
  8. https://www.healthyfoodamerica.org/sugartoolkit_overview
  9. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/healthy/a18910/types-of-sugar-0921/
  10. https://www.isosugar.org/sugarsector/sugar
  11. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-sugarcane#1
  12. https://illuminatingfacts.com/sugar-its-not-just-something-sweet/#reference