Types of sugar

Sugar (sucrose or ordinary sugar) is a natural form of sugar containing fructose and dextrose. All fruits, berries and vegetables contain a mixture of ordinary sugar, fructose and dextrose in varying proportions. Sugar beets and sugar cane have a particularly high content of ordinary sugar, making these plants ideal for sugar production. From a purely chemical point of view, the sugar in a sugar beet is identical to the sugar in, for instance, a banana.

Dextrose, also known as glucose, is the main component of starch. Dextrose is the sugar type that the body absorbs the fastest.

Fructose is the sweetest of all natural sugar types. It is particularly effective at enhancing the flavour of fruit and berries.


Sugar types, sugar products and sugar alcohols


Name Synonyms Production Relative sweetness Energy content, kJ/g
Sugar Sucrose Extraction (diffusion) of sugar beets or sugar cane using hot water 1.0 17
Dextrose Glucose Degradation (hydrolysis) of wheat, potato or corn starch with acid and/or enzymes 0.6-0.7 17
Fructose Fruit sugar Sucrose is first degraded (hydrolysis or inversion) into glucose and fructose using enzymes or acid. This is followed by filtering out the fructose and enzymatic conversion of the glucose into fructose. 1.0-1.3 17
Maltose Malt sugar Degradation (hydrolysis) of starch 0.5 17
Lactose Milk sugar Extracted from whey, a by-product of cheese production 0.4 17
Tagatose   Extracted from lactose 0.9 6
Trehalose   Enzymatic conversion of starch 0.4-0.5 17
Inverted sugar Invert Degradation (inversion) of sucrose using enzymes or acid into equal quantities of glucose and fructose 1.0 17
Glucose syrup Starch syrup, glucose Degradation (hydrolysis) of wheat starch or corn starch using acid and/or enzymes. 0.4-0.6 17*
Isoglucose Corn syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Based on glucose syrup. Part of the glucose (42 or 55%) is converted (isomerised) into fructose using enzymes 0.8-1.0 17*
Mannitol   Hydrogenation of fructose. Hydrogenation is a chemical process where the sugar molecules (fructose) are fed with hydrogen in the form of a so-called alcohol group. This is the origin of the term sugar alcohols. 0.6-0.7 10
Xylitol Birch sugar Hydrogenation (see under Mannitol) of xylose produced from birch pulp or pulp from other deciduous trees. 0.9-1.0 10
Lactitol   Hydrogenation (see under Mannitol) of lactose 0.4 10
Sorbitol   Hydrogenation (see under Mannitol) of glucose 0.6 10
Isomalt   Enzymatic processing of sucrose 0.5-0.6 10
Maltitol   Hydrogenation (see under Mannitol) of maltose 0.8 10
Maltitol syrup, sorbitol syrup   Hydrogenation (see under Mannitol) of starch-based syrup with high  maltose content 0.6-0.8 10*

* Calculated on basis of dry substance